Internationalization requires supporting students

Image by: Kia Kortelainen

The success of Queen’s University Comprehensive International Plan (QUCIP) lies all in the execution. 

The QUCIP is a multi-faceted plan for the university’s international development over the next three years in the areas of research collaboration and funding, student mobility and enrolment of international students. 

Among other things, the University plans to increase international enrolment to 10 per cent, increase undergraduate participation in exchange programs by 25 per cent, ensure full enrolment at the Bader International Student Centre — 175 students per semester — and increase international research funding to 40 per cent. 

Queen’s academic reputation has suffered over the past few years, as it falls in international rankings. Building an international profile is an effective method to reverse this trend. 

Internationalization will bring many Queen’s students into contact with the world, and no amount of textbook readings can do as much to prepare students as actual travel.

But the QUCIP doesn’t include a discussion of exactly how the University intends to bolster student participation in exchange. 

Many students recognize the benefits of going on exchange, but it can be brutally expensive for students already on a tight budget. 

Queen’s currently offers some funding assistance through bursaries and scholarships. However, most require extensive applications and are only offered if the student has already received significant government assistance. 

Sending more students abroad will only be feasible if the University is willing to offer the necessary financial assistance. 

And vice versa: bringing in more international students will require the University to ensure that they can handle a greater influx of students needing extra support.  

The Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) offers many useful resources from advising appointments to English language classes to movie nights.

But these resources will be stretched even thinner by increasing international enrolment, and a case-by-case, appointment-based system might not be enough to meet that demand.  

Queen’s can offer a transformative student learning experience to international students only if incomers can receive assistance with issues ranging from housing to culture shock to proper winter attire. 

Until Queen’s is prepared to update its range of accessible services to integrate international students into the community, the administration should balance progress with diligence. 

This would require more qualitative measures of success, including levels of satisfaction, as opposed to the mostly quantitative measures that the University is currently adopting in the QUCIP. 

Let’s make sure that we’re packing our suitcases with the necessary supplies, and not stuffing them with  plans we can’t fulfill. 

Read the Queen’s University Comprehensive International Plan

— Journal Editorial Board 


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