International program expands to include European market

School district representatives travel to 14 countries every year to promote education in Langley

It isn’t in Canadian culture to send our children abroad to school, but North America is the exception in the world, and that’s a good thing for school districts.

International students are a large component of revenue for school districts and Langley welcomed more than 530 this year.

ISP director Barry Bunyan and district vice principal Mark Leiper, who market the program across the world, were in front of the board of education on Feb. 25 explaining how they are looking to grow and diversify the program.

The pair travel to more than 14 countries a year, marketing Langley’s program at fairs and schools in hopes it will draw more students.

This year, with a focus on diversifying, they increased the number of students coming from European countries by 118 per cent. They were in Vietnam and have secured some students from there, too.

“Everyone in the world knows Vancouver as a place, but very few know of Langley,” said Bunyan.

But Canada has a reputation for excellence in education so it is a highly sought after country for parents to send their children to be educated. Many stay to graduate, with 100 per cent of international students attending post secondary, at UBC, SFU and other locations.

In Langley, it has long been a tradition for the majority of international students to come from Korea and China.

In fact, this year: Korea brought 237 students to Langley, China, 202, Japan, 95, Germany, 25, Brazil, 12, Spain, 11, others, 23,

Students coming from various parts of Europe now, including Italy, Turkey and the Ukraine.

“We think it’s really important for our student population to meet international students from a wide variety of countries and cultures,” said Bunyan.

Bunyan said that studies are saying the international student exchange to Canada is set to explode in the next three years.