Surrey, BC - November 22, 2023 - Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS) today announced the grand opening of the International Student Union (ISU) office within PICS premises. This is a significant step towards fortifying support systems for international students in the community.
The ceremony was graced by the esteemed presence of Surrey Mayor; Brenda Locke, Counsel General of India in Vancouver; Mr. Manish, Anita Huberman; President & CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, Jashanpreet Singh; President of ISU; PICS Board members and other leaders of the society. The establishment of the ISU office signifies a milestone in PICS Society's commitment to fostering a welcoming environment for international students in British Columbia.
“I am grateful to PICS for providing this space, services and programs to the International Students Union. This will certainly provide employment and settlement services to tens of thousands of students that call Surrey their home. These young people come to our country with hopes and promises for their future. This space by PICS, and their ongoing programs will help them find resources, understand cultural norms and keep them safe," said Mayor Locke.
CGI, Mr. Manish said, “about 25% of all International students come to British Columbia and large chunk of them settle around Greater Vancouver area and it is a very commendable to see that PICS has taken this initiative to forge this partnership and provide mentorship to international students.”
“We have heard multiple stories of international students and they are very challenging and some even lead to death because they just give up. PICS is committed to ensure a supportive ecosystem for students, no matter where they are coming from" said Anita Huberman.
In addition to the unveiling of the ISU office, PICS showcased an array of free programs and services already in place for international students:
1. International Credential Recognition Program
2. Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Loans Program
3. RBC Helping Youth Preparing for Employment (HYPE) Program
4. PICS Intercultural Volunteer Hub (IVH) Program
5. Access to Legal Empowerment (ALE)
6. BCSIS Settlement & Integration Program
7. International Student Support Program
8. Skills for Success Survey Project
"We want to break the barrier that international students have with the local community. Support from PICS, City of Surrey and SBOT means a lot to us," mentioned Jashan.
The CEO & President of PICS Society, Mr. Satbir Cheema said; “Despite the challenges of limited government funding, we have been unwavering in our dedication to international students, offering eight diverse programs and services to help them secure jobs and settle successfully in Canada. This initiative of providing a dedicated space to the International Student Union at PICS premises, marks a significant step in expanding our impact. We believe that this collaborative effort will further propagate our mission, fostering success and integration for international students in Canada."