Image Credit: Chandni Solanki and Maria Solano Vargas
Image Credit: Chandni Solanki and Maria Solano Vargas

Friendly people make all the difference for international students at Sask Polytech

International students from around the world have felt welcomed and supported at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Both Chandni Solanki from India and Maria Solano Vargas from Colombia agree that it’s the people who have made their experience as international students so positive.

Chandni Solanki arrived in Canada in September 2021. Having never been to Canada, Solanki was drawn to this country by reports from friends.

“I have close friends who have both attended Sask Polytech and recommended it to me,” she said. “They told me everyone is very good and very supportive,” something Solanki can attest to.

After working for seven years as a branch manager at an automotive business, Solanki was looking for an opportunity to expand her knowledge when she enrolled in the Business Management post graduate program at Sask Polytech.

Solanki has found the Sask Polytech faculty and staff to be very accommodating and understanding. She has also tapped into assistance through Learning Services and recommends her fellow international students reach out for assistance when needed.

“I have learned so much,” she said. “Through our presentations I’ve also become more confident. All of the instructors are very warm, welcoming and friendly.”

Solanki is becoming more comfortable in her new community of Prince Albert and is looking forward to studying on campus in the new year. Following the completion of her program in the spring, Solanki plans to enroll in the Supply Chain Management program and continue her studies at Sask Polytech.

“There are many success stories in Canada and I’d like to stay here after I graduate,” she said.

Solanki encourages anyone considering Sask Polytech to explore the website, which includes information on the polytechnic, its programs and campus communities.

“It includes everything you need to know about starting a life here,” she said.

Solanki has many positive things to say about Sask Polytech.

“There are so many people here from different countries. I’ve never felt like I’m an outsider,” she said. “And if you have questions, just ask. There are people here to help you.”

Solanki has some advice for her fellow international students: “Search where you are going and get to know the history and the culture. You are a guest in someone else’s home. It’s important to know their rules, regulations and culture. Be open minded.”

Maria Solano Vargas came to Canada on vacation from her home country of Colombia.

“I found the people very friendly and was impressed with the quality of life in Canada,” she said.

Having previously studied in England and Germany, Solano Vargas was looking for an opportunity to continue her education abroad. Her experience with the people of Canada made the country stand out.

But why choose Sask Polytech?

Solano Vargas had studied project engineering in Colombia and wanted to expand that knowledge in Canada.

“The Project Management post graduate certificate program at Sask Polytech stood out to me,” she said.

Solano Vargas arrived in Canada in July 2021 and began her studies through Moose Jaw campus in September. Now, nearing the half-way point of her program, she’s scheduled to graduate in the spring of 2022.

“I have really learned a lot,” she said. “My classes are very interesting and the instructors are great. They know a lot about the topics and are very friendly.”

Although her training thus far has been online, Solano Vargas feels connected to her instructors and classmates.

“We’ve really been able to connect online but I’m looking forward to meeting people in person,” she said.

Even with the online experience, Solano Vargas has had the opportunity to access services such as the library and learning services. She speaks highly of the assistance she has received for her research and writing assignments.

As the sunniest province in Canada, Saskatchewan was a big draw for the student from Colombia, however she admits she is not looking forward to the cold months.

“I’m very nervous about winter,” she said. However, she has been reassured that she only needs to dress warmly to be okay.

Solano Vargas encourages others to apply to study at Sask Polytech.

“It has been great for me and I know it will be great for them too,” she said. “Sask Polytech offers a lot of services to new students. Yes, things are different but you’ll get used to it. The people are so nice and they make you feel very welcome. It’s not easy to move to a new country but it’s totally worth it.”

This academic year, Sask Polytech has nearly 1,600 international students from countries around the world.

“International students are an important part of the fabric that makes up Saskatchewan Polytechnic,” said Thevi Pather, associate vice-president International. “Both our international and domestic students have enriched educational experiences through our diverse student population.”

Sask Polytech is celebrating International Education Week November 15-19 following a provincial announcement earlier this month. The Government of Saskatchewan introduced a new provincial strategy to global engagement that will support the growth of international students. The new International Education Strategy lays the foundation for a global approach to position Saskatchewan as a destination of choice for international students from around the world; and provides opportunities for Saskatchewan students to study in other countries.

Learn more at saskpolytech.ca/international.