Member Spotlight: Marine Institute International

This month we're featuring Marine Institute International. MII employee Sonia Ho is an ACIC Board Member and a tremendous help with our 2015 Symposium planning! See more about the Symposium being hosted in St. John's here.

  • What is the Marine Institute and MI International all about?

As part of Memorial University of Newfoundland, Marine Institute (MI) is a world-leading centre for marine and ocean related career education and research. Through MI International (MII), its international consulting arm, Marine Institute also provides practical application and real world solutions to real world challenges. MII supports MI’s three schools (School of Fisheries, School of Maritime Studies and School of Ocean Technology and research units to source, manage, and execute a range of international projects, consultancies and initiatives. MII is an eight-person service unit whose primary focus areas are international consulting and project management, institutional partnerships building, international mobility and international student recruitment and supporting services.

 

International Projects

For over 30 years, MI International has implemented more than 200 projects in over 50 countries. These activities range from short consultations to multi-year, multi-partner projects for clients such as multilateral development banks, governments, aid agencies, consulting firms and the private sector. As an example, last year Marine Institute participated in five projects in Antigua, Guyana, Jamaica and Suriname through the Caribbean Education For Employment program funded by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and administered through Colleges and Institutes of Canada (CICan, formerly known as ACCC). In the same year, MI also completed an African Development Bank project in Malawi with the School of Fisheries.

Institutional Partnerships

Through our global development and consulting work, MI has formed and strengthened personal and professional friendships and institutional linkages in diverse countries including Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Africa, the Philippines, Indonesia and China over time. In this regard, MII plays a leading role in establishing and maintaining these institutional partnerships. A good example would be MI’s role from 2000-2005 in Vietnam, helping to establish the Tra Vinh Community College which subsequently became the Tra Vinh University (TVU). The relationship between MI and TVU continues today through frequent visits from both partners, the establishment an annual study scholarship for Vietnamese students, internship placements for MI graduates and short-term teaching opportunities for MI Faculty TVU. These personal, business and institutional connections help internationalize and enrich MI’s student-population, faculty and staff, and building capacity and expertise at MI as well as our partner institutions worldwide.

International Mobility

As part of its international mobility initiatives, MII facilitates student and staff exposure to and involvement in international activity. Since 1997, MII has overseen the yearly deployment of up to twenty-two Canadian post-graduate students overseas as part of the International Youth Internship Placement (IYIP) program funded by the Canadian government. The initiative aims to provide recent graduates with the opportunity to intern for six-months at MI’s partner institutions worldwide, gaining valuable cross-cultural and employability skills. Similar examples of opportunities that allow students to gain international experience are with the Strategic Internationalization Fund and Students for Development, funded by Memorial University and the Canadian government respectively and administered by MII. MII also works with non-Canadian students and faculty to study or visit MI by taking advantage of a range of Canadian-government-funded programs such as the Canada-CARICOM program. Under this program during 2011-2013 MI hosted students from the Caribbean region who completed part of their studies in their country of origin, then a year at MI before returning for their final exams.

MI has a large and growing pool of personnel who either have been or are currently involved in international work. Over 160 faculty and staff members have gained international experience via participation in international initiatives to date. MII looks for opportunities to attach individuals with less international experience to in-country training missions where possible to assist more experienced members and enhance their profile.

International Students

Over the last several years MI has allocated more resources toward attracting foreign students and investing in the necessary support services during their time here. MII’s International Student Coordinator is the key player here and works with various support units including Student Affairs, the Work Placement Office, Registrar’s Office and MUN International Student Advising Office, International Centre and Housing to support current and prospective international students at MI.  The international student population has been rising steadily and it stands at five per cent of the total student number today.

Apart from regular program seeking international students, Marine Institute hosts exchange and visiting students regularly from partners under university-wide and MI specific agreements. We have also been hosting students from scholarships program such as Science without Borders and King Abdullah Scholarships. In recent years, during the months of July and August, MI offers a Summer Institute program for international students from non-English speaking countries, through which students participate in five weeks of English language training, hands-on ocean-related studies, and cultural exchange activities.

  • Why should students attend MI?

As the largest institute of its kind in Canada, Marine Institute offers a suite of programs that are found nowhere else in the country. Our programs focus on three marine-related fields: in Maritime Studies, such as Marine Engineering Technology, Nautical Science and Naval Architecture; in Ocean Technology, such as Ocean Instrumentation, Ocean Mapping and Remotely operated vehicles; and in Fisheries such as Marine Environmental Technology, Water Quality and Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management. In addition, we provide land-based programs such as Food Technology, Food Safety and even Fire Rescue! Our programs range from undergraduate certificates/diplomas and degrees to post graduate certificate/diplomas and Master’s degrees. Program length varies from one to four years.  

Students are attracted to our institute for several reasons: our experienced faculties who have worked extensively in their fields or industries, small classes, affordable tuition, cutting-edge technology and facilities as well as the employability of our graduates. Indeed, our programs are unique in providing technical, hands-on training that prepare students for a professional career. Our credentials are recognized internationally, and we have graduates employed all over the world in their chosen fields.

  • How can others get involved with/ attend Marine Institute?

MI International is always looking forward to build new partnerships. We are known for our solid approach to designing, developing and delivering international projects. Furthermore, we have a sound understanding of international development agencies and policies as well as alliances with other education institutes, the private sector, community groups and government agencies. If you are interested in partnering with MI International, please feel free to contact our office as well.

If you are a student or recent graduate from a postsecondary institution interested in the work of MI International and would like to get involved, you could look for information and announcements posted on our Facebook page or contact out office directly.

Students who are interested in Marine Institutes’ programs could apply through MI’s website. International students interested in studying at Marine Institute could direct their questions to the International Student Coordinator at MII. Our office aims to ensure their experience in Canada as stress-free as possible from application to graduation.

MI Website: www.mi.mun.ca

MI International Website:  www.mi.mun.ca/miinternational/

MI International Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/International.MI

  • Anything else you’d like to tell us about?

On a lighter note, MII is also involved in community engagement. Joining ACIC as a member is part of this initiative. The office organizes fundraising activities for local and international charities including a women’s shelter in Newfoundland and an orphanage in Malawi.  One important fundraising activity is an annual auction held in conjunction with International Women’s Day and using items purchased by MI faculty and staff from their overseas deployments. The charity auction is one way that MII helps promote a global perspective on development as well as informs the community about MI’s overseas deployments and development work. In addition, MII participates in other annual events such as MUN’s Go Abroad fair, International Women’s Day, and International Development Week in conjunction with ACIC, which gives MII the opportunity showcase ongoing projects and initiatives, give presentations and hold discussions with students, faculty, and staff of MI/MUN and members of the public.