Global Skills Opportunity 101

What is the Global Skills Opportunity program?

Global Skills Opportunity is an integral component of the Government of Canada’s International Education Strategy.

The program aims to empower post-secondary institutions to increase the participation of young Canadians—especially underrepresented students—in international learning opportunities both at home and abroad.

Global Skills Opportunity is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada, administered jointly by Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada. Projects are implemented by participating colleges and universities across the country.

Student operating machine

Having the opportunity to travel to Brazil changed my life.  I would not have had the opportunity to participate in such a beautiful, hands-on field experience had it not been for the GSO scholarship.”

Some skills I gained:

  • Self-confidence ​
  • How to maintain eye contact (cultural differences)​
  • How to apply the skills and knowledge I have learned over the past four years of university​

I learned that there are no limits to what a person can do; we tend to set limits on ourselves.

I have a stronger belief in my work, and in my traditional belief system which includes the idea that diversity is powerful and a benefit to us all. This felt like this opportunity was an act of true reconciliation, I feel like a partner working to make our home a more inclusive and safer space for everyone. So that we can live freely and recognize that our differences are not something to be feared, but to be acknowledged and celebrated.

Jade Penner

GSO Alumni, First Nation University of Canada. Destination: Brazil
Student is standing in nature

I never would have been able to travel internationally or learn from such impactful teachers without the support of the GSO, not only financially but emotionally and spiritually – the support was there every step of the way and from everyone involved in the process from beginning to

This experience increased my self-esteem and confidence, as I struggle with an anxiety disorder and never imagined I could travel internationally like this. I was also diagnosed with PTSD as a result of my career and personal experiences. Although difficult to explain, I can say it was an incredibly healing experience, to be in a country that I had (based on stereotypes) imagined was in a sense responsible for some of the drug problems happening here on Turtle Island and seeing the beauty and the pain that we have been a part of in Colombia.

Caroline Martel

GSO Alumni, Algoma University. Destination: Colombia

“We want to inspire all of our students to see the value of student intercultural exchange and learning.”

Ashley Dunlop

Director of admissions, recruitment and international, immigrant and refugee student services at UWinnipeg.

Program Benefits and Advantages


Students with international study and work experience bring global-mindedness and a fresh perspective to their classrooms, campuses and communities


Participating post-secondary institutions can explore innovative approaches with more diverse engagement in international learning opportunities


All eligible Canadian institutions—no matter their size, academic focus or location—have the chance to apply to boost the international learning opportunities they can offer their students.


Students who face barriers to participation—especially Indigenous students, students from low-income backgrounds and those with disabilities—are supported to participate in study and work abroad programming


International study and work experiences help students build the intercultural competencies needed for the future of work

Expanded Horizons

Post-secondary institutions (PSIs) are offering academic and/or work-integrated learning opportunities to their students in all four corners of the globe, with a strong focus on non-traditional countries (countries other than France, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States).

Our Funded Opportunities


Innovation Funded projects support institutions and their researchers as they build on and enhance strategic priority areas, accelerate current research and technology development, and take already-established capabilities to a globally competitive level.


Student Mobility Projects empowers Canadian students, especially underrepresented students, to take advantage of international learning experiences and to develop skills such as problem solving, adaptability, resilience, and intercultural competency.