$1.2 million will help Concordia
students go on exchange
The Quebec government will
provide nearly $1.2 million in aid for Concordia students who wish to
study outside the province for short terms.
Bir Sahni, Director of Concordias Centre for International Co-operation,
was delighted to be able to make this announcement at a reception for
the universitys own international students on September 15.
This is a most welcome initiative, and it is likely to contribute
significantly to our efforts towards internationalization at Concordia,
Professor Sahni said enthusiastically.
He introduced the large group of students to Michel Brunet, director of
international co-operation for the Ministry of Education.
My job at the Ministry of Education is to support the internationalization
of Quebec universities, Brunet told them. This celebration
is so important to me that I drove from Quebec City this afternoon and
Im going back tonight.
In August, the government announced that $30 million would be granted
to Quebec universities over three years to encourage local university
students to study abroad, and Concordias pro rata share is $1,179,200.
Quebec receives more international students than any other province, but
for every four international students studying in Quebec, theres
only one Quebec student studying abroad.
These are not just scholarships to help future PhD students to do
research, Brunet said. The government of Quebec is targeting
first and foremost Bachelors students to help them give their curriculum
an international perspective.
The distribution criteria are left to each university to decide, but Brunet
pointed out that the scholarships should contribute to students
academic progression. This is not about student tourism.
Details about the criteria
and application process for this new bursary program is available from
the Centre for International Academic Co-operation, Loyola Campus, AD-207.
- Marie Valla
When Claudette Fortier welcomed
international students to Concordia at a reception on September 15, she
drew the obvious parallel with another international event, the opening
of the Olympics in Australia.
Its not on the same scale, but the intent is the same,
said the International Student Office Co-ordinator. Just like the
athletes, youre brave, youre courageous. You bring such a
diversity to Concordia.
Concordias 1,400 international students are willing to face new
challenges, but their major difficulty this year seemed to be finding
an apartment. The crowd cheered in agreement when Fortier compared it
to a marathon.
Temesgen Mengitu arrived from Ethiopia on August 28, and hes living
with friends until he finds a place. Even if there are some places,
theyre too much expensive for a student to afford, he complained.
Andrea Cestaro, president of the Concordia International Students Association,
has had to comfort many students. Some of them were even considering going
home. We sit down, go over the papers and put them in touch with
other students going through the same difficulties, she said.
Cestaro, a Brazilian student in French and Political Science, remembers
how she struggled with English when she first arrived. When youre
home and youre a very good student and you do well in English, its
one thing. When you come here and you have to survive in an environment
with English speakers, its something else, she explained in
This being Montreal, a few students have realized they also need to be
worried about their lack of French. Temesgen Mengitu discovered to his
cost that he was living in a francophone city.
Theres a gate and something written in French. I dont
know what it is. I enter inside. Unfortunately, its a safety exit.
It can only be opened from the inside. I was locked there for about 10
minutes, he said cheerfully.
Hawaiian-born Veronica Fajardo, 37, admitted she was confused at first.
I had studied French for many years. But the first thing I thought
when I got out of the plane was, Oh my God, what language are they speaking?
International students are eager to adapt to the Canadian way of life,
but the way Montrealers interact is both exotic and intimidating to many
of them. William Garcia, 35, finds Montrealers nice, but a bit distant.
In Colombia, were used to be more friendly, we speak out more
easily, we touch each other.
Local Concordia students might be a bit reserved, but Fortier asked the
newcomers not to hold it against them. They may not know that youre
from abroad. Its not written on your forehead and Concordia is multi-ethnic.
Cora Capurros first encounter with Montreals homeless population
was a shock. Here, youre supposed to have a high level of
security, the former journalist from Argentina pointed out. These
people on the streets, why are they not working?
Capurro hasnt really had time to miss her country, but if she does
miss anything from home, its the food. No matter how happy you are,
feelings of nostalgia are never far away. Its cyclical,
she said philosophically. Little by little, you get over it.
And then theres the winter. . . but its too early to talk
- Marie Valla is a Journalism student who has been on exchange.