Over the past few months, more than 1,000 Canadian postsecondary students have already embarked on life-changing and career-boosting international experiences through the Global Skills Opportunity (GSO) program.
Here are a few of their stories:
Western University students study health and aging in Scandinavia
Twenty-nine students returned in mid-June from a 10-day experience in Sweden, Denmark and Norway as part of Western University’s GSO project Aging Globally: Building Global Skills by Studying Health and Aging in Scandinavia. Participants explored the countries’ healthcare systems and initiatives focused on disease prevention and management, general well-being and quality of life as we age. In their reports, students highlighted how the experience improved their critical thinking, networking and leadership abilities.
UQAC students head to Belgium to study teaching techniques
At the end of April 2022, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi led a group of eight students to Belgium through its GSO project Le projet IBEC – Immersion, Belgique, Éducation Comparée. These students learned about preschool and elementary-level teaching techniques at the Haute École Libre de Mosane (HELMo) in Belgium. Students reported gaining key skills related to their teaching degree and developing connections with their counterparts in Belgium.
Humber College students learn from the land
Mazinaw-Gamiig (Bon Echo Provincial Park) served as a classroom for Humber College students who took part in the 4-day land-based All Our Relations: Land and Culture Camp. Students from diverse backgrounds engaged in hands-on learning activities such as setting up campsites, holding in-person talks with Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Holders and cooking together. It was an opportunity to build community, deepen intercultural and environmental understanding through reflection on identity and the Anishinaabeg worldview, and reduce barriers to studying abroad.
Though pandemic restrictions derailed a planned trip to New Zealand, participants are expanding their perspectives and networks with students from around the world through the academic course Sustainability & Biculturalism, delivered by New Zealand’s Otago Polytechnic. Together, enrolled students are unpacking the roles of people and culture on preserving the natural environment while also learning about the Indigenous tribes of southern New Zealand, Kai Tahu, and reflecting on their own multifaceted identities.
York U students collaborate with international peers to achieve SDGs
York University’s Go Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Action Student Challenge is well underway, having kicked off at the start of the 2022 winter term. Twenty-nine Canadian students, alongside international peers in Brazil, Philippines, Italy and Mexico, have designed, pitched and executed community projects tied to SDG goals. Now the students are ‘going global’—studying, researching or working in the communities they’ve impacted. We’re excited to follow along with their adventures and hear more about their experience.
Sault College’s Indigenous Entrepreneurs program links with Mexico’s Universidad Polytechnic Yucatan
A first cohort of 11 students from Sault College’s International Mobility Supporting Indigenous Entrepreneurs program recently returned from Mexico. Students participated in weekly online meetings with their counterparts at the Universidad Polytechnic Yucatan for three months, followed by two weeks of high-intensity, in-person programming with Indigenous students and entrepreneurs in Mexico. One of the Canadian participants, Elizabeth, a mother of two, became a role model for others and shared the following about her experience:
It presents me the opportunity to develop cultural competency and sensitivity. It shows that I am willing to try new experiences and that I have adaptability skills. Through the experience I can gain valuable skills around multi-cultural approaches that are used in the human services field.
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Assistant Director, Communications