The Evolution of UofT’s International Student Body


Sixty countries were represented at the University of Toronto’s International Student Center to celebrate Canada’s centenary in 1967, when the Star photographed Malaysia’s Jennie Leong cutting a cake for other students around the world.

Today, the Center for International Experience bears little resemblance to its predecessor, according to Senior Director Katherine Beaumont, « although the two share the same goal: to welcome, support and provide resources to students from around the world who have come to learn and work in Canada. »

For one thing, the number of international students at UofT has grown exponentially. “Fifteen years ago,” says Beaumont, “only 10% of our undergraduate students were international. Today, the university welcomes students from more than 170 countries, which now represent 30% of the student population.

Many personalities have passed through the doors of the center during the period illustrated, including Philip Yeo, a 1970 graduate, who currently holds the Singapore Chair of Innovations in Economic Development and, according to Beaumont, « has made a significant contribution to Singapore’s rise as successful innovation and knowledge ». based on economy.

Others who came earlier include Dame Mary Eugenia Charles, former prime minister of Dominica; Noor Hassanali, second president of Trinidad and Tobago; and Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, sixth president of Latvia.

This tradition of excellence and success continues to this day. As Director of Global Learning Opportunities and International Student Success, Beaumont is proud to share some recent accomplishments. Zimbabwe’s Michael Samakayi has created an American Sign Language Club and a course in American Sign Language and Deaf Culture that Beaumont says will « benefit students for years to come. » She also praises India’s Aishwarya Nair, who graduated during the pandemic as valedictorian from UofT Mississauga, and Jialiang Zhu, a graduate student from China who co-founded acclaimed chamber music ensemble Bedford Trio. .

« And alumnus Efosa Obano from Nigeria started the African Impact Challenge which was recently recognized by the United Nations as one of the top 50 solutions in the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s 2020 Youth Solutions Report. United, » says Beaumont.

As UofT prepares to commemorate its 200th anniversary in 2027, the Center for International Experience looks forward to celebrating the inspiring stories and important contributions its students continue to make to the university and global communities.


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