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Teaching & Learning

Record number of new international students further diversifies U of R campus

13 March 2023
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Unlike 20 years ago, if you were to take a walk down a University of Regina hallway today, every fifth student you pass would have been born in another country. International students now make up 20.5 per cent of the entire student body. So how do these students get here and where are they from?

Currently, the University of Regina is the chosen study destination of international students from more than 80 countries with the top five being India, Nigeria, China, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. However, in the past several years, the number of students attending the U of R from India has grown.

Through the outstanding work of UR International, we anticipate similar growth next year, bringing us above pre-pandemic levels. This is a real success story, and one fuelled in large part by increasing numbers of international graduate students who are drawn here by the expanding scope and success of our research profile across all Faculties. 
Dr. Jeff Keshen, President and Vice-Chancellor

By early 2020 the number of Indian students stood at almost 1,600 and represented the largest international student cohort on campus. Then the pandemic hit and not only did international travel cease but also international students were grounded in their home countries. But things are slowly returning to the pre-pandemic levels. The number of Indian undergraduate and graduate students registered for the Winter 2023 semester stands at 1,260.

That’s not the only good news. The current semester, in fact, has the largest number of new international students ever registered at the U of R.

That number will most certainly rise – bolstered by a recent recruiting mission led by Dr. Keshen and UR International staff. The visit to India, held February 18-24, was President Keshen's first post-pandemic international mission and included visits to three high schools and two universities in Chandigarh and surrounding regions, and attendance at  education recruitment events in Ambala, New Delhi, Chandigarh, and Guragon.

People posing for a photo in a large group

Dr. Raman Paranjape, (front row, third from left) Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and Dr. Keshen pose with staff of the Panjab University in Chandigarh, India in mid-February. To Dr. Keshen’s left is Panjab University’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Renu Vig. Credit: UNINTER

“In the past number of years, India has become one of the most important regions for the U of R looking to attract foreign students,” said Haroon Chaudhry, Associate Vice-President (International). “Attending recruitment events in person is crucial as it gives us important first-hand knowledge about what students are looking for from their post-secondary experience. Having Dr. Keshen accompany our recruitment mission to India was indispensable. There is no better spokesperson for the U of R. Having our president speak directly to prospective students and their parents about the merits of coming to the U of R is invaluable.”

“Despite frustrating ongoing delays in visa processing at the national level,” commented Dr. Keshen, “this past year we saw a 17 per cent year-over-year increase in the number of international students attending the University. Through the outstanding work of UR International, we anticipate similar growth next year, bringing us above pre-pandemic levels. This is a real success story, and one fuelled in large part by increasing numbers of international graduate students who are drawn here by the expanding scope and success of our research profile across all Faculties,” he added.

Two people posing for a selfie in a large theatre setting
UR International staff members Michael Liu (left) Yaya Siggins (back centre) and Jessie Chen (second from right). Also pictured is Ha Nguyen (second from left), Managing Director, Vietnam Office, Saskatchewan Ministry of Trade and Export Development and david Gregory (far right), Vice-President (Academic) and Provost, on a recruiting mission in Hanoi, Vietnam last fall. Credit: UNINTER

Accompanying the president on the mission was Dr. Raman Paranjape, Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, as well as Tina Xiao, Steven Sung, and Mark Ramsdell of UR International.

“Everyone did a tremendous job representing the University,” added Dr. Keshen. “We spoke before hundreds of students – and often their parents – in several cities, and established clear pathways and expanded opportunities for student/faculty mobility and enhanced research partnerships.”

In large part, the measure of success in today’s world is gauged by the response of social media. When the U of R mission to India was promoted on Facebook, it garnered a total reach of 124,000 (and growing) and more than 8,000 engagements from prospective U of R students living in India. 

A group of people sitting at a conference table
Members of a U of R recruiting mission, along with Saskatchewan MLA Paul Merriman (at right beside screen) pose following the signing of an MOU with representatives of the Magic 7+ in the Philippines.  Credit: UNINTER

The India mission was preceded by a similar trip to Vietnam and the Philippines last fall led by Dr. david Gregory, Vice-President (Academic) and UR International, which resulted in 12 institutional agreements, and new student scholarships.

The University of Regina has made significant strides in international recruitment initiatives. UR International has been conducting recruitment engagements in many regions. In the coming months, UR International will organize recruitment missions in various countries with a priority to diversify our student population – a core aspect our international education strategy. These efforts contribute towards a sustainable and inclusive internationalization approach at the University of Regina. 

Check out the many resources available to international students at the U of R.

“We are eager to broaden the international student community at the U of R – through active recruitment, meaningful engagement with partner institutions, and through efforts to enhance student satisfaction and institutional reputation. Creating a diverse campus community with students from around the world and throughout Canada makes for a dynamic, engaging, and though-provoking learning environment, ensuring a wide variety of voices and perspectives are part of the University of Regina education experience,” Dr. Keshen added.

Banner photo credit: UNINTER

About the University of Regina

Set in the heart of the Canadian prairies we are a comprehensive, mid-sized university where the opportunities are as limitless as the horizon. Our campuses are on Treaty 4 and 6 - the territories of the nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda peoples, and the homeland of the Michif/Métis nation. It is our responsibility to strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities to build a more inclusive future for all. Our three federated colleges, 10 faculties, 25 academic departments, and 18 research centres foster innovative research with practical and theoretical applications. We are committed to cultivating the potential of our 16,000 students and supporting their health and well-being. We take learning beyond the classroom through work and volunteer experiences to develop career-ready graduates.

Let’s go far, together.

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Of Note

The visit was covered by the Hindustan Times, which has a print and online circulation of approximately two million – a clear reflection of how positively the University of Regina is viewed internationally.