Visitors From Afar

Below is an excerpt from author Orland French’s book, PIONEERING: A History of Loyalist College (1992). While some references are no longer current, the publication provides a rich report on Loyalist’s history, which helps to contextualize its milestones. To read more from Mr. French’s book, please click here

Established as a community college, Loyalist provides educational services to the Counties of Prince Edward, Hastings, Lennox and Addington and part of Northumberland. Add to that Nigeria, Venezuela, Botswana, Germany, Japan, Cuba, El Salvador… 

International students have long been part of the Loyalist community, enrolling on their own or as part of a government-sponsored educational project. In 1991-92, four students from Botswana enrolled in programs in the School of Media Studies. All were employed by the Government of Botswana and, through the Canadian International Development Agency, were sent to Loyalist to improve their communication skills.

Reaching out to the international community has become a deliberate strategy at Loyalist. Excellence and Opportunity, a statement of purpose for the College in the 1990s, states: “The original mandate for the college system placed considerable emphasis on training and education for specific careers in Ontario society.”

The statement continues: “It is now recognized that a single province cannot function in isolation form the global economy. In addition, there is a growing awareness that the college system has a responsibility to share its expertise and talent with other countries requesting such support.”

Foreign connections have been made, in a limited way, for much of the past two decades. In 1975, the Government of Venezuela signed a five-year agreement in which it would pay all expenses for about 20 Venezuelan students a year to study at Loyalist. Those 20 studied English as a Second Language (ESL) first, then went on into other technical programs. Some stayed at Loyalist and others went elsewhere.

A similar program was established in the early 1980s to provide instruction to Nigerian students. They, too, enrolled in ESL courses and then progressed to programs in electronics and mechanical technology.