Celebrating 40 years of international excellence & innovation

Since 1983, TRU has been a home for students, faculty and staff from around the world, whether for weeks, years and sometimes even for decades. TRU World’s legacy has been founded on building a diverse, innovative and community-minded environment for students from all perspectives and backgrounds. This legacy has been curated and guided by students, faculty and staff and we took our 40th anniversary to reflect on our past, present and our future together.

Our history through milestones

The creation of an International Department

In the fall of 1983, TRU’s connection to the world was formalized in a department created to coordinate the international activities for the institution in House 8, with Charles Mossop as the first coordinator for international education and Joan Wright as the first secretary. This centralization of international activities at TRU signaled the growing importance of the institution’s connection to the world as noted by then Vice-President Academic and soon-to-be President Jim Wright.

The first ESL programs with international students are held at the Allan Mathews School, at what was then Cariboo College

These students joined us from Mexico and Hong Kong, with stays varying in length. Some continue to other academic programs. Some returned to their home countries with a connection to TRU. These programs marked TRU’s initial commitment to flexible, accessible, impactful educational programs that build global language and intercultural competencies.

Students from Mexico, Hong Kong and Libya join us on campus

TRU’s approach to international education was founded on a holistic approach, meeting our students and partners where they are with the program that fits their needs, no matter their academic journey. Students from Mexico primarily joined us for our ESL programs. In contrast, the students from Hong Kong entered our academic programs for university transfers after our ESL programs. The students from Libya came to us as contract students in college prep leading to pre-engineering and then engineering. Some of these Libyan students entered diploma programs elsewhere, one began attending UBC in engineering, and others returned to Libya in government positions.

250 students from 10 countries and regions The first student exchange program was signed with Nagasaki Wesleyan Junior College

This memorandum of agreement was signed between Nagasaki Wesleyan Junior College, later Nagasaki Wesleyan University, in Isahaya City, Japan and Cariboo College to promote cultural understanding and student exchanges. Cariboo College students were offered the unique opportunity for a year of study in Japanese language, arts and culture, combined with field trips that give students a good insight into old and modern Japan. While Nagasaki Wesleyan students were offered ESL programs, content courses and field trips in Kamloops, B.C.

One of our oldest institutional partnerships with Kyoto Bunkyo Junior College, later Kyoto Bunkyo University, was signed

In the broader sister-city relationship, Cariboo College’s International Office joined the City of Kamloops in signing a partnership with Kyoto Bunkyo Junior College. Each year their students attended TRU for a Language and Culture Immersion Program. Vera Wojna, then Associate Director for the International Department, noted that this partnership “remains a tangible illustration of the wide-ranging influence of international education on individuals, and institution and a community.”

The first International Days (now IDays) was held

It has continued to grow, with over 150 showcase participants in 40 performances and 20 events over three days. IDays began as the opportunity to showcase our international student community to domestic students and the wider community. IDays has since evolved to include a broader interpretation of the international experience but remains an opportunity for the campus to connect around shared and unique cultural experiences. Despite small beginnings, the energy that emanated from the first IDays in the rotunda of the CAC was palpable. Happening every couple of years, IDays was founded on the excitement and energy of our international students and international student advisors and eventually became an annual occurrence.
Join us for iDays 2023

450 students from 16 countries and regions Our first students from China, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan joined us on campus
Our first students from France, Germany, Malaysia, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States joined us on campus
Our first students from Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Jordan, Kenya and the United Kingdom joined us on campus
Our first students from Bangladesh and Pakistan joined us on campus
Our first students from Chile, India and Sweden joined us on campus
Our first students from Colombia, Guatemala and Norway joined us on campus
700 students from 24 countries and regions Our first students from Nepal, Nigeria, Tanzania and Turkey joined us on campus
Our first students from Argentina, Finland, Ghana, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Yemen joined us on campus
Our first students from Ecuador, Iran, Jamaica, Russia and Sri Lanka joined us on campus
Two of our longest-standing international partnerships were signed

In 2003, we partnered with two institutions that enriched the academic journeys of many students. Tianjin University of Technology (TUT) was one of these universities. Since signing, 1793 students have graduated with a joint TUT/TRU Bachelor of Business Administration. Shanghai Institute of Technology (SIT) was the other. In 20 years, we have had 895 students graduate with an SIT/TRU Bachelor of Business Administration.

Our first students from Israel, Martinique, Netherlands, Philippines, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe joined us on campus
The Study Abroad Centre was established

TRU’s Study Abroad Centre was established in 2004. International exchanges have long been essential to TRU’s internationalization, with four students on exchanges in 1992. This grew over the years to reach 170 Canadian students on exchange or in a field school in 2010. Since the impacts of the pandemic, we are slowly returning to our international mobility, with 25 students on exchange in 2022 and 35 so far in 2023.

Our first students from Egypt, Iceland, Myanmar and Vietnam joined us on campus
TRU World and the International Building became the new home for global connections

Built in 2005 based on feng shui principles, the International Building highlighted the strong impact of international students on campus and became an anchor for all of the International Office’s student services and training, in addition to the Gaglardi School of Business and Economics and astronomical observatory. The international office became TRU World in the same year.

Our first students from Armenia, Greece, Italy, Uzbekistan and Qatar joined us on campus
900 students from 55 countries and regions The Canada Language Council presented TRU with The Lynn Howes Innovation Award

This award recognized our exemplary and innovative international student services that continue to support our students throughout their TRU journey.

Our first students from Austria, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Spain and Syria joined us on campus
Our first students from Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Cameroon, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Lebanon, Mauritius, South Africa and Zambia joined us on campus
Our first students from the Bahamas, Mongolia and Uganda joined us on campus
1250 students from 65 countries and regions Our first students from Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Morocco, Romania and Ukraine joined us on campus
TRU’s Global Competency Credential was approved

TRU’s Global Competency Credential formally recognizes the significance of having intercultural skills and international experience for students.

Our first students from Cambodia, Cuba, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ireland, Kuwait, Nicaragua, Sudan and Uruguay joined us on campus
IDays won BCCIE’s Outstanding Program in International Education Award

In receiving this award from the BC Council for International Education (BCCIE) IDays commitment to storytelling and celebration was re-confirmed as an event to find a sense of connection and celebrate our students.

Our first students from Belize, Namibia and Oman joined us on campus
Our first students from Afghanistan, Botswana, Burundi, New Zealand and Poland joined us on campus
Our first students from Cote D’Ivoire, Estonia, Lithuania and Trinidad and Tobago joined us on campus
Our first students from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Benin, Fiji, Puerto Rico, Rwanda and Tunisia joined us on campus
Our first students from Honduras, Madagascar, Palestine, Sierra Leone and Turkmenistan joined us on campus
Our first students from Belgium, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Panama and Senegal joined us on campus
Our first students from Angola, Belarus and Eritrea joined us on campus
Our first students from Algeria, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso and Kyrgyzstan joined us on campus
Charles Mossop received an Honorary Doctorate from TRU for his role in establishing TRU’s leader in international innovation and excellence

As a lifelong champion of the value of internationalization, Charles Mossop established TRU as a leading destination for students worldwide. Through the creation of international development projects, expansion of field schools, proactive recruitment and specialized, culturally sensitive support, his work was honoured for the foundation and vision it laid for TRU World today.

Our first students from Albania, Equatorial Guinea and Liberia joined us on campus
Thriving on digital through online Language and Culture Programs

As the world stood still, our International Training Centre adapted to continue meeting the needs of our summer Language and Culture Programs, bringing these classes online to serve over 50 students in the first summer!

Our first students from Dominican Republic, Iraq, Lesotho and Portugal joined us on campus
Our first student from Haiti joined us on campus
Over 3800 students from 100 countries & regions Our first students from Guinea, Guyana, Serbia and Tajikistan joined us on campus
Welcomed largest co-hort of international students on campus in winter 2023 Our first students from Lao People's Democratic Republic, Luxembourg and Malawi joined us on campus
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Celebrate with us this year

Cyndi McLeod: Building an international legacy

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Celebrate the 40th with our year-round events

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How to give

As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, international learners continue contributing greatly to our local community. They are often high achievers committed to volunteerism and academic excellence. Right now, there is a real need for new awards and scholarships to support our growing international community and recognize their academic success and achievements.

40 for 40

With a $40 donation, you can contribute to our International Student Relief Fund which provides emergency funding for international students and join us in supporting our community in making their academic dreams a success.

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Friends of the 40th

Support our students through various international student awards and scholarships by joining our Friends of the 40th with a one-time gift of $4,000 anytime in 2023.

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For more information on any of the available giving options, please contact:

Tatiana Gilbert
Acting Director of Development

Thank you to our generous sponsors

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