UPEI: International Introduction

UPEI: International Introduction

October 18, 2019 2 By Stanley Isaacs


The University of Prince Edward Island is
a friendly, vibrant institution focused on people and excellence, and on creating an
impact in academics, in leadership, and in the world. As the President of the University of Prince
Edward Island, I extend warm greetings from our beautiful island campus on Canada’s atlantic
coast. Our university offers an exceptional location and a great institution to live and
learn. Each year, students from more than 50 countries choose to study at UPEI. They
are attracted first because of the outstanding reputation of our academic programs and because
of the special attention they receive from award-winning professors. They succeed because
they are studying and learning and making friends in a highly supportive educational
environment. At UPEI, our faculty and staff get to know every student by name, and they
personally care about the students’ well being, both inside and outside the classroom. That
personal attention is the most important single factor in the student’s academic success.
If you are looking for a dynamic university where the standards are high, where the environment
is supportive and engaging for the student, and where student success and satisfaction
are the outstanding consideration, then we invite you to come and join us here at the
University of Prince Edward Island. We have a place waiting for you right here. Since 1804, higher education has been a priority
on Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province and the site of the country’s birth
as a nation. The University of Prince Edward Island is the proud successor to the legacies
of St. Dunstan’s University and Prince of Wales College, and the heir to a two-hundred-year
tradition of educational excellence in the province. We are an internationally accredited
degree-granting institution, rooted in history and focused on the future. Prince Edward Island is a beautiful place
in which to live and study. Located in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence on the eastern coast
of the country, PEI has a temperate climate and is famous for green fields, red sandstone
cliffs, and the blue horizons of water meeting sky. In the fall, the leaves change colour,
lighting up the landscape with vivid reds and golds. In the winter, temperatures drop
below zero and UPEI students can cross-country ski throughout the province’s beautiful network
of nature trails. Summer brings sun and gentle breezes, and pleasant temperatures in the
mid-20s. Prince Edward Island’s sandy shores are nestled in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
just across from New Brunswick and northern Nova Scotia, and are accessible by plane,
by ferry, and by the Confederation Bridge, which is the world’s longest bridge covering
winter-frozen waters. The University of Prince Edward Island is
located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island’s capital city. Charlottetown is an historic
and charming town of nearly 33,000 people, with a beautiful natural harbour and well-known
summer theatre festival, plus world-class beaches and golf courses less than a half-hour’s
drive from downtown. Life on Prince Edward Island is safe, friendly, and gently-paced,
but the international airport is only minutes from campus and direct flights to Toronto,
Montreal, Detroit, and New York City make connecting to the wider world easy. Charlottetown
is a relatively inexpensive city by Canadian standards, and was voted the third happiest
city in the country in a recent study sponsored by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
Additionally, for international students, living in Charlottetown usually ensures a
genuine English immersion experience, which is an exceptional advantage for those who
wish to increase their English proficiency while studying in Canada. UPEI is at the heart of this beautiful place.
The traditional campus, just minutes from Charlottetown’s city centre and a key hub
on the public transit system, is home to state-of-the-art sports and research facilities, world-class
laboratories, heritage buildings, and quaint tree-lined squares. With campus-wide wireless
internet access, very reasonable tuition in comparison to other Canadian universities,
outstanding learning support services and an exceptional English-as-a-second-language
program, UPEI is a welcoming and forward-thinking institution. The university serves approximately
4000 full- and part-time students, and has a long history of welcoming international
scholars from around the world, as well as from across Canada and the United States.
“Well I graduated with a B.Sc. from this university. I came back here in
1968 to teach in the Chemistry department. Over the years with our research work, myself
and other professors in the department have done so well that we have been invited all
over North America and other parts of the world to give lectures and so on.” One
of the factors that makes studying at UPEI so special is that classes – especially in
the higher years of study – tend to be small and personal, with students receiving one-on-one
input from professors. The university was named Canada’s top institution for student-faculty
interaction in the 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement. Excellence and growth are the hallmarks of
the University of Prince Edward Island. For the last five years, UPEI has been honoured
as one of the top ten primarily undergraduate universities in Canada, according to the annual
Maclean’s Magazine University rankings. Research and development is one of the university’s
fastest-growing areas of specialty, and in 2006, Research Infosource rankings voted UPEI
#1 in the country for undergraduate research effectiveness. Students at UPEI can specialize in courses
from the classic liberal arts and sciences, including a new pre-veterinary stream, or
can choose to study within our School of Business, School of Nursing, Faculty of Education, or
the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, one of only five veterinary studies programs in Canada.
UPEI’s Atlantic Veterinary College is renowned for excellence and high standards in teaching
and research, and its graduates one third of whom are international students
are accredited to practice in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada.
The AVC offers DVM, Master of Science, Master of Veterinary Science, PhD, and post-diploma
degrees and programs, and has impressive research opportunities for its graduate students. “I’m
from the United States. I did my undergraduate studies and my pre-veterinary training in
the United States, and applied to the Atlantic Veterinary College because of their reputation
through the U.S. and through veterinarians everywhere. When I came up here and had my
interview I really fell in love with the school. It’s just a spectacular place and they are
constantly doing renovations and increasing the amount of diagnostic tools we have here,
so it’s really progressive in that respect. Also the faculty and all of the staff here
are just so supportive and they really help you out, especially being from away. They’re
always there for you.” Masters programs in business, biology, chemistry,
Island studies and education are also available at UPEI. Over 6% of our total student
body is engaged in graduate studies. Overall, UPEI offers nearly 70 separate programs for
students to specialize in, some are co-operative programs in which students have the opportunity
to work, in Canada or abroad, in their chosen field while still studying
and receiving credit. “The University of Prince Edward Island has an excellent reputation
for its academic programs in the arts and sciences, in business, in nursing, and in
education. We also have a very high quality school of veterinary medicine. One of the
notable features of UPEI is its small class sizes. This enables students to get to know
their professors really well, and professors to get to know their students. I think this
particularly helpful for international students in order to enable them to adapt more quickly
to the culture of academic life in Canada. Students who choose UPEI can enjoy the comfort
and safety of one of our three secure student residences, or can rent a nearby apartment
off-campus and make use of the city’s new public transit system to get to and from class.
The Confederation Trail, an extensive and beautiful network of bike paths and nature
trails which covers the entire island, runs alongside campus and brings cyclists downtown
in a matter of minutes. Residence living is extremely convenient and offers single, double,
and apartment-style accommodations, and the on-campus dining hall’s meal plans provides
healthy food choices throughout the day and evening. The entire UPEI community is involved in supporting
international students. We offer International Student Advisors, a new student
orientation session which runs every September and January, and a special buddy
program which brings students together. “We have the Buddy Program, which is within campus.
It’s co-ordinated by the Student Union. A new international student is matched with
either a returning international student or a local student that will kind of guide that
student throughout the semester or the year.” The English Academic Preparation program has an
extensive range of courses and support for students requiring help or upgrading with
English language skills, and offers some year-round study options for students who choose to remain
in Canada throughout the summer term. Students who do not meet the English proficiency requirements
for full-time studies can also begin their UPEI careers with the English Academic Preparation
program and then make the transition when they are ready. UPEI also features a variety
of active student outreach and support services through our Department of Student Services
and the Webster Centre for Teaching and Learning. Students can access academic advisement, the
Student Health Centre, career development support, counselling, financial aid advisement,
accessibility services, and tutoring which is available through the Writing, Science,
or Math Help Centres throughout the academic year. The success of all our students matters
at UPEI, and we are here to help. “Since I came to UPEI, I’ve received really nice
support from the beginning until now. First of all, when I came here, I realized that
UPEI was such a welcoming university. Right after I came here, they organized an orientation
for the international students. During the orientation, the main thing was to inform
us about Canada’s details.” Professors at UPEI come from all over the
world, and are active and renowned researchers and scholars in addition to being engaging
teachers. Over a five-year period early this decade, UPEI was the only university in Canada
to have four faculty members awarded the prestigious 3M Teaching Fellowship for excellence in teaching,
leadership, and the development of academic programs. More recently, UPEI was 2007’s #1
Maritime undergraduate research university, according to Research Infosource ratings,
and the university’s receipt of external research and funding grants has increased six-fold
in the last decade. At UPEI, professors usually get to know their students well, and undergraduates
have a great deal of interaction with faculty and unparalleled opportunities for high level
research access and for involvement in individual and international projects. “Our
professors are all highly trained. Most of them have doctorate degrees in their particular
field of academic specialization. Many of them are nationally and internationally recognized
for their research and scholarly work. We also have national award winners for teaching
excellence, and indeed there is a very high quality of teaching and an interest in high
quality teaching right across the campus.” Full-time international students at the University
of Prince Edward Island who possess a valid study permit are eligible to take advantage
of employment opportunities right on campus from their time of arrival, and after nine
months are free to seek employment off-campus as well. “She referred me to
this department and I got a job here. This experience is quite interesting because I
didn’t expect I could get a job in such a good department here. I already have two years
of a computer science education, and so I’m qualified for this job as a web programmer.
My main duty is to create fantastic things for the website.” Students who
wish to stay in Canada upon graduation are encouraged to obtain a work permit through
Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit program. This offers graduates a valid working visa
for up to three years post-graduation, and can be an excellent stepping-stone to establishing
a long-term career or life in Canada. Thousands of UPEI graduates and alumni have
achieved success in fields as diverse as marine sciences, educational inclusion, engineering,
and the treatment of diseases with natural products. Current students have equally ambitious
goals. “Veterinary medicine is a really important field for me and it’s a
field with so many opportunities. What’s great about the Atlantic Veterinary College is that
they set us up right, because we do so many things early on for experience and we are
known as graduates with a lot of hands on experience, so that definitely helps with
the job market further on.” Applying to UPEI is simple. We are very responsive
to international applications. If you are considering studying in Canada or are a parent
interested in quality educational and research opportunities for your son or daughter in
a supportive, highly-accredited Canadian environment, we welcome your inquiries. Information about
scholarships and awards is available from our Registrar’s Office at upei.ca.