Global partners visit NC as part of Study in Niagara Familiarization tour


Give them a warm NC welcome! Partners from around the world are visiting NC campuses as part of the College’s annual Study in Niagara Familiarization (FAM) Tour, from April 29 to May 1.

Niagara College welcomes more than 65 global partners from more 20 countries as part of the College’s annual Study in Niagara Familiarization (FAM) Tour, taking place April 29 to May 1.

Developed in partnership with Brock University, the District School Board of Niagara, and the Tourism Partnership of Niagara, this initiative invites global educational partners and prospective partners to tour our institutions, learn about the region and meet faculty and staff.

In addition to the college’s services, campuses and facilities, the FAM Tour allows participants to experience, on a very personal and direct level, what makes Niagara College, its community and the Niagara region unique and attractive.

Ben Ryan Ybanez, president and chairman of Wise Immigration in the Philippines, explained how he has been attending the Study in Niagara FAM Tour since 2014. He advised how pivotal it is to his organization to be able to tour NC’s campuses in person as it allows staff to better address students regarding NC’s constant growth, expansions and developments because as he noted, each year, the College is better than the year before.

“We have been consistently sending students to Niagara College year after year –NC is the number one school in the eye’s of our organization,” said Ybanez. “It’s more than a partnership to us, Niagara College feels like a second family. We have such a strong association with the College in the Philippines that when someone says our agency’s name, they automatically think of Niagara College.”

He later noted that the organization even has the NC logo proudly displayed on their store signage because they are so passionate about Niagara College.

Parents entrust his organization with the safety and well-being of their children, Ybanez commented, forging a foundation of trust that must be reciprocated with their institutional partnerships, which time and time again, has been met with Niagara College.

Ybanez explained how he is taking video documentation of his time at the College over the next few days. The video creates an educational tool to showcase upon arrival back to his home country to his organization’s 70 staff members who work directly with prospective students in the Philippines. After FAM has come to an end, Ybanez and his colleagues will be extending their stay in the area to follow up with students they have connected to NC to make their success stories part of the message they bring back to the Philippines.

The participants of the FAM tour assist prospective students with learning about Canadian education and providing essential services to help them navigate the processes required to arrive and study in Canada. Much like a travel agent, this group of education marketing specialists visit the schools they promote to learn about the institutions, discuss best practices and gain an experience to share with their prospective students.

“You can spend hours explaining with brochures or showing videos on a laptop, but it only takes two minutes at the campus to get the true answer to what they are looking for,” said James Maur, regional international student recruiter manager of East Asia. “For many educational partners, it is their first time visiting Canada and their first impression of our country is of Niagara College. That’s a powerful representation.”

In fact, Susana Noemi Jaime Vargas, one of NC’s Mexican educational partners, arrived at the Toronto Pearson Airport at 6 a.m. on April 29, the first day of the FAM Tour, and Niagara College was her first destination. When asked if she was excited about being in Canada, she said that is was her first time leaving her home country of Mexico and judging by what she had seen of the College, she thought Canada seemed like a wonderful place.

What educational agents learn during their time at the College and within its community helps NC’s partners to support, inform and engage students while they weigh their study options abroad.

Rostyslov Kozlov, manager of educational programs abroad at Students International; an agency based out of Russia, Kozlov runs Students International’s Ukraine office, noted that Niagara College is one of their main partners and that by visiting the College, they are able to gain a better understanding of the benefits of studying here.

“Not only do you get to see the College’s campuses and facilities, but also the community the College resides in and the region,” he said. ”

Kozlov and his co-worker from the agency’s Moscow office in Russia, Nikolay Patalakha, said that if an agent shows a prospective student a photo that they personally took while touring the campus, it adds credibility and intimacy to the recommendation because they have an established connection with the school.

The College’s growth in diversity and the strengthening of its global recognition is complimented by awareness campaigns through annual events such as the Study in Niagara FAM Tour as Niagara College continues on its path to become Canada’s leading global college.

The Study in Niagara FAM Tour will continue until Tuesday, May 1. Staff and faculty are invited to extend a warm Niagara College welcome when NC’s educational agents are touring the campuses helping make Niagara College’s global partners feel at home.

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