GSO Hits Milestone: 1,000+ Student Participants Have Gained International Experiences

Over the past few months, more than 1,000 Canadian post-secondary students have already embarked on life-changing and career-boosting international experiences through the GSO program.

While we’d love to share all their stories, here are just a few examples:

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 through Western University’s GSO project “Aging Globally: Building Global Skills by Studying Health and Aging in Scandinavia.” Participants explored healthcare systems and initiatives in these countries that focus on disease prevention, management of chronic disease, wellbeing and health-related quality of late life. In the post-experience reports, students highlighted how helpful this experience was in improving their skills including critical thinking, networking and leadership abilities.

UQAC students head to Belgium to study teaching techniques

At the end of April, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi lead a group of eight students to Belgium through its GSO project “Le projet IBEC – Immersion, Belgique, Éducation Comparée.” These students were able to learn 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 Provinvial Park) served as a classroom for Humber College students who took part in the four-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 to reduce EDI barriers to the study abroad experience.

While pandemic restrictions derailed a planned trip to New Zealand, participants are expanding their perspectives and network with students from around the world in the academic course “Sustainability & Biculturalism,” delivered by New Zealand’s Otago Polytechnic. Together students are unpacking the role people and culture have on preserving the natural environment and depending their cultural awareness through 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 students have  designed, pitched, and executed community project ideas tied to SDG goals alongside international peers in Brazil, Philippines, Italy and Mexico. Now the students are ‘going global’ and embarking on the physical mobility component of this GSO project to study, research, or work 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. Their experience consisted of weekly online meetings with 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 when reflecting on the advantage the experience will give her in today’s job market:  

‘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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