Two students smiling

Improving the International Student Experience

Background

International students enrich the culture and vibrancy of our communities. Many begin their studies as a pathway to citizenship in Canada, often carrying the burden of expectations of their families, while facing additional obstacles that are atypical of the domestic learner experience.

Recognizing these challenges, the City of Brampton and Sheridan College convened a Roundtable in fall 2021. Using a collective impact approach, it brought together a wide range of community leaders interested in developing an integrated strategy to help international students thrive.

Over the course of six months, this planning committee worked to define the problems being faced, identify gaps and barriers, share existing research, knowledge and lived experiences, and propose ideas and solutions.

Read more about the work completed (Download PPT)

  • The Roundtable’s efforts were inspired by the Collective Impact model, published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, which provides a framework for tackling complex social-change efforts. The model is based on cross-sector coordination, not the sum of isolated interventions by individual organizations. It brings stakeholders together around a common agenda, a unified vision for change, a shared understanding of the problem and a collective approach to actions, reporting and accountability.

  • The organizers wish to thank the following individuals whose collective efforts built the foundation for the summit:

    Co-chairs

    • Gurpreet Malhotra, CEO, Indus Community Services
    • Bill Boyes, Fire Chief, City of Brampton

    Members at large

    • Baldev Mutta, Chief Executive Officer, Punjabi Community Health Services
    • Dr. Janet Morrison, President & Vice-Chancellor, Sheridan College
    • Rowena Santos, Councillor, City of Brampton
    • Janice Sheehy, Former Commissioner, Region of Peel
    • Sean Baird, Commissioner, Region of Peel
    • Dr. Kate Bingham, Acting Medical Officer of Health, Region of Peel
    • Chief Nishan Duraiappah, Peel Regional Police
    • Dr. Rardi van Heest, Vice President Medical Affairs, Research & Academics at William Osler Health System
    • Sharanjeet Kaur, Director, Executive Projects and Operations. William Osler Health System
    • Todd Letts, CEO, Brampton Board of Trade
    • Jaspreet Kaur Bal, Ontario Vice President, World Sikh Organization
    • Sinthusha Panchalingam, Clinical Director, Canadian Mental Health Association, Peel Dufferin
    • Jaspreet Singh, Founder, International Students’ Association
    • Dr. Amira El Masri, Director, Center for Global Education and Internationalization

    Secretariat

    • Rajan Sandhu, VP Strategic Alignment and General Counsel, Sheridan College 
    • Christine Szustaczek, VP External Relations, Sheridan College
    • Nauman Khan, AVP Government Relations, Sheridan College
    • Keera Smiechowicz, Executive Assistant, Sheridan College
    • Jaskaran Sandhu, Principal, State Strategy
  • The following resources may help to further your understanding of the challenges faced by international students:

Summit overview

Exterior view of Sheridan's Davis CampusThe two-day summit that took place at Sheridan College’s Davis Campus (July 25–26, 2022) was filled with collaboration, dialogue and a sincere desire to improve student outcomes.

Organized by Sheridan and the City of Brampton and based on the work of the community Roundtable that was convened in fall 2021, the summit brought together more than 200 participants, including members of the federal, provincial and municipal governments, international students, academic researchers, postsecondary administrators, private and public colleges and community agency leaders.

Participants were inspired by the challenge to build a brighter tomorrow for international students by identifying the role that all stakeholders play in providing seamless support to enhance their experience across all stages of the student journey — as prospective students, current students, temporary workers, and, for some, even as future residents or citizens.

The work of the summit lays the foundation for the co-creation of the Brampton International Student Charter — a roadmap for making Brampton a best-practice leader in supporting international students.

Summit facilitator

Roopa Desai Trilokekar is an Associate Professor (Postsecondary Education) in the Faculty of Education at York University. She comes to an academic career after 20 years of experience as a professional in the field of international education in Canada, India and the United States. Her research focuses on government policy on international education, its links/impact on higher education and the international student experience.

Most recently, she has completed a project with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) titled "What distinguishes the international student experience in the Canadian labour market? A comparison of Two Provinces." She is also working on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funded project looking at the "international students as ideal immigrants" global policy discourse across Australia, Germany and Canada.

Charter

The Brampton Charter for International Student Success will keep the work going and create a concrete action plan that will make a positive difference in the lives of international students who choose to study and stay in Brampton. Our community charter will include shared principles, recommended actions and a mechanism for accountability.

The charter will build on key learnings that were gleaned from research on accountability measures and their impact, various charters that exist for postsecondary institutions, and legislative instruments — a few of which were presented at the summit.

Our summit sessions were structured to present information, foster dialogue and seek multiple viewpoints. The many compelling ideas that emerged will be used to inform our forthcoming charter.

We hope that our work will inspire other jurisdictions to adopt similar community charters of their own, creating a national network of organizations that choose to hold themselves and each other accountable to provide a seamless and successful international student experience.

Questions?

Please contact:
summit@sheridancollege.ca

Finalizing the Charter

Fall 2022–Winter 2023: Engagement with community organizations, municipal, provincial and federal governments, industry and student groups.

Spring 2023: Finalize the charter

Summit co-hosted by:

City of Brampton and Sheridan College logos

Generously supported by guard.me International Insurance.

Summit sponsors

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