Belleville International: Connecting Culture and Community

Article by Tanusri Rose

Every year, the Bay of Quinte region welcomes hundreds of international students from all across the world. Hardik Patel moved to Belleville from India in August 2018 to attend Loyalist College for Computer Networking, expanding on his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Like his peers, he came to the city with a desire to experience the local culture, engage with the community and eventually become an integral part of it. He started his organization, Belleville International, to bridge the gap between locals and international students and it has since helped introduce the region to a number of multicultural activities, festivities and awareness programs. The goal of his organization is to facilitate a smooth integration of international students into the local community.



During his early days at Loyalist College, Hardik recognized the need for a channel of communication between students and the local community. One of his earliest initiatives was an Instagram page that he created to pool and post job openings in the Quinte region for international students to see. He also started engaging with locals through social media, sharing his culture and experiences online. His efforts were met with success and he was soon elected Student Leader and Vice President of the Student Council at Loyalist College. Hardik’s work in the community helped set him up for success as the founder of Belleville International.

Hardik’s can-do attitude helped him through the challenging times that international students face when settling into a new city, and he has now made Belleville his home. Support from the local community and gratitude from international students for his work inspired him to continue setting bigger goals for Belleville International’s community outreach efforts. He felt a sense of belonging to the local community, and he wants to ensure every international student coming to the region feels the same warmth. 


One of the ways Belleville International removes barriers between the local community and international students is by organizing events that celebrate different cultures. Their recent Diwali celebration event gave international students from India a chance to experience one of their biggest festivals in Belleville, while also introducing the local community to traditional festivities. Belleville International has also organized other cultural events like Independence Day and Navratri that provide a kaleidoscopic view into the cultures, lives and stories of international students. Their social media pages are a treasure trove of helpful tips and information about navigating life in a new country for international students. These pages aim at helping students transition into their new homes, classrooms and social groups hassle-free. This, in turn, allows locals and international students to work collaboratively to enrich the economy, demographics and culture of the region.

Hardik is setting new goals with bigger projects in 2023. Belleville International is ready to expand its reach throughout the Quinte region with the help of local municipalities, leaders and business owners. We look forward to being a part of this celebration of cultures!

Follow Belleville International on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with their work in the community.