Camosun College sees influx of international students

Five per cent of Camosun’s current population come from outside of Canada.

Camosun College has seen its largest-ever winter intake of international students, up nearly double from last year.

In January the school counted 87 new international student enrolments for a 2011-12 total of 462 students from 51 countries – a boost Camosun’s International director Geoff Wilmshurst attributes chiefly to a refocusing of recruitment efforts. Last year, 45 new students enroled in the program.

Part of the reason for the increase has to do with how students are recruited. Camosun has moved away from sending out individual recruiters. Instead, the school employs approximately 75 recruitment agencies worldwide that work closely with families of international students to provide information and support during student relocation, Wilmshurst said.

“We haven’t been out in the marketplace as intensively as we have been in the last year and as people begin to get to know about us, we’re starting to see the results,” he said.

In addition to English language courses, university transfer programs – especially programs leading to business and engineering degrees – attract the most international students, particularly those from China, followed by Japan, South Korea and India.

Five per cent of Camosun’s current population come from outside of Canada. The college could see that number double over the next three years, following Premier Christy Clark’s announcement last fall to increase the number of international students in B.C. by 50 per cent over the next four years.

The growth, Wilmshurst said, will have a positive effect on domestic students vying for seats in popular programs.

“We’re not restricted in what we’re allowed to charge an international student and we can charge the actual cost of a program. It allows us to open additional sections and to hire more staff to teach. So in fact it has a positive effect for students because it open up more seats for them.”

The University of Victoria continues to attract a high volume of international students with 1,723 students registered for both the fall and winter intakes. That’s also up from last year’s count of 1,509.

China leads the way in international student enrolment at UVic, followed by the United States and Japan.

The university has become more strategic in its approach to recruitment in South East Asia, said UVic spokesperson Patty Pitts, explaining that the schools uses a combination of recruitment agencies and individual recruiters in that area.

nnorth@saanichnews.com