Niagara College Goes the Distance to Help Students Impacted By War in Ukraine

“We all recognize that students from Ukraine and many other countries, including Russia, are victims of this circumstance and it is critical that we illustrate to our students that we stand with them and are here to support them through this terribly tragic and stressful time.”                                                                                       – Gary Torraville, Director of Niagara College’s International Division

A News Release from Niagara College

Posted April 20th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – They have travelled across the world to study at Niagara College, now the College is going an extra mile for them.

NC is assisting international students impacted by the war in Ukraine with a range of supports – both financial and emotional – to help them through this challenging time.

Gary Torraville, Niagara College’s international division director. Photo courtesy of Niagara College

Whether they need financial assistance to help cover expenses, or emotional support as they struggle with anxiety over the safety of their loved ones in a war zone, Niagara College is demonstrating that they may be far away from home, but they are not alone.

Global Emergency Relief Fund

International students who face financial challenges due to world issues that arise in their home countries or here in Canada – from war and economic crisis to the pandemic – can turn to NC’s Global Emergency Relief fund.

The fund was established in 2020 to provide financial assistance to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. More recently, the College sought to expand the fund to assist Ukrainian and Russian students impacted by the war in Ukraine. The fund provides students with scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition or living expenses, which are distributed on a case-by-case basis, as needed.

“Students from around the world study at NC to enrich their lives and fulfill their dreams, and we are dedicated to going the distance for them,” said Vice President, International Sean Coote. “During these challenging times, we won’t let our students fall behind due to global circumstances they cannot control. We are stepping up our supports to help ensure that they succeed.”

Supports for students

Since late February, staff members from the College’s International division have been reaching out to students impacted by the war in Ukraine. Those who are experiencing financial hardships incurred due to loss of bank transfer abilities, have been offered assistance as well as flexible payment options.

In addition to assisting with financial challenges, they continue to work with students, one-on-one as needed, to ensure that the students have access to mental and emotional supports or resources.

Director, International Gary Torraville noted that, as a “home away from home” for international students, it is a priority for NC’s International Division to support them during their stay.

“As a College community, we provide more than just an education to students while they are with us. In their time of need, we become their security blanket and their main source of support and care while away from their family and other loved ones,” said Torraville.

While all international students typically experience a feeling of being disconnected from their family and friends, Torraville noted that during times of crisis – such as the war in Ukraine – this becomes amplified. Students have been experiencing escalated fear and anxiety as they hear news from back home, which can severely hamper their ability to focus on their studies.

That’s why, when the invasion began in Ukraine, NC’s International Division shifted its immediate focus on the mental and emotional well-being of its students, and pointed them to supports and resources available to help them.

The College community also responded with an outpouring of support. Employees and students alike have been filling on-campus displays with messages of hope and encouragement for the affected students. Heart-shaped blue and yellow cards with handwritten notes are on display near International’s offices at the Welland Campus and Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“We all recognize that students from Ukraine and many other countries, including Russia, are victims of this circumstance and it is critical that we illustrate to our students that we stand with them and are here to support them through this terribly tragic and stressful time,” said Torraville.

“When world events occur like this current situation in Ukraine, I am always so proud of the way all areas of the College come together to show that level of care and support that NC is known for.”

Putting the ‘NC’ in community

NC’s efforts extend beyond the borders of its campuses.

To assist Ukrainian visitors who have recently arrived in Niagara and may benefit from advancing their language skills, NC is offering scholarships to its English for Academic Preparation<https://international.niagaracollege.ca/programs/english-for-academic-preparation/> (EAP) program. Twenty full scholarships have been offered to recently arrived Ukrainian visitors, to attend NC’s EAP program’s May start, and more opportunities will be available during the months ahead.

For information about opportunities for recently arrived Ukrainian visitors to Niagara to attend NC’s English for Academic Preparation program, contact international@niagaracollege.ca<mailto:international@niagaracollege.ca> or call 905-735-2211 est. 7152.

NC also recently joined 18 colleges across Ontario, along with Colleges Ontario, and the Ontario College Application Service, with a joint donation of $200,000 to UNICEF’s Ukraine emergency fund<https://www.unicef.org/ukraine/en>.

Donations and support

The Global Emergency Relief Fund is supported by contributions from corporate and individual donors. CIBC recently contributed $10,000 to support the fund.

The provincial government also recently announced $1.9 to create an Ontario-Ukraine Solidarity Scholarship<https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/1001965/province-helping-ukrainians-continue-their-lives-in-ontario> in Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges and universities, to be awarded to individual students through their postsecondary institutions based on merit and financial need beginning in September 2022.

“We are truly grateful for this vital support from our government and from corporate and individual donors who are making it possible for more students to overcome barriers and achieve their dreams,” said Vice President, Research and External Relations, Marc Nantel.

“These much-needed financial gifts help us ensure that students who have been welcomed into the Niagara community have the support they need to succeed during critical times and we know that it will truly make a difference in their lives.”

Donate to NC’s Global Emergency Relief Fund

Niagara College welcomes donations from the community to help support students through the Global Emergency Relief Fund. Those interested in helping NC’s international students during times of crisis – including those impacted by the war in Ukraine – may donate at donate.niagaracollege.ca<https://donate.niagaracollege.ca/>.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics.

For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.<https://www.niagaracollege.ca/>

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“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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