Global Skills Opportunity program encourages more Fanshawe students to study abroad

Header image for the article Global Skills Opportunity program encourages more Fanshawe students to study abroad Credit: GO ABROAD AT FANSHAWE COLLEGE
Reem Al Rabya (business) in ESC Clermont, France; Brodie Wheldrake (business marketing) at Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland; Luis Romero (web development and internet applications) at Jyvaskyla University of Applied Sciences, Finland.

Close to half a million dollars has been granted for support in studying abroad.

Fanshawe has received $464,500 in grant funding through Colleges and Institutes Canada as part of a pilot program. The grant is an effort to encourage students to take part in the Go Abroad program for their studies.

The grant funding will continue for students seeking an international studying experience until the winter 2025 semester.

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International Projects and Exchange Coordinator at Fanshawe College Caitlin Smith said she was filled with excitement for the opportunity for students.

“We’re thrilled,” she said. “Obviously not only at the grant, but just at the recognition of the importance and the value of international learning from the Canadian government. Because this grant is just one piece, this Global Skills Opportunity program is just one piece of Canada’s five-year international education strategy.”

Financial barriers have always been the biggest hurdle for students interested in studying abroad. The grant has the potential to assist in eliminating those struggles.

“For study abroad opportunities, or international opportunities, those can be a number of different experiences. Things like a semester exchange, doing a co-op abroad or maybe doing a faculty-led trip where a group of students [are] travelling with a faculty member, for a shorter learning experience, usually they would be volunteering in that location or doing some sort of project with a local agency.”

Smith added that the experience of going abroad can create crucial skills development for students.

“Things like being comfortable with the unfamiliar and problems and solving critical thinking, cross-cultural communication strategies and being able to work with really diverse groups and diverse clients. The list goes on and on, and all of these skills and experiences that students have also help the Canadian economy because each graduate that’s returning [now has] a greater global outlook,” shared Smith. “Maybe ties to different parts of the world, different networks have been developed, that contributes down the road, right when you’ve got someone who maybe studied in Brazil for a semester and after graduation five years later, is working with Brazilian clients that’s boosting the Canadian economy and globalizing our own ties.”

The Global Skills Opportunity grant will allow more students to participate and obtain real life skills to stick with while moving forward.

Funding is open to all Canadian and permanent resident students. On top of the funding, additional funding is set aside for students who face traditional barriers to participate in study abroad opportunities.

“Those include students who maybe are considered low-income, Indigenous, or students with disabilities. So, there’s even kind of an extra boost for those from those target groups.”

Through assistance from the Canadian government and Fanshawe College, every student has the opportunity to go abroad.

“You can do a short-term three, four or five-week program in the summer, get elective credits and be really immersed abroad, and that host culture. We’ve had students do their co-op or their placements all over the world. China, Germany, Costa Rica, South Africa, the sky’s the limit.”

To qualify to study abroad requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 with no academic transgressions as a full-time student.

“I would say look into it because it’s life-changing and it’s career-impacting and it’s such a good opportunity for everyone.”

Students interested in learning more about studying abroad can contact studyabroad@nullfanshawec.ca.