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May 10, 2001 International students on the increase at Concordia






by Barbara Black

Concordia has traditionally had about one-tenth the number of international students as its neighbour, McGill University, but that is changing.

The numbers have more than doubled over the past decade, from 887 in 1989-90 to 1,740 in 2000-01. There was actually a dip in the mid-1990s, but in the past three years especially, more international students have been coming here.

Some of these are exchange students. Quebec institutions are especially popular with students from France because of reciprocal tuition arrangements and because it enables French students to learn English in a friendly environment.

While the number of students from the Caribbean and Asia have stayed about the same over the decade, they have more than tripled from Europe and the Middle East, almost tripled from the Americas, and more than doubled from Africa.

Not represented in the figures, however, are the older students from Asia, particularly India and China, who get landed immigrant status in the course of their time here, often in advanced studies.

Professor Balbir Sahni, director of Concordia’s Centre for International Academic Co-operation, said that the increase international students at Concordia is “indeed a welcome development, made possible by concerted efforts by all Faculties and the School of Graduate Studies.

“There is no question that this increase calls for [more] academic support,” Dr. Sahni continued. “Unlike many other players in the market, I always reiterate our notion of internationalization as promoting a two-way flow of students and scholars.

“Concordia’s ultimate objective is to enrich the internationalization of our own community of students and scholars, rather than simply raising revenue from international students recruitment. This message is inherently sound and genuine—and invariably well received.”