Community Partners Convene to Improve International Student Experience
International students are an important part of the Brampton community, adding to the City’s rich, ethnocultural fabric. Many begin their studies as a pathway to citizenship in Canada, often carrying the burden of expectations of their family, while facing additional obstacles that are atypical of the domestic learner experience.
To help international students transition to life in Canada, receive academic and social support, and ensure they feel a sense of purpose and belonging, the City of Brampton and Sheridan College have convened a Roundtable to bring together like-minded community organizations. Its purpose is to develop an integrated strategy that will make Brampton the best practice leader in Canada in supporting international students to thrive.
The Roundtable is being co-chaired by Gurpreet Malhotra, CEO, Indus Community Services and Bill Boyes, Fire Chief, City of Brampton. “The City’s overarching goal is to work collaboratively to identify the challenges facing international postsecondary students, ensuring we collectively prioritize immediate and longer-term solutions that will keep the community and students safe, successful and well,” said Boyes.
“We must turn our attention to addressing these issues through collaboration and constructive dialogue,” adds Malhotra. “In reviewing the data, hearing the community’s concerns, and incorporating feedback from service providers on the front lines, we will better understand the lived experiences of international students and be well positioned to define the problems, work out possible solutions and implement a plan of action.”
Roundtable members include:
- Patrick Brown, Mayor City of Brampton
- Dr. Janet Morrison, President & Vice-Chancellor, Sheridan College
- Baldev Mutta, Chief Executive Officer, Punjabi Community Health Services
- David Barrick, CAO City of Brampton
- Janice Sheehy, Commissioner, Region of Peel
- Sonia Pace, Director, Community Partnerships, Region of Peel
- Dr. Kate Bingham, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Region of Peel
- Chief Nishan Duraiappah, Peel Regional Police
- Dr. Naveed Mohammad, CEO, William Osler Health System
- Todd Letts, CEO, Brampton Board of Trade
- Balpreet Singh, World Sikh Organization
- Sinthusha Panchalingam, Clinical Director, Canadian Mental Health Association, Peel Dufferin
- Jaspreet Singh, International Sikh Student’s Association
- Dr. Amira El Masri, Director, Center for Global Education and Internationalization, Sheridan
A key task of the Roundtable will be to lead and organize a Summit in winter 2022 that will: identify gaps, barriers and trends; facilitate and engage in discussion with community groups; and garner best practices that could be applied to the Brampton context. The Summit will include representatives from the postsecondary sector, private career colleges, elected officials, advocates, public servants and service providers at the federal, provincial, regional, municipal, and institutional level, and international student representatives. Sheridan College is providing $50,000 in seed funding to organize the effort.
Following the initial meeting of the Roundtable, another two meetings will be held in January and February 2022 to conclude the planning. Details about the Summit will be shared publicly as they are finalized.
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