I wrote last June about the Takatuf Scholars program, which last year brought two students from Oman who are part of a cohort of thirty promising young students in that country who are selected to be the recipients of two years of boarding school education in the world’s top boarding schools, along with four subsequent years at university. It is a powerful program, and we are very happy with the results. It is a two-way street: one of our University Counsellors, Kate Knight, went to Oman as their guest for a summer program for three weeks. This year our complement of Takatuf Scholars from Oman increased by four, so we now have six. They never dreamed they would go to school in Canada, but they are very happy to be here.
For the past few years we have undertaken an initiative to spread the SMUS net wider. This year we have enrolled new students from a variety of countries either never or rarely seen before on the SMUS campus. We have two students from Kazakhstan, for instance, who are fitting in very well. Several years ago we started recruiting in Brazil, and have had a steady succession of students from that country. This year we also have students from Switzerland, Russia, Bangladesh and Vietnam. These countries bolster already healthy enrolment from Germany, Mexico, Japan, United States, China, and of course, the western and northern provinces of Canada. Last year we had students from twenty countries, this year we have students from twenty-seven.
This is planned. This diversity does provide some budgetary safety: if an economy in one part of the world suffers, we aren’t as exposed to that particular downturn. Most importantly, though, the diversity enriches our student diversity. Our School has a deliberate and conscious international perspective, preparing our students to become global citizens. Canadian students get invited home with our international students, and vice versa. Direct relationships with these students from other countries teaches lessons about a global world that we can’t teach out of a book. We live with proof that the world is a shrinking one. It enlarges us all.