SAULT STE. MARIE -- Officials at Algoma University and Sault College say are hoping to boost the number of international students next year, as well as the number of countries those students hail from.

At the start of the 2019-2020 fall semester, Sault College had nearly 1,200 international students, while Algoma University had almost 700. The majority of those students came from India and China.

Staff at both schools say they want more international representation for next fall.

"I think there’s benefits to bringing students from these other countries for their perspective,” said Richard Peters, vice-president of strategic international development at Sault College. “They can share their experiences and their perspectives from their part of the world and I think that makes it a much better experience for our students.”

“We are preparing our students to interact in a global economy," said Craig Fowler, vice-president of growth innovation and external relations at Algoma University. “So it’s part of the interaction and learning experience to be exposed to diversity and to diverse experience, diverse personalities and diverse learning.”

In an effort to offer that diverse experience, both schools have been trying to recruit students from countries they haven’t had much success in before.

“Hopefully after some networking expansion in places like Japan, Korea, Colombia and Mexico, we hope to diversify those numbers even further in the upcoming semester,” said Peters.

Fowler said to attract international students, schools need to offer compelling programs. So during the pandemic, Algoma University has been looking at the programs it offers to make sure it’s offering degrees that would attract international students.