500 new international students to study at LU in 2017-18
By Sam Mathers, News Editor
For the second year in a row, a record number of international students will begin their studies at Lakehead University. There are about 500 new international students this year, breaking the record of 400 from the 2016-2017 school year. In total, there are more than 1,000 international students from over 60 countries on campus. Eddy Quispillo is one of those students. From Ecuador, Quispillo graduated as an engineer in computer systems from Escuela Superior Politécnica de Chimborazo. He is studying English at Lakehead University for professional growth. “I work with technology tools made in the United States, that’s why I’m learning English here,” Quispillo told The Argus.
The recruitment of international students is a targeted effort. In fact, Lakehead University employs seven people who work internationally recruiting students all over the world. In 2015, Lakehead University and Escuela Superior Politécnica de Chimborazo partnered to launch faculty and student exchanges, joint graduate studies, and research in natural resources management. The partnership played a role in Quispillo’s decision to further his education in Canada, specifically at Lakehead University.
According to the Council of Ontario Universities, the recruitment of international students not only enhances the post-secondary experience for everyone by bringing diverse perspectives and experiences, but it is also good for the economy. A 2016 report assessing the economic impact of international students studying in Canada in 2014 found that international students spent around $11.4 billion on tuition, accommodations, and discretionary spending. This translates to a GDP contribution of $9.3 billion to the Canadian economy, and to 122,700 jobs supported in the Canadian economy. The report found that Ontario welcomed the largest number of international students, and in turn, showed the most significant GDP contribution at $4.4 billion or 47.3% of the total contribution.
International students are an important part of Canada’s immigration strategy which aims to attract more highly skilled newcomers to the country. International graduates can apply for a post-graduate work permit, which allows them to work anywhere in Canada for any employer for up to 3 years. Permanent residency can then be applied for under the Canadian Experience Class. The permanent resident category is for individuals with skilled work experience in Canada and was developed for temporary foreign workers and foreign graduates in 2008. More than 30,000 former study permit holders became permanent residents last year.
For Quispillo, his first experiences at Lakehead and in Thunder Bay have been positive: “For me, it has been a very pleasant experience because I have met people from other cultures. I have shared recreational moments in beautiful places in Thunder Bay.” Quispillo has had the opportunity to visit Kakabeka Falls, participate in cultural activities in Fort William, hike Mount McKay, kayak and canoe on Boulevard Lake, and participate in several festivals and events at Marina Park. To other international students studying at Lakehead, he would say congratulations “for taking a big step in their lives by deciding to leave their homes in search of new opportunities. It is not easy, but today we have the technology that brings us closer to our family and friends.” He says students should “fight [for] their dreams and always give the best in everything,” and adds that “by making mistakes we learn more.” Finally, he hopes their time at Lakehead University is “[filled] with incredible memories.”