BRAMPTON— Sheridan College president Jeff Zabudsky was all smiles Thursday morning as he accepted a $500,000 donation that will help support the growing number of international students studying at the school.
guard.me International Insurance and its founders, Keith and Sharon Segal, provided the generous financial gift. The company is among the world’s largest health and travel insurance providers in international education and has a longstanding relationship with Sheridan.
The money, which will be provided over five years, is earmarked to finance enhancement and expansion of the tutoring centre at Davis Campus in Brampton as well as provide scholarships and bursaries for international students.
The announcement was made in the Library Learning Commons at Davis Campus and connected via Internet with a location in Chandigarh, India, where school, Canadian consulate and Guard.me officials were attending a reception to celebrate the donation.
Students from India represent a large number of the some 4,500 international students from about 80 countries currently studying at Sheridan. About 3,000 of those students are in programs at the Brampton campus.
Zabudsky called the donation an “incredibly generous” gift “that will make a difference in so many lives.”
Fernanda Guimaraes is a second-year marketing student from Brazil who regularly uses the services, available to all students, in what will now be known as the guard.me tutoring centre. She credits the help she gets improving her English skills with playing a significant role in maintaining what is now a 4.0-grade point average.
“I’ve never done this well in my own country – my parents tell me all the time,” she quipped.
The substantial donation will also offer financial assistance to students who leave their country in pursuit of a better education and the opportunities that come with it.
“A lot of people think international students must have a lot of money to come here,” said Ian Marley, Sheridan’s vice-president of student services and enrolment management. “Many of them don’t. Their families scrimp and save to send them here.”
Encouraged by the Canadian government, the number of international students in Canada’s colleges and universities is increasing. But the government isn’t providing sufficient funding for services that assist these students, said Keith Segal.
“That’s where we come in,” he remarked and suggested many of these students become productive members of the Canadian business and creative economy after graduation.
International students now represent about 20 per cent of Sheridan’s enrollment.
– By Roger Belgrave, Brampton Guardian