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New kiosks at Toronto airport set to welcome international students

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A new collaboration between several Ontario postsecondary institutions, including Centennial College, and six municipalities has led to the establishment of “Destination Ontario” kiosks at Toronto Pearson International Airport Terminals 1 and 3 this month to welcome and orient some of the 500,000 international students that are coming to study in Canada this fall.

Kiosk volunteers will greet international students exiting Customs and Immigration at Gate C on the Arrivals level with a welcome package, assist with transportation and accommodation options, provide free calls home to inform family members, offer a helpful smartphone app and other services.

By providing a warm welcome and guidance to students arriving in Canada for the first time, the Destination Ontario partnership aims to attract and retain more international students in the province, and enhance the profile of Ontario’s cities as highly desirable international learning destinations in Canada.

The Destination Ontario program replaces a similar initiative provided by the City of Toronto, which was curtailed in 2016. The new, sustainable business model operates as a partnership involving 15 public colleges, four universities and six municipalities, all of which contribute to the program’s $250,000 annual budget.

The temporary kiosks will be staffed from 7 am to 11 pm seven days a week between August 12 and September 8, and again between late December and mid-January to welcome new international students commencing classes in the winter semester.

Representatives from various Destination Ontario partners – including Laura Wood and Virginia Macchiavello from Centennial’s International department – were on hand at Pearson’s Terminal 1 on August 12 to talk to members of the media about the welcome initiative.