WELLAND – The four corners of Niagara College’s globe have been brought together to help international students navigate life in Canada.
The college unveiled its new international centre Wednesday evening. The 720-square-metre facility on the first floor of the Simcoe Building will cater to more than 1,700 international students from 68 countries.
In honour of Keith and Sharon Segal’s $500,000 donation, it is named the Segal International Centre. The couple have worked with the college for more than 12 years through the family’s insurance company, guard.me International Insurance.
Keith Segal said he and his wife made the donation because they believed in the same philosophy as the centre’s staff.
“Just the care and concern they show for the (international) students enhances their overall experience,” he said. “The acceptance rate is extremely high here and when they come from a different country there is a lot to take in and when the environment is friendly it makes a huge difference.”
College president Dan Patterson said the centre is another example of the respect the college has in its role in international education.
“It’s part of our value system,” he said. “We talk about being linked globally and locally. In today’s work you really need to be.”
The facility helps centralize offices frequented by international students, such as for international student admissions, finance, mobility, ESL advisers, insurance advisers and the college’s work abroad programs.
Centre director Sean Coote said the number of international students has grown substantially in the past few years and the college has spent the past two years planning to centralize services.
The open-concept facility will bring international and local students together and foster an understanding, friendly environment.
“Having more than 1,700 international students enhanced the educational environment Niagara College students experience,” Patterson said. “That broadens their horizons and gives them the opportunity to make lasing friends who come from far and wide.”