Memorial University of Newfoundland has increased its share of out-of-country students during the last decade considerably. The University Centre of the Westfjords, on the other side of the ocean, is one of the most international institutions of higher education in Iceland.
One of the criteria in university ranking is to assess how successful a university has been in attracting students and faculty members from other nations as this seems to give a hint on quality and comparability. However, internationalisation also has its challenges, not the least in small language societies and in remote areas. Memorial as the northeasternmost university of the North American continent (discounting Greenland) and UWestfjords as the northwesternmost institution of higher education level in Europe both face the fact of being remote, and thus must carefully consider what impacts attractiveness to students. Memorial and UWestfjords have for a long time been in contact with each other, both are active members of UArctic, and during the past few years they have even a memorandum of understanding, enhancing even deeper cooperation. Both with a strong marine emphasis, UWestfjords and Memorial also have a lively exchange of faculty and several of UWestfjords' students have come from Memorial through the years.
Sonja Knutson is the Director of the International Centre and Special Advisor to the President on International Affairs at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is responsible for leading, partnering and supporting internationalization initiatives and strategic planning at Memorial. She is currently enrolled as a Ph.D. student at Memorial’s Faculty of Education and has been working in international education for 20+ years. She began working for Memorial in 1999 as an English Second Language teacher, and has taught courses for both the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Education. She is an instructor with Queen’s University (Ontario) International Educator’s Training program, is serving a second term on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Bureau for International Education, and a two-year term with the NAFSA International Education Leadership Knowledge Community.
Sonja Knutson is thus the right person to give a deeper insight in the do's and don'ts of internationalisation of higher education in the North. During her visit to UWestfjords, she will explore possibilities of opportunities for further cooperation.