International students enrolled on a program at the college in Ontario, including students at Cestar College and Queen’s College campuses in Toronto and Mississauga, will have access to support services following graduation.
The concept for the centre stemmed from the College’s “greater goal to unite all its international students under one umbrella, creating a singular Lambton College experience for all regardless of study location”.
College representatives say that the centre will service “many purposes”, with a main focus targeted at providing resources to help enhance international graduate careers in Canada.
These include mentoring opportunities, health and wellness resources, special alumni events and opportunities for students to “strengthen” their connection to Lambton College. Focus groups revealed international students often require additional support and resources while they pursue “enhanced” career prospects.
Rob Kardas, president and CEO at Lambton College, said that a “truly comprehensive approach” towards international education also requires support for students after graduation, with the 36 months following being a critical time for international students as they work towards gaining permanent residency.
“Our international students need the support of somebody being in their corner. Our goal is to provide them with that support for as long as they need it. In post-secondary we often talk about life-long learning – our Alumni Association want to put a twist on that by saying we want to be lifelong supporters of our students when they graduate,” said Kardas.
Part of the centre was funded by Lambton’s international education partners, Queen’s College and Cestar College, with Guard.me International Insurance, which has been a “valued supporter” of the college, contributing $340,000.
The graduate services and support centre will be overseen by a full-time service co-ordinator hired by Lambton.
“Our international students need the support of somebody being in their corner”
“We know that out international students want to be immerse in Canadian culture” said Kardas. “They want mentorship, they want career guidance, and they deserve those things. It only made sense that the same service being offered in Sarnia will now be offered to all Lambton College international students regardless of study location.”