Lakehead's English Language Program students and teachers gather Monday in front of the former Port Arthur Collegiate Institute to celebrate the program's launch.
Need Xtra Cash? Visit Xtra Cash!For payday advances and cheque cashing, there's no better option than XTRA CASH! Best rates, no holds, and instant Cash!Click here for full list of services
When he took over Lakehead University, president Brian Stevenson said he planned to reach out to the world in search of new students.
On Monday school officials made it a little easier for them to succeed once they arrive. Lakehead’s newly launched English language program, housed at the former Port Arthur Collegiate Institute, has been designed to help students increase their English skills to meet entrance requirements.
China’s Hami Jhang is among the charter class and, though he can speak the language enough to get by in Canada, he said his mastery of English isn’t enough for him to succeed at the university level.
The program is a big drawing card luring him to the Thunder Bay campus.
“I think it can help me make a big improvement in my English. We just moved to (Canada) and we can’t go to university. Lakehead has given us this opportunity to learn and start here at PACI,” Jhang said.
“We can learn English first and if we graduate at PACI then we can go to Lakehead University.”
He sees the course, one of several being offered under the English language umbrella, as first stepping stone to a successful career.
“If you have a good education or go to university, probably in the future you can get a better job than other people,” he said.
Leigh-Ellen Keating, director of Lakehead University International, said there are five different streams being offered, tailored to meet the needs of a variety of students.
The core program is an academic English course, aimed at preparing students for university courses.
“They join us for a semester or two semesters. Some of them go concurrently to the university. Some of them stay with us full time. They get their English up high enough so they can enter Lakehead University, which is a fairly new initiative here,” Keating said.
“It’s also a really excellent way to give international students the ability to go to Lakehead University.”
Stevenson has said he would like to see as many as 1,000 foreign students attend the school. Although numbers haven’t been finalized, Keating said they expect about 300 will attend in 2012-13.
The program will also offer community and conversation courses for people living in Thunder Bay, those who might want to brush up on their communications skills.
“We also have specialty courses in the summer that will bring in lots of university students, high school students, faculty members from universities in different countries and various different groups. They will be learning English as well as various other activities,” Keating said.
The goal is to convince as many students as possible to enroll at Lakehead, and by making Thunder Bay their first stop in Canada, Keating said there’s a good chance many will stick around.
But if they don’t , that’s OK too, she said.
“A lot of students, prior to this, will be learning their English somewhere else before coming to Lakehead. This way their first stop in Canada is at Lakehead and then they move on to the university, rather than stopping at a different university or a college in Toronto,” Keating said.
Enrolment is expected to hover around 50 in the first year of the program, with the goal to increase that number several-fold in the coming years.
Click here to submit a letter to the editor.