Annual Pathways Fair shows education possibilities
Credit: LAM LE
The Pathways Fair introduces students to a range of international ways to finish their education.
The Pathways Fair is an opportunity for students to broaden their horizons, stretch their perspectives and create networks on an international level. The program, which partners various post-secondary institutions throughout the country and worldwide, provides students with options to unique pathways towards converting their diplomas into degrees or other accreditations.
“Pathways is a way for students to further their education and get additional accreditation. It can be a professional program, a graduate program or even an exchange opportunity. Education is a way in which students can empower themselves and unlock their potential,” said Gabriela Kongkham-Fernandez, one of the Pathways Fair coordinators for Fanshawe’s main campus. “Studying abroad is a great opportunity for students to develop intercultural competence, get a different perspective and a different set of skills.”
Admission is free and students can meet with representatives from many of the partnering universities and colleges.
“Students meet people from different schools and get to put a name to the face. When you’ve got international universities and colleges present, it’s nice that students actually get to meet a representative from that school and feel like they have a connection, especially if they’re thinking of making the big jump to study abroad,” said Katrina Padyk, Pathways coordinator for the Lawrence Kinlin School of Business.
Student success is always at the forefront of Fanshawe College’s directive.
“We make sure that the institutions are recognized in the country where they are. We look at costs, English speaking opportunities mainly and we also try to get scholarship opportunities or some sort of tuition discount for our students. Many of our partnering institutions offer partial scholarships for our students,” said Kongkham-Fernandez.
The institutions that make up Pathways are chosen based on a criterion that encourages a successful transition for students while abroad.
“Some of our close partners are Irish institutions where the education system is similar to ours and they offer students close to course by course credit. If a student completes a two-year diploma here, in two more years they can complete a four-year bachelor’s degree and they don’t have to duplicate that learning. That’s not always the case within Ontario, but with some of our international institutions that’s very possible,” she added.
This year launches two new additions to the Fair’s draw. Pathways will hold a second Fair on the second floor of Fanshawe’s new downtown School of Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts on Oct. 9 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. This marks the first time that the Fair has been held at two locations. The second addition is that proceeds from partnership fees, in association with the Pathways Fair, will go towards the establishment of a new scholarship award to support a Fanshawe student’s efforts towards tuition.
Padyk is not only one of the organizers of the Fair, but also a past participant of the program. Her experience is a testimonial to one of many possibilities an opportunity like this can provide.
“I graduated from Fanshawe and I did Pathway. I did three years in the marketing program here and then I did pathways at Griffith University [in Australia]. You could complete a degree in a year with them. I think that even just the experience for students to be able to go abroad is priceless. It’s more than just the education. You learn about yourself; you get to travel and meet new people from around the world,” said Padyk.
Colleges and universities domestically might be paying attention to how well this program has been operating, especially when it comes to cooperation regarding student credits.
“ONCAT [Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer] is a big leader in Pathways opportunities for students. It is government- funded and they’re trying to make the process, for colleges and universities within Ontario, move more seamlessly from program to program for students to be able to hold onto their credentials. You want to know what you’re going to get credit for, so with universities and colleges speaking to each other it gives students more answers as to ‘OK, if I’m moving from a diploma in marketing here, how can I complete a degree at Humber in marketing. What am I going to get credit for? And so, schools are talking and making that better for students,” said Padyk.