Using this budget to establish a three-year initiative, labelled the International Student Experience Fund, U of T will help staff and faculty members create platforms in which intercultural communication can prosper.
Concerned for the rate of interaction between domestic and international students, the Canadian university has shifted its focus onto global fluency, stating that “demographic diversity is not enough.”
As U of T Associate Vice-President, Joseph Wong explained, “The entire face of the university is changing, we want to incentivize staff and faculty to come up with great initiatives to put our international students in the best position to succeed.”
Wong also adds that, “Global fluency is a critical 21st-century skill, and we want to empower and equip students with the skills and experiences to communicate across cultures.”
Once the fund is given the go-ahead, U of T hopes to sew together all corners of the multicultural student community with integrative schemes and innovative projects for international newcomers.
By investing in the international student scene, universities like the University of Toronto are bound to attract many more overseas applicants. If aspiring learners start to see the action academic institutions are taking to fulfil their future higher education experience, they will strike up an interest they are more likely to pursue.
“Perhaps Toronto’s biggest challenge is to ensure that it finds a way to engage all members of its population effectively and create opportunities for everyone to succeed,” said President Gertler.
— UofTCities (@UofTCities) May 17, 2018
That’s why global fluency is a crucial factor in the flow of a university’s education system. It not only supports the union of local and international students, it also helps transform learners into confident, global citizens.
Through cross-cultural communication with peers and a deeper understanding of the diverse world in which we live, students are transformed into confident global citizens.
As reported by BBC News, the acquisition of cultural knowledge is overtaking the need to obtain language skills. People are looking to connect through foreign experiences rather than foreign languages.
As Author David Livermore told BBC News, “You can exist quite easily in many locations globally without speaking any of the local language. Having an adaptability to different communication styles or socialisation norms are perhaps as much or more important.”
Powered by a desire to discover cross-cultural environments, international students are also looking to share their cultural similarities and differences with colleagues throughout their study abroad adventure.
As such, it’s essential that universities have engagement initiatives arranged for the arrival of international students. With the help of this strategic head start, learners can create lifelong bonds with domestic students straight away and begin to reap the benefits of cultural immersion on arrival.
Platforms such as these can really be nothing but positive. As universities like the University of Toronto have found, global fluency is a tool that empowers real-world education and opens doors for staff, faculties and the evergrowing international student network.
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