Great Plains cel­e­brates first In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Week

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

An in­flux of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents has brought a new cul­tural dy­namic to the Great Plains Col­lege cam­pus in Swift Cur­rent.

Great Plains Col­lege cel­e­brated their in­au­gu­ral In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Week this past week, with the high­light event of the cel­e­bra­tion a four­course mul­ti­cul­tural lunch and cul­tural dance demon­stra­tion on Novem­ber 15.

“There has been an in­fu­sion of 40 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, and they are re­ally en­rich­ing the at­mos­phere I think. It’s just amaz­ing to have them around and to have that dif­fer­ent cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence, and the op­por­tu­nity for them to en­rich the lives of our own stu­dents, as well as en­rich their own lives,” ex­plained Kirsty Slet­ten, Man­ager of Ad­mis­sions and In­ter­na­tional at Great Plains Col­lege.

The Col­lege had pre­vi­ously ac­cepted only a small num­ber of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents to the cam­pus, but they have now ex­panded the in­ter­na­tional stu­dent num­bers in both their Ad­min­is­tra­tive As­sis­tant and Busi­ness Cer­tifi­cate pro­grams. Af­ter a se­ries of suc­cess­ful re­cruit­ing trips, this Septem­ber the col­lege wel­comed 40 first year stu­dents from In­dia, Mex­ico, the Philip­pines and Venezuela.

Slet­ten noted the field of in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion is a huge in­dus­try. They have part­nered with M Square Me­dia, an agent man­age­ment com­pany who works with ed­u­ca­tion agents in coun­tries around the world to con­nect stu­dents and pro­mote aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions.

She ex­plained there are some clear ad­van­tages for stu­dents pur­su­ing their ed­u­ca­tion in an in­sti­tu­tion the size of Great Plains Col­lege.

“My per­sonal opin­ion on that is the fact that when a stu­dent has to come to a dif­fer­ent coun­try, a dif­fer­ent cul­ture, a dif­fer­ent lan­guage, there is no bet­ter place than Great Plains Col­lege for that type of ed­u­ca­tion to hap­pen. There are small class sizes. There’s still very much a fam­ily-type en­vi­ron­ment here. There’s the op­por­tu­nity for them to have a lot of in­struc­tor sup­port, a lot of in­sti­tu­tional sup­port. All of those things re­ally make for an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for in­ter­na­tional stu­dents.”

She said the first months of the large num­ber of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents have gone rel­a­tively smoothly.

“So far, from an in­sti­tu­tional per­spec­tive, it’s been fan­tas­tic,” Slet­ten said.

“From a stu­dent per­spec­tive, be­cause I have a lot to do with the stu­dents of course, over­see­ing the in­ter­na­tional side of the pro­gram. The stu­dents are thrilled. They are so happy. They’re just re­ally pleased with the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion they’re get­ting, they’re pleased with the in­struc­tors that they have. They’re pleased with the cam­pus and the ex­pe­ri­ences they’re hav­ing on cam­pus. They’re lov­ing the com­mu­nity and the op­por­tu­nity to be a part of a com­mu­nity such as Swift Cur­rent. The snow was a big thing for them, they thought that was pretty amaz­ing. The rest of us were rolling our eyes, but they were lov­ing it.”

The mul­ti­cul­tural cam­pus has also been a ben­e­fit to stu­dents at­tend­ing from across the South­west, as the new stu­dents have en­riched the cam­pus through their shar­ing of cul­ture and in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ences.

“I think that’s in­evitable. I think the op­por­tu­nity for them to just make those con­nec­tions with do­mes­tic stu­dents. And to dis­cuss the the dif­fer­ences in the way that we live com­pared to the way that they lived in their own coun­tries. Food, dance, their cel­e­bra­tions.”

“That to me is the ul­ti­mate value of in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion.”

Great Plains Col­lege com­pleted a sec­ond in­ter­na­tional re­cruit­ing trip ear­lier in the fall, with vis­its to Ger­many, Switzer­land, Viet­nam and the Philip­pines. There are also plans in place to make a third re­cruit­ment trip in early 2019.

Some of the cur­rent group of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents are aim­ing to se­cure per­ma­nent res­i­dency in Canada, and study­ing at the col­lege is a path­way to that goal.

“We’re hope­ful that they’ll be able to con­tinue to be­come ci­ti­zens of Canada po­ten­tially and add to our work­force and cre­ate those global con­nec­tions that are re­ally valu­able in to­day’s busi­ness world,” Slet­ten said.

Ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion about the col­lege’s in­ter­na­tional pro­gram can be found on their web­site great­plain­scol­lege.ca/in­ter­na­tional.

SCOTT AN­DER­SON/SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

The danc­ing duo “Pun­jabi Em­pire” shared a high en­ergy dis­play of In­dian dance dur­ing an In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Week cel­e­bra­tion at Great Plains Col­lege on Novem­ber 15.

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