Amid a rising international student population, student unions and the seven colleges are expanding their representation on campus and creating services catered to those demographics. The Varsity reached out to several student unions and college governments for a roundup of international student representation on campus.
The University of Toronto Students’ Union does not have a specific committee geared toward international students. However, it does have positions which serve the international student population, such as Vice-President Student Life and Vice-President Equity.
The International Students’ Caucus (ISC) at the University of Toronto Graduate Students Union (UTGSU) aims to address the interests and concerns regarding international graduate students.
The caucus hosts social, academic, and professional workshops and meetings concerning governance and policy changes within the university community and the city at large.
“The ISC is a group under the UTGSU [that] mainly serves international students’ interests, including academic success, social interaction, and networking,” reads a statement on its website.
“Meetings will be held monthly and will focus on the needs of the caucus’ members and the needs of all international graduate students including social interaction, networking, and potential changes in programming and/or governance at the university, city, and/or provincial levels.”
The ISC’s elected positions include the chair, who oversees the caucus as a whole, and the UTGSU Executive Liaison.
The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) represents over 13,500 students across the UTM, with 20 per cent of students being international. While the UTMSU does not have a specific position or caucus dedicated to international students, they do provide several services.
“We endeavour to ensure that the rights of all students are respected, provide cost-saving services, programs and events, and represent the voices of part-time undergraduate students across the University and to all levels of government,” reads a statement on their website. “We are fundamentally committed to the principle of access to education for all.”
The UTMSU also has several campaigns in partnership with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) regarding international student issues, including Fight for Fees, Fairness for International Students, and OHIP for International Students.
The Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) currently does not have a specific levy or caucus dedicated to international students; however, it has positions aimed toward serving the needs of domestic and international students alike on campus, such as Vice-President Campus Life and Vice-President Equity.
SCSU also provides specific services in partnership with the CFS for international students including the International Student Identity Card, which provides students with exclusive discounts such as airfare and entertainment.
The Innis College student body provides a number of resources and services made available to international students. The Innis Residence Council has six positions for Junior International House Representatives who work alongside Senior House Representatives to coordinate events and foster a sense of involvement. An International Transition Advisor is also available on campus.
New College houses the International Foundation Program, which provides conditional acceptance to international students whose English proficiency scores do not meet direct entrance requirements. The program guarantees admission to the Faculty of Arts & Science or the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering upon completion.
Madison Hönig, New College Student Council President, told The Varsity, “At New College, international students make up an important part of our student population. We are lucky to house the International Foundation Program (IFP) at New College. As such, we do have an International Foundation Program Representative to advocate for these students.”
“Additionally, we work closely with the New College Residence Council and the main governance structures within the College to ensure that international students are being advocated for and included in our programming, academic initiatives and support at New College,” continued Hönig. “We are working to see that international student representation and advocacy is considered within the portfolios of all of our members.”
University College’s International Student Advisor aims to provide academic and personal resources to International students through their sUCcess Centre. Appointments can be made to meet with an advisor.
Victoria College International Students Association (VISA) is a levy funded by the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council that aims to support the needs and interests of international students at Victoria College.
VISA is used to host social, academic, and professional events throughout the year and also funds a mentorship program for incoming students.
“Our program offered help to students from all backgrounds, in which the mentor would be providing both academic and moral support to the students transitioning into the new university environment, through a two-hour session every two weeks,” reads a statement from the mentorship program’s website.
The International Students Director under the Woodsworth College Student Association (WCSA) is the representative for international students at Woodsworth College. The International Students Director also coordinates events hosted by the association catered to international students.
“With this role, I hope to connect with not only incoming international students but also upper year students to bridge the gap between them. I look forward to continuing with some of the events introduced by last year’s director as well as introducing a few new ones,” reads a statement on its website from from Leslie Mutoni, WCSA’s International Students Director.
During the 2017–2018 academic year, the university welcomed over 19,187 international students from across 163 countries and regions, mainly from China, India, the United States, South Korea, and Hong Kong.
The Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students and student societies at St. Michael’s College and Trinity College did not respond to The Varsity’s requests for comment.