About Us

Who we are. What we do.
Why we do it.

Our Vision. Our Goals.

Global Skills Opportunity is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada. While jointly administered by Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada, the programming is delivered to students via their post-secondary institutions (PSIs) through multi-year projects. Colleges, institutes, and universities each play an important role in preparing young Canadians for future opportunities.

Global Skills Opportunity recognizes that barriers to participation in international learning opportunities will vary between institutions. The parameters are purposefully broad to ensure PSIs across the country can propose projects that meet the needs of their students.

Global Skills Opportunity at a Glance

Headshot of student

I really appreciated the opportunity to go to Finland. It was beyond my wildest imagination that I would be doing this even a few months earlier. This opportunity would not have been possible without GSO. I am a very proud GSO alumni and hope that many others get to experience this long after I have moved on, living out my dream!

My GSO experience has taught me about culture, being open-minded and I now have a great appreciation for new opportunities.

It has taught me about my family, my little boy would not speak to me while I was gone, and I just really missed and appreciated my family for being so patient during this trip.

And it has taught me even about myself, broadening my view on how I would like to run my business one day (seeing how they run their dealerships in Turku), and how much I enjoyed learning about their city and culture and that I am worthy of these experiences. I feel such gratefulness to have had the opportunity to experience this trip to Finland and I took in and appreciated and enjoyed every moment.

Leon “Boogie” Mann

GSO Alumni, Red River College. Destination: Finland
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I never thought I’d ever do a trip like this, going to study abroad in Finland. It was just so different from what I’m used to doing and really brought me out of my comfort zone, but I’d do it all over again just to experience all of the benefits of studying abroad!

Studying abroad really is the key to bringing everyone closer together. Learning about each other’s culture and differences is so important in this day and age!

I learned that I can do things by myself. That everyone experiences things differently and that we are all unique

Jesse Major

GSO Alumni, Humber College. Destination: Finland
Student cooking

I am a member of George Brown College’s Post Graduate Italian Culinary Arts Program. Through this program I studied in Italy at one of the best culinary schools in the world, ALMA. I also had the opportunity to intern at the world famous Osteria Francescana by Massimo Bottura. Osteria Francescana is a 3 Michelin Star restaurant that was awarded the Best Restaurant in the World in 2016 and 2018 and is now ranked as the Best of the Best by The World’s 50 Best. Restaurants.
Working at Osteria Francescana in Italy has been a dream of mine since entering the culinary industry. Thanks to George Brown College and GSO, I was able to turn this dream into a reality. This opportunity has truly changed my life and future. Thanks to this opportunity, I have many options to further my career more. I will be spending the next two years working in London, UK at more of the world’s best restaurants to further expand my knowledge so I can bring it back to Canada and reshape the culinary industry of Canada.

Darryl Shotlander

GSO Alumni, George Brown College. Destination: Italy
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The GSO experience has given me a comprehensive understanding of global issues, and the confidence to independently and collaboratively develop ways to solve problems. The impacts of unprecedented levels of social, environmental and geopolitical changes, and the results of rapid globalization, require far greater soft skills from us. Many people like me, who came to Canada as a refugee, do not immediately have access to educational opportunities. There are other reasons besides linguistics barriers; the most important is the financial support to acquire new skills. Programs such as GSO play a significant role in supporting students to gain soft skills. The international opportunity prepared me forever for changes in my level of confidence and opened doors to new opportunities in my future endeavors.​

Ravi Ponnudurai

GSO Alumni, York University. Destination: Colombia and Sri Lanka
two photos of the student in Senegal. One in front of a staircase. The other with medical scrubs and mask.

I got the opportunity to expand both my competencies as well as my knowledge and understanding of my field of study: health sciences.

Without GSO, I likely wouldn’t have been able to go on a similar educational [experience] due to financial constraints. More Canadian students need access to international experiences, such as this one, because it allows us to observe and explore important concepts from a global perspective, as well as experience new cultures, communities and environments.

I plan to use my newfound skills and knowledge regarding cultural competence and the relevance of EDI-DI for global health and community engagement when I enter the healthcare sector to connect with and provide better quality care to my patients.​

Shubh Borad

GSO Alumni. Western University. Destination: Senegal.

“Business leaders, universities and governments are all seeking the knowledge and savvy that comes with international experience, an elusive set of characteristics sometimes described as cultural fluency. Businesses want their workforce to be able to communicate, connect, negotiate and understand others in the global marketplace.”

Bessma Momani & Jillian Stirk

Professor, political science, and Balsillie School of International Affairs, & former Canadian ambassador, public service executive, University of Waterloo

Advisory Group

Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada have convened an advisory group of leaders and experts in education, civil society and business to provide high-level strategic advice and guidance on the design and implementation of the program. In addition to informing strategic and policy issues, committee members also serve as ambassadors to build awareness and support for the program across their networks.

Government of Canada and the
International Education Strategy

Global Skills Opportunity is an integral component of the Government of Canada’s five-year International Education Strategy, Building on Success. Launched in 2019, it “aims to diversify the education sector, boost Canada’s innovation capacity, promote global ties and foster a vibrant Canadian economy.” Outbound student mobility is noted as one of several priorities of the strategy. Specifically, it highlights the importance of international experiences that offer students exposure to new cultures and ideas in destinations for work or study abroad that are less traditional but key global markets.

The International Education Strategy also aims to increase competition for international students, diversify Canada’s international student base (in terms of where they study and where they come from), improve inbound mobility and focus on the future of work.