International Students Call Loyalist Home 

Loyalist College saw a significant increase of international students in this semester.

The school welcomed 156 international students, a 354 per cent rise from last year’s winter semester.

“We’ve done a lot of work to try and increase our international numbers for January but it was quite a surprise. Just before Christmas, we were anticipating 60 students and then all of a sudden, it just started to open up,” said Jim Whiteway, dean of the school of business and international at Loyalist.

“We’re seeing students come from different parts of the world and we’re actively involved in recruiting fairs and activities in a number of different countries,” added Whiteway, who coordinates the international students program.

Most of the students come from Africa, India and China. He says that they are getting a lot of inquiries about Loyalist in India right now, and because of that, the college has employed a full-time representative on the ground in Bangalore, India.

“Right now in the places that we go, there’s demand for Canada. For example, in northern India, everybody knows someone in Canada in that part of India. It’s funny because you’ll see Canadian stickers on cars and there’s a bus line there called Canada bus lines. So we play to that.”

According to Whiteway, the students from India are interested in business management and biosciences. Currently, in the first-year biosciences program, there are 122 students in total, and 100 of those are international students.

“We did a lot of research back home to find out which has the best biosciences lab and it said Loyalist, that’s why I came here,” said Jessmol Xavier, a first-year bioscience student who came to Loyalist this semester as an international student from India. She also adds that she likes the program because it’s very practical and says that being away from the city is nice because it’s not too crowded.

In the fall, Loyalist will offer two new programs, computer networking and project management, to supply the high demand for these jobs in the countries that college officials have scouted.

As of 2017, international students’ fees are broken down into tuition, ancillary fees, and mandatory health insurance. These all amount to $14,790. Whiteway added that there are some cases in which the student’s extended family helps pay for the fees.

“Depending on the country, you’ll see different levels of engagement by the family or different economic ability to pay,” he said.

Whiteway stressed that word of mouth has been crucial in spreading Loyalist’s international students program.

“Once somebody says, “this (Loyalist) is great place and they let their cousins, family and friends know” and from then on, it starts to spread.”

Although Loyalist is one of the smaller colleges in Ontario and also located two hours from Toronto, Whiteway said that being away from the city gives an edge to what Loyalist can offer to these potential newcomers to our college.

“When we talk to parents in other countries, they don’t want their kids going to a big city. They want their kids going to a small community because it’s safer. There’s a greater likelihood that they’re going to be involved in the community and spend more time with Canadian students who are already here. They get to learn more about Canada about the culture of Canada than they would if they were in Toronto.”

The intake of international students this January has made a difference in the demographics of the college, but Whiteway said that there is still more to be done. Their team’s original goal for 2025 was to have 300 international students in the building, but right now, they’re close to the number and it’s very attainable.

“It’s really exciting to me that there’s not going to be only one international student in any class anymore. As we get more and more international students in the building like we had this January, we’re becoming more of an international destination and we’ve become more of a multicultural demographic,” Whiteway said.

Today, there will be an international student welcome in theShark Tank pub. Belleville Mayor Taso A. Christopher will be in attendance.

“We tell them that this isn’t a big city, but there’s lots of things that the college offers—that Belleville offers and they need to get involved, so go into a basketball game or volleyball game to support Loyalist.That’s what being part of the college community is and take advantage of those things.”

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