Study abroad

Our position

Learning across borders is part of a 21st century education. Canada needs to do more to encourage a culture of mobility among Canadian students. Studying abroad helps young Canadians develop the cross-cultural competencies and problem-solving skills that are in high demand from today’s employers.

We ask the federal government to:

  • Invest in international mobility opportunities for Canadian youth that will benefit 50,000 students per year by 2022.

“Young Canadians … need to know that the world is their classroom, and they need to go abroad to get a full education – one that will prepare them for the future.”


SFU president Andrew Petter says we need to understand the world to understand how Canada can move forward.


I don’t think it’s any secret that we live in a global economy and more and more job opportunities are international, but frankly, we also need to understand the world to understand how Canada can move forward.

So it’s really important to encourage students to get global experience, ideally to travel overseas and to create networks, gain cultural understanding.

We have a program in computer science where we actually train students in Mandarin in the first year because they study their next two years in Mandarin and then they and the Chinese students come back and study in English.

Once they’ve completed that program, those students not only understand computer science, they understand each other’s cultures.

They’ve made friends.

They’ve gained work experience.

And that prepares them so well for the jobs of the future.

I mean they truly are global citizens as well as computer scientists.

By the numbers

  • 3.1%
    of students study abroad

    While 97% of universities offer international experiences, just 3.1% of full time undergraduate students had taken advantage of these opportunities in 2012-13.

    Source: Universities Canada, Internationalization survey, 2014.
  • 8/10
    see career benefit

    More than 80% of employers that hire recruits with international and intercultural experiences say these employees enhance their company’s competitiveness.

    Sources: Leger Marketing employer survey for Universities Canada, 2014; and Canadian Bureau for International Education, A World of Learning: Canada’s Performance and Potential in International Education 2014.
  • 70%
    see cost as barrier

    Students surveyed say they would study abroad if it was more affordable and part of their study program.

    Source: Why don't more Canadian students study abroad?, 2016 Academica Group survey of 1,400 students.

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