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Foreign students urged to choose Quebec

New CREPUQ marketing campaign targets francophone students from abroad

BY ROSANNA TAMBURRI | MAR 09 2009

Quebec universities, in a bid to recruit more foreign students to the province, unveiled a new marketing strategy for international education, just months after the launch of a similar national campaign.

The Quebec initiative, which aims to promote the province as a top destination for international university students, was developed by the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (CREPUQ) and unveiled in February in Paris. It consists of a logo with a tagline that reads, in French: “University Education in Québec. Discover the Difference.” The image will be used on bookmarks, brochures and other promotional materials.

The campaign also features a new website for prospective foreign students, www.universitesquebecoises.ca. The site includes a list of programs at the province’s universities, information on student visas and financial aid, and a blog by foreign students describing their experiences studying in Quebec.

The campaign will help Quebec universities reach out to foreign students more effectively than individual institutions working on their own, said Nicole Lacasse, associate vice-rector, academic and international affairs, at Université Laval and chair of the CREPUQ international relations committee.

The launch of the CREPUQ marketing campaign comes just months after the unveiling of a similar national marketing effort that was developed jointly by the federal, provincial and territorial governments, including Quebec. The campaign, almost a year in the making, was launched in September by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. It is supposed to encourage institutions across Canada to come under a single “Canada” brand when recruiting foreign students in order to help Canada compete more effectively for a greater share of international students. CMEC is expected to publish a list of authorized users of the brand later this year.

A spokeswoman for CMEC declined to comment on CREPUQ’s marketing campaign, saying it doesn’t comment on provincial initiatives.

Quebec to launch another brand

The Quebec government is also working on developing its own international education brand to promote all levels of education in the province, Dr. Lacasse said. So Quebec institutions could soon have three marketing campaigns targeted at foreign students.

Competition for international students has intensified in recent years. Some countries, such as Australia, have aggressively increased their recruitment efforts and Canada felt it was falling behind in part because it had no national strategy. Recruitment is largely done by provinces and individual institutions.

But, Dr. Lacasse said CREPUQ’s campaign isn’t at odds with the national strategy. She noted that the Canadian marketing effort is aimed at promoting all levels of education to foreign students, including colleges and other postsecondary institutions, whereas the Quebec campaign showcases exclusively the province’s universities.

“I think it’s necessary to have this [strategy] at the federal level that focuses on Canada because students choose a country first and after that they choose the institution where they want to go,” she said. “The two can co-exist. One promotes education in Canada and the other promotes universities in Quebec.”

Quebec has 22,200 international students studying at its universities, 7,000 of whom are from France. CREPUQ says it chose to unveil its campaign in Paris to highlight the close ties between universities in Quebec and those in France.

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