International flavour on TRU menu
There’s one thing the 1,500-plus international students enrolled at Thompson Rivers University all have in common.
They all thought a move to TRU and Kamloops would give them the best opportunity possible to further their education and improve their prospects for future work.
This semester, TRU has 1,572 international students on campus, representing 85 countries from all over the world.
Many of them wound up in the Tournament Capital thanks to the aggressive marketing of TRU World.
“I attended a seminar in my home country and I met with one of the [TRU World] representatives,” said Sandeep Singh Sandhu, a 24-year-old business student from India.
“I was pretty much impressed with the presentation and the pictures of the university. I thought Canada would be a good option for me.”
Sandhu is not alone.
TRU World representatives travel the globe to spread the word about the university and what it has to offer international students.
Fourth-year business student Viktoriya Mazko, from Russia, said she learned about the university from TRU World representatives in her home country.
“That’s the good work of [TRU World] agents in Russia,” the 22-year-old said.
“They came to our city and gave us a presentation and I decided to try.”
Dubai native Shah Mohammed, also a fourth-year business student, said he first learned about TRU at an education fair in his native nation.
“Their way to describe the place here — for example, the weather, the small class sizes, in general the overview of the university — was very appealing,” he said.
“I didn’t think I would want to travel out [of Dubai]. But, after visiting this fair, I decided.”
Bringing international students onto TRU’s campus does a lot more than just grow the global brand of the university.
It also means big bucks — for TRU and for the local economy.
Earlier this year, TRU released a study that found an annual economic impact of nearly $90 million for Kamloops and area thanks solely to the university’s international students.
“It’s a lot,” said Wes Koczka, TRU’s associate vice-president international.
“That’s the amount generated through the students’ spending directly at the university, and the cost of living in the community and capital purchases.”
According to the study, Economic Impact of Thompson Rivers University’s International Students on the Kamloops Economy, international students each spend approximately $28,800 per year in Kamloops — including more than $14,000 on tuition.
International students pay $6,900 per semester in tuition, compared to $3,681 for a domestic student taking a full course-load.
Add to that various fees, books, housing and living expenses, plus recreation and entertainment, and it’s easy to see how TRU and the community benefit.
As the number of international students at TRU continues to rise — it’s up 112 from last year — so, too, will their economic impact on the university and the regional economy.
Many international students come from families wealthy enough to support their studies and living expenses — not to mention recreational pursuits.
Mazko, the 22-year-old Russian business student, said one of her favourite things about Kamloops is its proximity to Sun Peaks.
“I really like to go up there to go snowboarding,” she said.
“We rented houses and just went there for weeks.”
Another commonality among many international students is that they stay in Kamloops during the summer months, spending more money on local accommodations and at area businesses.
And, many of them want to stay here after they graduate, too.
Sandhu, the 24-year-old business student from India, said one of the big reasons he chose to study in Canada was to give himself a better shot at living here after graduation.
“After you complete your four-year degree, you have very good chances of finding a job and getting permanent residency here,” he said.
“You also make your choices kind of open. You could work in both countries.”
Mohammed, meanwhile, said he’s fallen in love with Kamloops and is now seriously reconsidering a move back to Dubai.
“I really like [Canada], especially Kamloops,” he said.
“I’d like to stay in Kamloops for a couple of years, if not long-term.
“I feel like this is where I belong. This is a really nice place. There’s a peace of mind here. I’d like to stay for the next five-to-10 years.”
BY THE NUMBERS:
1,572: The number of international students at Thompson Rivers University this semester.
$6,900: The cost of their tuition per semester, plus fees, books and living expenses
$87.8 million: The estimated annual economic impact of TRU’s international students for Kamloops and area.
$1.2 million: The amount generated for TRU campus construction projects by international students in 2010-2011
$1.8 billion: The estimated amount spent by international students in B.C. in 2010
22,000: The number of jobs in B.C. directly supported by international students
$70 million: The annual amount of government revenue generated by international students in B.C.