Guelph Highly Ranked by International Students, Survey Shows

May 03, 2012 - News Release

The University of Guelph is the top-ranked university in Ontario for living and learning environment for international students, says a new survey.

U of G ranked No. 1 for overall learning, living and student support, and had the highest overall average in the 2011 International Student Barometer.

Conducted by the International Graduate Insight Group, it’s the largest annual survey of international university students in the world. This is the first year that Guelph has participated.

“Simply put, international students see Guelph as a good place to be,” said Lynne Mitchell, director and international liaison officer in the Centre for International Programs.

“Students are asked about all aspects of their lives at Guelph, from how and what they are learning to their living experience, and they are ranking all of their experiences at U of G very highly.”

The survey included more than 209,000 international students from 238 institutions in 16 countries; about 300 were from U of G, representing all seven colleges and levels of study. Guelph currently has nearly 850 international students.

U of G was among 10 Ontario universities that participated. Others were Carleton University, the Ontario Institute of Technology, Queen’s University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, University of Windsor and Wilfrid Laurier University.

The survey was funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges, Training and Universities. Ten Ontario colleges and four universities outside of the province also took part and were benchmarked separately.

Conducted in fall 2011 and released in late April, the survey included numerous questions in four categories: learning, living, support and arrival. Schools were ranked “overall” in each category and marked in various subcategories for an average category score.

U of G had the highest average and highest overall score for student support, including counselling, health services, student advising, IT and clubs.

For living experience, U of G was first overall and received the top mark in safety, accommodation quality, and connections with Canadian friends.

U of G was first overall for learning environment, and first in such areas as laboratories, learning spaces, language support and course content.

“International students care about teaching quality, program offerings, personal safety, institutional reputation — the same things that all of our students are concerned about,” said Laurie Schnarr, director of Student Life. Her department includes the Office of Intercultural Affairs, which provides a variety of programs and services for international students.

“But they also pay attention to how welcoming the campus is, to their relationships with domestic students and to the orientation process. Meeting their expectations and ensuring a positive experience is a responsibility that is shared by the entire University community, and it appears we are getting it right.”

Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs), said the survey results provide important insight and knowledge. “While the results are gratifying, it is important that we use the information to continue to improve services and offerings for international students.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or

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