18 international students arrive in Waterloo Region today to begin a summer of learning.

The students, from India, China, Brazil and Mexico will be working under the direction of professors at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University.

The Vice-President of Research and Policy at Mitacs, Rob Annan, works with the team that reviews the thousands of applications to take part in this summer program and says there are a total of 300 student spots at schools across Canada, “When we opened the call for application, not only did we receive roughly 2,000 full applications for those 300 student spots, but we received almost 600 applications from professors from universities across Canada for these students.”

Annan adds this is a good way to showcase what we have to offer, “Too often students making a decision in China, in Brazil or in India don’t consider our institutions because they’re not front of mind. So by bringing these great students to have good experiences here, we’re actually also helping build the brand for schools like University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier.”

When the program began, they took only students from India and have since expanded and Annan says he hopes to soon include students from Turkey and Vietnam, “Because we really want to bring exceptional students who are already engaged in universities in their home country, we’ve really taken our time to make sure we’re identifying the right sorts of universities, the right sorts of systems and to build the good links that remain persistent between our institutions and the institutions in other countries.”