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Gift to Capilano University benefits the international experience

Catherine Vertesi, Sheldon Trainor and Emelda Wong were part of a $500,000 donation announcement made at Capilano University on September 8. (Photo by Ken Barbour)

Thursday, September 8, 2011
Contact:  Shelley Kean at T:  604.983.7596  C:  604.868.4374
E: skean@capilanou.ca

(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Capilano University students wishing to study abroad and international students attending the university will benefit greatly from a $500,000 gift announced today from international businessman Sheldon Trainor and his wife Emelda Wong.

The funds will be used to allow the creation of the Sheldon Trainor and Emelda Wong Centre for International Experience in the heart of the university’s North Vancouver campus. Activities and services will be offered that encourage Canadian students to consider an overseas experience as part of their studies and that give support to students from all countries who choose to attend Capilano University. The donation will also provide funds to assist students with their travels.

“With this gift, international community members Sheldon Trainor and Emelda Wong are showing the leadership necessary to expand the global horizons for young women and men from around the world,” said Capilano University president, Dr. Kris Bulcroft. “This generous investment in young people will help build a better future for all and will also enable Capilano to fulfil our commitment of providing a global educational experience to our students.”

Trainor grew up in Vernon, B.C. and graduated in 1988 with a BComm from the University of British Columbia. He was encouraged by his then-UBC instructor, Catherine Vertesi, who today is the vice-president of international programs at Capilano University, to spend a semester studying business administration with Denmark’s International Study program in Copenhagen. This international experience was a turning point in his life that sparked his interest in international finance.

He has since gone on to pursue a successful international career that included working for Morgan Stanley in Asia for 11 years before becoming the head of Meryll Lynch’s Asia investment banking. Today he runs his own principal investment and advisory boutique called Pacbridge Capital Partners, focusing on commodities, energy and natural resources.

Besides wanting to help expand global opportunities for Canadian students and creating a welcoming environment for visiting international students at Cap, Trainor says his gift to the university is also a way for him to express his gratitude for the encouragement he received as an undergrad student to study abroad.

 “As an undergraduate, I was encouraged to study abroad in Copenhagen by Catherine Vertesi,” Trainor said. “That single experience changed my life. I probably would not have chosen my career path otherwise. My wife and I hope our gift will inspire Capilano students and visiting students alike to broaden their horizons.

“The Chinese have a saying,” he added: Xíng qiānlǐ lù shèng dú wàn juǎn shū, which means ‘walking 1,000 miles beats reading 10,000 scrolls/books.’ So start your journey now!”

Trainor has visited the university as a guest speaker, sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with its business students.

“Sheldon was an incredibly bright student who was a real leader and someone who I thought would benefit significantly from a study abroad experience,” Vertesi said. “Young Canadians need encouragement to overcome their nervousness and learn in a different country. Sheldon is the perfect person to provide students with a real-life learning experience of how they can benefit from study abroad opportunities and see the world in a supportive setting.”

Capilano University has a strong commitment to international education and plays an active role in the development of international engagement and activities. Currently, 708 international students from 52 countries are studying in 43 programs at Cap.

“International students enrich the lives of all those who they come into contact with, and the ties they develop while they attend various educational institutions, both in Canada and abroad, add to the foundation for better international relations in the future,” Vertesi explained. “Canadian and international students alike who study in other countries benefit from an expanded network of global connections with friendships and even business connections that last a lifetime.”

North Vancouver resident and 2011 Cap Bachelor of Business Administration grad, Corinna Zimmermann, found her study abroad experience to be so valuable that she did it twice. In 2009 she took part in a China Field Study program, and in 2010 she studied abroad in Caen, France.

“I went overseas to study because I have a passion for travelling, and combining my education with this opportunity only seemed natural,” said the 25-year-old. “I also believe travelling and seeing other parts of the world is as much of an education as going to class.

“I came away with a better understanding on how interconnected the world is and it has widened my perspective on things,” she added. “I also learned a lot about myself and developed a further sense of independence and an enriched cultural and global understanding.”

Jase Wilson, a current Cap student enrolled in the Bachelor of Tourism Management program, learned firsthand the benefits of project experience in another country. While taking Cap’s Destination Resort Management program last year, Wilson travelled to the Sapa region of Vietnam. While there, he worked to improve the villagers’ quality of life by developing and managing sustainable tourism in their communities. From March 13 – 17, 2011 Wilson, along with other Cap students, provided practical tourism training in areas such as entrepreneurship, tourism product development, tour guiding, homestay accommodation, first aid, food safety and sanitation.

“I felt that the work experience would be highly beneficial in terms of my education and future career goals,” he said. “I really love being a part of something bigger than myself, being a piece of the puzzle rather than the puzzle itself. I liked the idea that I would have a chance to travel and challenge myself while being a positive contributor to the environment that I was traveling in.

“The opportunity to be a part of this program has made me not only a better student but also a better person,” the 26-year-old Squamish resident added. “It opened my eyes to international opportunities that exist for those that would like to live abroad. I would highly recommend any study abroad program to all students. The world is becoming such a pluralistic environment and those who can learn about and understand alternative cultures will have a better chance at a successful future. Those who do not may be limited in their opportunities.”

Capilano offers three kinds of international opportunities for Canadians that can continue from 10 days to one year, providing students with the option to choose a program that best fits their interests, pocket book and other commitments, such as family or work. These opportunities include: short term field schools to countries such as Guatemala, France, China, and the EU that include several field trips and are led by a Cap faculty member; full semester exchange programs to Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States; and international development work/project experiences that include travel and work in Vietnam and Paraguay.

Capilano University is a teaching-focused university that serves the communities of the Lower Mainland, Howe Sound, and the Sunshine Coast through campuses in North Vancouver, Squamish and Sechelt. Enrolment totals 7,500 students in credit programs each term with an additional 7,000 people taking non-credit courses annually. Currently, 708 international students from 52 countries are studying in 43 programs at Capilano. Capilano University offers a complete range of preparatory courses, university-level arts and science courses, business and management studies, creative and applied arts programs, health and human services programs, plus a range of services in support of student learning and success. Credentials awarded include bachelor degrees, associate degrees, post-baccalaureate diplomas, advanced diplomas, diplomas, certificates and statements of completion.


Stats on International Students in B.C.
International students enhance the educational experience of all our students and also contribute to the economy as they learn. In B.C., international education provides an estimated $1.8 billion to gross domestic product and sustains 21,000 jobs.

British Columbia is a popular destination for international students coming to study in Canada.

From kindergarten to university, short-term courses to degree programs, B.C. offers a wide range of options and programs for students from around the world.

In 2010, B.C. welcomed an estimated 94,000 international students to the province, creating 21,540 jobs and an economic impact of $1.8 billion to the provincial economy. The top 10 source countries for international students in 2010, in rank order, are: Korea, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mexico, Taiwan, United States, Germany and Switzerland. It is estimated that more than 10,000 B.C. students study abroad each year.

In 2009, international students in British Columbia came from over 165 countries spanning all regions of the world.

International students choose to study in B.C. for a variety of reasons. A survey conducted of international students in 23 of B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions found that the top three factors influencing their decision to study in B.C. were the quality of education, safety and security, and the reputation of the institution. More than half of these international students (54%) also expressed an interest in working in B.C. after completing their studies.

With programs like the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), many international students with Canadian post-secondary degrees have the opportunity to stay permanently as new immigrants after the completion of their studies.

These programs allow the province to attract and retain skilled international graduates who may already have Canadian qualifications, work experience and familiarity with Canadian society to succeed in B.C.

For more information, visit: http://www.welcomebc.ca/local/wbc/docs/communities/international_stud.pdf

Background on some of Cap’s international programs:
This past summer, 18 Capilano University students took part in a four week France Field School where activities included classroom lectures, guest presentations and field trips to important historic and/or cultural sites, such as Juno Beach, Dieppe, Beaumont-Hamel (Battle of the Sommes), Vimy Ridge, the Louvre, Monet’s garden and Chantilly Castle.

Earlier this year, 15 Cap students studied abroad in China, gaining valuable insight into one of our largest trading partners and collecting academic credits along the way. The three-week study tour, partially sponsored by Neptune Terminals with $4,000 worth of scholarships, included stops in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Hong Kong, Tianjin and Beijing and studies in classrooms with Chinese students.

Capilano University also offers its students a study abroad opportunity in Guatemala City, Panajachel, Antigua, Flores, Tikal, and Livingston. This usually takes place in February.

For more information about Study Abroad opportunities through Capilano University, visit www.capilanou.ca/studyabroad or e-mail: studyabroad@capilanou.ca


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