International Education week

11/10/2004 4:26:07 PM

Fangren and Xuejing (top) are enrolled at CNA’s Prince Philip Drive Campus, learning about North American culture and personal independence along with their studies in Business and English. Edson Lopez, bottom right, was intrigued with the province of Newfoundland and Labrador – so different from his home country of Mexico Ajmal, bottom left, proudly bears the title of “the Afghan Newfoundlander”.

By Tanya Alexander

November 10, 2004 – Canada is joining over 85 countries around the globe in celebrating international education from November 15-19, 2004. And Newfoundland and Labrador’s public college has more to celebrate than ever!

Though College of the North Atlantic (CNA) has been providing education and training on a global scale for many years, it is the current 10-year, US$500 million contract with the Middle East State of Qatar that has put the college smack in the middle of the international education radar. CNA’s 18th campus in the city of Doha – CNA-Qatar – is now in its third year of operation and has far surpassed growth expectations – both in enrollment and programming. The college is now receiving interest from other countries to undertake similar projects.

It may surprise some to know that CNA has been a member of the international community for decades, providing custom training and curriculum to such countries as China, India, Vietnam, Peru and Barbados, and assisting international students and refugees in realizing their educational dreams of studying in Canada.

According to the International Education Week Canada website (, this designated week “…is designed to showcase the significant contribution that international education makes in preparing Canadians for the global world and supports Canada’s efforts to engage effectively on the international stage.”

Indeed, according to the site, the initiative is a reflection of the spirit of cooperation and collaboration as we join forces to highlight the importance of international education in Canada.

We as Canadians have the opportunity to develop an awareness and understanding of international education and its significance to our educational institutions and to the population in general. Aside from the economic benefits to any given institution in expanding its roster to include international students, the personal exchange that takes place between people of different countries is invaluable. Students build friendships and form their views on the world. For each to have access to the other’s experience creates an enhanced learning environment and may create a significant impact on their social, economic, and political futures and that of their respective countries. After all, the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.

Changing perspectives… changing the world
The students that come to Newfoundland and Labrador to study at College of the North Atlantic benefit not only from the industry-relevant curriculum and training, but from the clean air, beautiful vistas and warm people. As with many visitors to our province, they become attached to this unique place.

Edson Lopez is a Business student at CNA’s Bay St. George Campus. The Veracruz, Mexico native had the choice of going just about anywhere in the world to study, but the more he heard of Canada, and Newfoundland and Labrador in particular, the more intrigued he was.

“The [recruitment] agent told me about the quality of programs and about the friendly people,” he explained.

“And he was right – this is a good experience. The people are friendly, the teachers are helpful and I’m getting to practice my English!”

Lopez is boarding with a local couple and is enjoying the care he gets there. He’s particularly pleased with the fact that the town and campus are small. The population of his city in Mexico is comparable with the entire population of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“At home you’re just another face. Here you are unique. I like that.”

Amandeep Wadhawan is from New Delhi, India. He is currently enrolled in the Electronics Engineering Technology (Biomedical) program at CNA’s Ridge Road Campus. Amandeep was also looking throughout the globe for the ideal post-secondary offerings. He was fascinated by the high rating Canada received from the United Nations and other sites on the Internet.

“Canada appeared in the top few of each list as a good place to study, and also to live,” he says. He hasn’t been disappointed with his choice.

“I’m happy with all things. The classes are good and the professors put in good time with us. Everything is flowing well. Now I’m just waiting for the snow,” says Wadhawan excitedly, having never experienced it before.

Prince Philip Drive has a variety of international students enrolled in several program areas. The campus also offers English as a Second Language (ESL) training for these students. Currently a group of students from China are completing their Business diploma at the campus and are finding the ESL training extremely useful. They began their studies in CNA’s Business programming offered at their university in China and took advantage of the option to do the second year of the program here. Fangren Yu and Xuejing Cao are having a wonderful experience in their host country. And it’s more than just the quality programming they’re excited about.

“One reason is I would like to learn how make myself independent. The other reason is I can have a good environment to learn English,” says Cao.

Yu echoes the sentiment.

“After I arrived here I could really see this country through my eyes and ears. It’s really an interesting thing to know another culture which is different from mine.”

She particularly likes the friendly and safe atmosphere.

“My parents and I are really happy about it. It’s a wonderful feeling when I can be independent, not nervous… and without fears,” says Yu. “It changed my life.”

Some international students are unfortunately without the structural and financial support to allow them to study at all, let alone in another, distant country. Ajmal Pashtoonyar was a refugee from Afghanistan who came to Canada six years ago under the WUSC Student Refugee Program. He enrolled in the College-University Transfer Year at College of the North Atlantic’s Burin Campus and later transferred his credits to MUN and completed his degree in Political Science. He says his time in Newfoundland changed him to the core.

Ajmal recently found work as a Junior Professional Consultant at the United Nations and, feeling homesick for what he now calls home, wrote his friends and teachers at Burin campus with a poem inspired by his experience. Here is an excerpt:

Hello Newfoundland
It was you who defined me
Like a rock of conviction
Gave me strength and a reason

Yes B’y, I truly owe it to you
My achievements are because of you
I stand tall as your Son
Striving hard and moving on

Even thousands of miles away
Afghan Newfoundlander I’m called
Me heart is still in you
O’ rock I owe it all to you

It is we who are better for having known Ajmal and the other international students who choose to study with us.

It makes one wonder… just who is learning from whom?


For more information contact:

Stephen Lee
Communications Manager
709. 643.7929


Tanya Alexander
Public Information Officer
709. 643.7928