Home International Students Summary of Recommendations

Summary of Recommendations

  • Whole Campus Approach – It is integral to the wellbeing of international students that everyone on campus shares responsibility in supporting the emotional, social, physical, and mental health of international students.
  • Pre-arrival Preparation – As many students learn about Ontario post-secondary schools through recruiting and research, informing prospective students about key aspects and challenges of life in Ontario can help prepare them for success.
  • Challenges of relocation and acculturation – Staff should have a good understanding of the significant adjustments that international students must make when adjusting to their new community and post-secondary institution.
Addressing Financial Vulnerability
  • Provide education around the Canadian banking system and banking norms – embed them into the international student orientation.
  • Ensure access to financial resources and financial professionals in case of emergencies.
  • Enhance financial literacy programs and support and develop comprehensive financial literacy programs specifically tailored to international students.
  • Embed financial conversations into orientation and ongoing support.
Addressing Housing Insecurity
  • Establish partnerships with landlords and property managers in your area – by creating partnerships you can help to increase access to potential housing options for students.
  • Educate international student office staff on housing issues and have them available to international students for counsel. By providing this information upfront, as well providing in-house resources who are knowledgeable about rental laws in their communities, students can avoid common tenancy issues.
Addressing Healthcare Access
  • Ensure that service providers have a baseline knowledge of the provincial healthcare system.
  • Support staff on campuses should also understand the healthcare provided at the institution.
Addressing Food Insecurity
  • Recognize the unique vulnerabilities of international students. Enhance financial support for international students. Provide increased financial assistance to address food insecurity.
  • Improve access to culturally appropriate and affordable food. Collaborate with local communities, cultural organizations, and food banks to ensure international students have access to culturally familiar and affordable food options.
  • Raise awareness and promote existing resources among international students on available resources such as discounted or free meals provided by community groups and organizations.
  • Provide comprehensive support services and establish support services that address the broader impacts of food insecurity on international students’ mental health, academic performance, and social well-being.
Addressing Sexuality
  • Implement student-directed care. Adopt an approach where LGBTQIA+ international students are actively involved in articulating their needs and collaborating with staff to create personalized support plans.
  • Post-secondary institutions should develop meaningful partnerships and referral pathways with external LGBTQIA+ organizations in their communities. These partnerships can ensure cultural safety and understanding for LGBTQIA+ international students, providing them with additional resources and support beyond what the institution alone can offer.
  • It is important for post-secondary institutions to have staff and faculty members who reflect the diversity of their student populations. This diversity can bring a wider perspective and understanding of the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ international students.
  • Address mental health, wellbeing and recognize the impact of the complexities faced by LGBTQIA+ international students on their mental health and well-being.
  • Create an inclusive and welcoming environment within the campus and local communities.
Social Connectedness
  • Expand and sustain specific programming aimed at supporting international students throughout their entire academic journey.
  • Create a supportive campus environment that values and celebrates diversity.
  • Encourage the formation of social support networks among international students and provide resources for students to connect with their peers, join clubs or student organizations, and participate in campus activities.
Francophone Perspective
  • Provide opportunities for francophone students to not only learn and experience life and customs in Ontario but share their cultures and experiences in-kind.
  • Recognize that a cultural adjustment isn’t always required on the part of the student alone. Ensure that staff and faculty are equipped with the knowledge and skills to support francophone international students to integrate into the school community in a culturally adaptive and psychologically safe way.
  • Provide activities and courses to support English skills and social networking can help open additional avenues and ease challenges in systems such as healthcare and employment.
Areas of Conflict
  • Be aware of global issues potentially impacting international students. Students may have experienced trauma during their premigration and resettlement experiences, or they may have been exposed to violence, displacement, or detention.
  • Equip staff to provide trauma sensitive responses and supports.
  • Reach out to partner with organizations that specialize in working with refugee families, if that is an available resource.
  • Students coming from areas of conflict may be at risk for bullying and harassment if classmates stigmatize them. Make it abundantly clear that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable.
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