MRU celebrates International Education Week
Khai Choual, Contributor & Mikaela Delos Santos, News Editor
Mount Royal University (MRU) celebrated International Education Week (IEW) last Nov. 7-9 along with many institutions worldwide as a way to illustrate cross-cultural learning and development for many students both within and outside Canada. The celebration included events such as the International Festival on Main Street, field school and study abroad information sessions, International Eat and Greets, the International Photo Contest and the Henna Art Experience.
Local Calgary henna artist of Indian descent, Japinder Singh led the Henna Art Experience where attendees got to see a first-hand creation of henna art and even had some of it tattooed on their own arms.
For Singh, being able to share their passion for henna with the MRU community was a way for her to connect with her own Indian culture.
“ I feel like art is something that should be shared with everyone. Some people feel like applying it or wearing it is appropriation, but for me to be able to share where it comes from, and how it’s made and the different significance that it has to my culture as well as other cultures where it’s used, makes me happy and fortunate that I’m able to connect with people in that way as well.”
Akshithaa Mailvaganam, an international student from Sri Lanka and student leader from the International Student Support Center (ISSC), says that the international experience provided by MRU is of great value.
“International education is so versatile… Your professional career after you graduate is just outstanding because you get to experience different cultures away from home and I find that really valuable.”
“It’s not just about graduating, it’s just about learning. It’s just about experiencing and I find that this department gives just that,” Mailvaganam adds.
MRU has many opportunities for local and international students to take part in exchanges, field schools and international work experiences. Outbound exchange programs consist of one semester or two with an MRU bilateral partnership institution where students can earn credits that can be applied to majors committed at MRU.
MRU has committed to supporting students by increasing support for international experiences abroad. Dianne MacDonald, director of the Office of International Education at MRU, has said, “MRU has made a strong commitment towards supporting internationalization by increasing study abroad opportunities.In addition, recruiting international students and supporting them through their MRU experience is a strong priority.”
Since borders have opened post pandemic restrictions, a surge of students has had an increasing amount (both inbound and outbound) of interest in international education.
“During the pre-pandemic period, MRU was well on its way towards reaching the goal of 20 per cent of graduating students having an international experience. This year we will have approximately 100 students participate in inbound experiences and expect about 120+ students studying abroad,” says MacDonald.
Calgary is a prime destination for many International students. According to review website Clever Canadian, Calgary ranked third in the list of the 50 best Canadian cities for international students.
“Mount Royal’s reputation for providing future-focused programs and small classes resonates with students. We recognize the importance of connecting and ensuring that our services support students in a friendly, personal environment. Our facilities, geographic location and people entice students to come here and similarly, students are looking for the same environments when looking at going abroad,” says MacDonald.
MacDonald adds, “MRU’s internationalization goal is to improve student preparedness for a global era with a high commitment to diversifying the student experience and becoming more attractive to prospective students at home and abroad.”