QUIC - A special kind of place
Tucked away in a corner of the John Deutsch University Centre, the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) is an invaluable campus resource for all students with aspirations of an international university experience.
Opened in 1962, the QUIC is marking its 50th birthday in 2012. The Queen’s community – students, faculty, and staff – will have the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the many contributions the QUIC has made to campus life. “We’ve seen the Centre go through significant changes, just as the University has,” says director Wayne Myles, Arts’70, Ed’76, MPL’85.
Having worked at the Centre as the Director for the last 30 years, Myles has seen the QUIC transform itself from being a resource primarily existing to help international students adjust to life at Queen’s – as it did in its early years – to being a resource centre for both incoming and outbound students, as well as for students who remain on campus during their studies and who want to enrich their learning in an international setting.
The QUIC provides outbound exchange and study-abroad students with guidance on topics ranging from health insurance and immigration, to cultural and travel concerns. While interest in international exchange and study abroad programs exploded in the 1990s, Myles says their origins go back much farther. “We have one exchange program that was established in the 1940s,” he notes, referring to the relationship Queen’s has with St. Andrews University in Scotland. Myles adds that study abroad for Canadian students was initially undertaken mostly by graduate students to destinations in the U.S. and the U.K..
According to QUIC Assistant Director Susan Anderson, Arts’76, Ed’81, MEd’10, it is now almost an expectation that a university will provide students with global education opportunities. She points out that a global perspective at one’s home institution is becoming just as important to students. “I do think Queen’s is committed to discovering what being an international university might mean in this decade, because it has changed over time,” Anderson says.
Myles echoes those words. “If a student doesn’t plan to go away on exchange, how can we expose them to the realities of international education and intercultural communication?” he asks. “Or if they are, how do we deepen not just their experience of intercultural communication, but also their competence in that area?” However, for many students the QUIC is more than somewhere to seek out information; it’s also a place to enjoy camaraderie and a sense of belonging. “I think it’s fundamental to our service that we provide a space to which people can come for their own purposes: play table tennis, eat lunch, play chess, or read the paper,” Anderson says, adding that the QUIC community is continuously growing and expanding. “There are students coming back now who were born when their parents were studying at Queen’s”.
“Anniversaries give us permission to look back. When I think back over our time, I think of so many domestic students, not just international students, who made wonderful contributions.”
The 50th Anniversary Committee is being chaired by Ann Robinson, Artsci’75, past-President of the Queen’s University Alumni Association Kingston Branch. QUIC Promotion and Volunteer Coordinator Hanna Stanbury, Artsci’06, MEd’09, is also playing a significant role in organizing this year’s celebrations, which will include an autumn gala that will be open to all, including any alumni in the area who wish to stop by and reminisce about the Centre. Alumni who cannot attend the gala will be able to send messages on their behalf.
“On October 11, we’re having an anniversary reception.” Anderson says. “The QUIC looks forward to hosting friends and families from across the university community.”
The QUIC will be updating information about the 50th anniversary on their website as the year progresses.
Alumni who have memories of the QUIC are also encouraged to submit stories and photos to the Committee by email at QUIC50@queensu.ca. Some of these stories and photos will be shared on the QUIC web site and possibly in a booklet.
“[The booklet] will celebrate stories of the Centre. We’ll also try to capture the major themes that have inspired us and carried us through those 50 years,” says Myles. “The fact that we are celebrating our 50th anniversary may come as a surprise because most people don’t realize how long the Centre has been open.”