Wilfrid Laurier University, a public university in Canada, has introduced a prep program at its Brantford campus to attract more international students. The program will offer academic course content, social and academic support systems as well as study skills development.
Heidi Northwood, senior executive officer at the Brantford campus, said that the program has been launched keeping in mind the interest of international students in pursuing higher education in Canada and getting a ‘truly Canadian’ experience. Brantford would fulfil these and will have a lot more to offer such as the ‘adjacent trails system’, ‘natural beauty of the Grand River’, indigenous culture and the richness of the contemporary.
Northwood added that sometimes international students take time to get familiar with using English as their primary language or the academic system of Canada. The program will, hence, offer non-academic support to international students including the student wellness centre, career and co-op centre, clubs and teams and the Laurier Brantford YMCA.
She further noted that it is important for students to feel secure, connected and supported on campus to be able to succeed.
International students, after completing the eight courses of the program over two years, will be allowed to continue their second year study at either its Brantford or Waterloo campus.
The program is a 10-year partnership between Navitas and Laurier. Similar programs have been established for international students in the UK, USA, Europe, New Zealand and Australia by Navitas. Laurier is, in fact, the fourth university in Canada to collaborate with Navitas.
Deborah MacLatchy, Laurier president and vice-chancellor, said that this collaboration is crucial to increase the number of international students at the Brantford campus. It will not only enhance its cultural landscape but will also provide important economic opportunities for the downtown.
Northwood mentioned that they are aiming to have 50 students in the inaugural class of the international college program, commencing in September. The long-term objective is to welcome 1,000 students in the next 10 years, which will help the university reach its goal of having 15% international students.
Currently, there are a total of 1,413 international students enrolled at Laurier, including 137 at Brantford.