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More students, more diversity

Students from over 90 countries attend the U of R

Author: carlos prieto – contributor

Pretty sure Mordor isn’t one of the aforementioned 90 countries. / Michael Chmielewski
Pretty sure Mordor isn’t one of the aforementioned 90 countries. / Michael Chmielewski

The University of Regina hit the 14,000 student mark in the Fall Census this October with its most diverse community to date.

Currently, you can see names from all around the world on students’ residence’s buzzers. The University believes its 2009-2014 Strategic Plan, which sought to increase its profile “regionally, nationally and internationally,” worked as planned.

From 2010 to 2014, the University experienced a rise in international and exchange students by 96 per cent, almost double the growth of Aboriginal student numbers during the same period, which was 42 per cent.

Currently, the total number of students is 1,816 students from over 90 different countries.

This increase has been helped by the International’s Office recruitment strategy and its focus in growing markets and the University’s membership in International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP). ISEP serves as a link between the university and other institutions worldwide, and sets up direct agreements between partner institutions all across the globe.

Other programs like Sciences Without Borders, an agreement between the governments of Canada and Brazil, have also helped to bolster the University’s international student numbers. The program allows over 12,000 Brazilian students to continue their learning process throughout the country.

According to Martha Mathurin, a life skills advisor at the International Office of the University of Regina, diversification of campus enriches the learning experience, not only by taking new approaches inside the classrooms from people all around globe, but also by giving local students the opportunity to make contact and friendships with people from all over the world.

“An important international presence opens the door to the world for local students. It gives you a new perspective, opens up your thinking; you’re no longer confined to knowing only what is in your immediate space, you’re more curious about what is out there,” she said.

“It was really cool to get to know people from all kinds of cultures and backgrounds. It helped me open my mind”, agreed Josef Sonderegger, a former exchange student from Austria.

When asked if he thought people in the University were prepared to relate with international students, he said, “The whole welcoming process was very clear and people were very helpful. For someone with university experience like me, it even seemed a bit overprotective.”

Sonderegger said he expanded his horizons with every person he met.

“I never had the chance to share a flat with people from China or Nigeria before.”

The opportunities for international students at the U of R continue to grow. More services and assistance is being offered and the U of R looks set to continue attracting students from the globe.

 

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