Queen’s sees significant rise in international students this academic year

Principal Woolf highlighting University’s internationalization priorities going forward

NEWTS Orientation leader during Frosh Week 2017.

In the first Board of Trustees meeting of this school year, Principal Daniel Woolf pointed to a substantial increase in the amount of international students studying at Queen’s.

According to Woolf, Queen’s welcomed roughly 560 international students this year; a sharp rise since 2013-14, when only 116 international students attended the University. As well, these numbers indicate that Queen’s has already surpassed its 2019 international student target of 390.

Number of international students attending Queen's by academic year.       Graphic by Rebecca Frost

In an interview with the Queen’s Gazette, Woolf outlined his priorities for the 2017-18 school year. According to Woolf, “reputation is important.”

“Our international recognition has begun to improve through the great success our admissions and international teams have had in bringing people in,” Woolf told the Gazette. “If you tell the world about us, they will actually come. Students who come here and return home build our reputation further.”

During a public presentation on the 2017-18 operating budget, Provost Benoit Antoine-Bacon explained the recent trend for Canadian universities to push towards internationalization. According to Woolf, Queen’s is in line with this trend and is trying to remain competitive in terms of international reputation.

“We want to build on strategic partnerships with institutions we see as equal or better, opening up exchanges for students, creating opportunities for our faculty to have overseas sabbaticals and for faculty to come here on their sabbatical, and build more international research collaborations,” Woolf said.

ASUS Exchange Buddies is one group on campus that helps international students adjust to life at Queen’s. The group describes itself as “a program designed to pair upper year Arts and Science students with international exchange students studying at Queen’s with the goal of integrating exchange students into life in the Queen’s and the Kingston community.”

Co-Chair of ASUS Exchange Buddies, Luísa Stocco, told The Journal that though Queen’s has many academic resources for exchange and international students to catch up to university level English,integration is an entirely different question.

“There is a lot at Queen’s about integrating [international or exchange students] into the Queen’s community, but there is not much about getting international students or exchange students to share what they have from their countries, their cultures,” Stocco remarked.

“Usually when there are events, like potlucks, you bring dishes from your country, but it is always contained within the international community, instead of being broader,” Stocco said. She added that she would like to see Queen’s build on “the diverse campus that we have.”

For the University, bringing international students to Queen’s provides a strategic advantage.

“Apart from attracting fantastic students, it also has an impact on our ability to form international partnerships and secure international research funding,” Woolf told the Gazette.

One of those international partnerships, established in 2014 between Queen’s and the University of Stuttgart in Germany, recently saw its first master’s graduate. According to a Journal article, Matthias Hermann will be returning to Queen’s to complete his PhD.

Woolf concluded his comments on internationalization to the Gazette by setting clear goals for the future.

“Looking ahead in the next few years, I would like to see us move in a bolder direction to organize interdisciplinary entities that bring together people from different departments and faculties.”

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