Selkirk celebrates international links

Selkirk College is hosting a special reunion on July 8, 9 and 10 at the Castlegar campus to celebrate 25 years of International Education. Hundreds of students from five continents and more than 25 countries have come to study and experience life in the West Kootenay over the past quarter century.

Selkirk College is hosting a special reunion on July 8, 9 and 10 at the Castlegar campus to celebrate 25 years of International Education. Hundreds of students from five continents and more than 25 countries have come to study and experience life in the West Kootenay over the past quarter century.

“Over the years, our Kootenay communities have welcomed international students into their homes and their cities. We’re looking forward to celebrating this landmark with our community, past alumni and partner institutions,” says Vi Kalesnikoff, dean of community, corporate and international development.

English as a Second Language courses at Selkirk College date back to the early 1980s when classes focused primarily on conversational English and employment assistance for new immigrants and refugees in the West Kootenay. Classes were offered in Castlegar, Trail, Nelson, Grand Forks, Kaslo and Nakusp.

Selkirk’s International program began in earnest in 1986 when the Castlegar campus received its first seven students from Hong Kong. With no bus service to the college, instructors took turns picking students up and driving them home at the end of the day. By 1987, a second group of 14 students arrived, bus service to the college began and a separate department was formed for International Education.

These days, approximately 300 international students come to Selkirk each year. Most arrive with more English than they did in the 1980s and 1990s; many international students now enter directly into post-secondary diploma programs such as Business Administration and Resort and Hotel Management.

Selkirk International has continually adapted its English Language program to meet the needs of its increasingly sophisticated international clientele. Today’s program offers six levels of academic courses, as well as theme-based seminars and opportunities to participate in the local community.

Selkirk International is excited to celebrate 25 years of friendship between students, homestay families, partner institutions and staff. All friends and homestay families are welcome to participate in the reunion event on July 8, 9 and 10. For more information or to register, visit selkirk.ca/international/25thanniversaryreunion, email internationalreunion@selkirk.ca or call Robin Trudel at 250-365-1306.