UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 13 | Nov.
International Student Initiative Attracts More Students
Recruitment Efforts Account for Major Increases
By Michelle Cook
Listen to any conversation on campus and youre likely
to hear Spanish, Arabic or Chinese being spoken, not to mention
an increasing number of American accents.
Students from around the world are showing an overwhelming
interest in UBC, thanks to the International Student Initiative
(ISI). Launched in 1996 as part of the universitys Trek
2000 vision, ISI is responsible for promoting UBC to potential
applicants overseas and recruiting a broad range of international
The ISIs efforts to diversify the student body are
changing the face of UBC. This past September, 572 new fee-paying
international undergraduates arrived on campus, bringing the
total number of international students to 1,514 (or five per
cent of undergraduates) for the 2002/03 academic year. In
addition, the number of applications from international students
spiked 47 per cent over last years figure.
Theres really been a metamorphosis, says
Don Wehrung, the Initiatives director. Prior to
1996, we did not actively recruit undergraduate students from
outside of Canada, but since the initiative started, our intake
of international undergraduates has increased by 27 percent
Wehrung adds that, during the same period, the universitys
international exchange programs and professional graduate
programs also experienced significant growth.
While the recent increased interest in UBC from overseas
has been linked to the events of Sept. 11, Wehrung says the
principal reason for growth is that UBC has actively gone
out to seek qualified undergraduates.
To help attract foreign students, ISI introduced International
Student Awards in fall 2001. The financial aid initiative
offers 10 to 12 awards annually that require nominees to demonstrate
both high financial need and high academic merit. Worth $14,000
to $30,000 annually, the renewable awards are open to qualified
international students who otherwise couldnt afford
to come to UBC.