Tatiana Urdaneta left Venezuela to come study in Canada. It was a difficult decision to make but Georgian College has quickly become her second home.
When she arrived, she missed her family and friends and was nervous about studying in English. The international centre at the Barrie Campus was her first stop and staff helped orient her to the school and the city.
“The international centre is our special place to be,” says Urdaneta, who is one of 1,100 international students from 60 countries studying at Georgian this fall.
With the rapid growth of the international student population, the centre has reached its capacity. Long-time college partner guard.me International Insurance announced it is donating $400,000 to expand the space to make more students feel at home at Georgian.
guard.me President and Founder Keith Segal made the announcement at the 20th annual President’s Reception. He told the crowd of hundreds of international students why he wants to contribute.
“International students are very courageous to move to a new country and study in a language other than their native tongue. They are ambitious and want to build a better future for themselves through a well-rounded education,” says Segal. “At guard.me, we want to help these students on their path to success and the support services they will receive in the international centre play an important role in that.”
The expanded centre will be 5,000 square feet and will be a one-stop shop for international student services. It will house advising and counselling services, recruitment, housing, insurance, study visa/work permit support and the English for Academic Purposes program.
It will also feature a student lounge for orientation activities and information sessions including cultural understanding and diversity.
Georgian President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes emphasized that the centre’s location in the Student Services Centre will help bring the world to all Georgian students.
“We are grateful to guard.me for their generous support. Their investment will help us create a multi-purpose, student-centric space to welcome and support more international students, while also informing the global perspective of our domestic students. Internationalization is an essential part of the overall postsecondary experience,” says West-Moynes.
Construction on the centre will begin in the spring.