International Education Strategy a roadmap for B.C.’s future


NANAIMO – B.C. has a new International Education Strategy that supports the two-way flow of students, giving local students new opportunities to study abroad, and welcoming those arriving from overseas.

As part of the strategy, Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto announced $5 million for scholarships and research internships to assist students embarking on an international education experience.

International education is one of the key sectors in ‘Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan’. The Jobs Plan recognizes the significant social, cultural and economic benefits that flow to the province from the global exchange of students, educators and ideas.

The International Education Strategy lays out steps to meet B.C.’s goal of increasing international education in B.C. and, in doing so, celebrates the experiences of international and local students.

In the strategy you can read stories from:

  • B.C. students whose education has been enhanced through field studies in India and the United States.
  • A Lower Mainland student who talks about the different perspectives gained from having international students in classrooms.
  • The innovative ideas being generated by B.C. and international students working side-by-side in labs in the Okanagan.
  • A Jamaican student whose experiences spread beyond the classroom as he explores B.C. generating tourist dollars and word-of-mouth promotion about our communities.

The strategy also includes stories from a home-stay mom who generates income and cultural awareness by hosting foreign students, representatives of B.C. institutions who counter myths about international students, and an Island mayor who talks about welcoming students to his community. 

In addition to the $5 million for  new scholarships and research internships, the strategy includes plans for better sharing of international education best practices; steps to inform British Columbians of the wide range of important benefits brought to B.C. from international education; dedicated education officers placed in a number of B.C.’s overseas trade and investment offices; an improved quality assurance framework for all post-secondary institutions to ensure a consistently positive student experience; and smoother transitions for students who wish to work and live in B.C.

Students, educators, post-secondary institutions, communities and other partners, including B.C.’s International Education Project Council, provided input to the strategy and will continue to inform its development.

The Province is also building upon the excellence already existing throughout B.C.’s education sector to expand skills and trades training opportunities, to ensure Aboriginal learners have access to post-secondary education and training, and to increase the number of B.C. high school students transitioning into post-secondary education.


Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of Advanced Education –

“Everyone benefits from the cultural diversity international students bring to our campuses and communities, and from the perspectives and connections gained by B.C. students studying in other countries.”

“I want to thank our partners at post-secondary institutions and in communities around the province who contributed to this strategy, and encourage all British Columbians to join in our ongoing conversation as we build on the excellence that has made B.C. a destination of choice for international students around the world.”

Wanja Munaita, graduate student at Royal Roads University and One World Scholarship recipient –

“I am excited about the opportunity this scholarship has afforded me in terms of experiencing a new culture. With the funding, I embark on a new journey to Chile where I will attend classes at the Universidad de la Frontera, Temuco for 3 weeks. I have the privilege to live amidst the Mapuche community of Central Chile learning and engaging in their day to day activities.”

“I will take time to reflect and share my learning here in Canada with the people who have opened their doors to me for this life learning opportunity. One thing I know for sure is that I will be a better informed student and global citizen at the end of my trip.”

Michelle Sayers, local student at Capilano University –

“International students bring opinions to the class that relate to their own country, increasing the knowledge of the professor and the other students. They create debate by challenging what we think and say about their country. And they’re really involved in the school. They want to make the most of their experience here so they get involved in extracurricular activities and encourage locals to participate.”

Dr. Ralph Nilson, president of Vancouver Island University – 

“Each year the City of Nanaimo, population 89,000, hosts over 1,000 Vancouver Island University international students who live in home-stay accommodation with families across the community.”

“In a city like Nanaimo, the value of these cross-cultural relationships is immeasurable. Embedding international students in the community enhances understanding between nations in profound ways. Discussions across the kitchen table can be life-changing for both hosts and students.”

“While VIU is proud to welcome students from around the world, the university is equally committed to provide international learning experiences for Canadian students through field schools, research projects, study tours and international exchanges.”

Quick Facts: 

  • In 2010, international students in B.C. spent $1.8 billion on tuition, accommodation and other living expenses, creating almost 22,000 jobs and generating $66 million in government revenue.
  • B.C. will gain an estimated 1,800 jobs and $100 million in GDP for every ten per cent increase in the number of international students coming to the province.
  • The number of international students worldwide currently tops 3.3 million. By 2025, that number is expected to grow to 7.2 million.
  • Currently, Canada is the destination of choice for about four per cent of all international students worldwide.
  • B.C. receives about 28 per cent of all international students coming to Canada.
  • More than 30 MOUs or other international education agreements were signed during our government’s recent trade missions to China, India, Japan, Korea and the Philippines.