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UCalgary joins national conversation on learning abroad

University joins more than 85 educational institutions in working to overcome barriers and expand participation by students

The University of Calgary has joined the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s (CBIE) Learning Beyond Borders initiative to encourage more Canadian students to take advantage of learning experiences in other countries.

Reports indicate that annually only 3.1 per cent of full-time Canadian undergraduate students have an education abroad experience, despite reports from past students on the transformational nature of the experience, its many contributions to their academic and career achievements, and its value in enhancing their communication skills, self-awareness and adaptability. The University of Calgary is currently above the national average, with 4.7 per cent of UCalgary undergraduate students having had an international experience in the 2014-15 academic year.

“My international experience broadened my academic experience greatly and made me a much more competitive candidate when I entered the job market,” says Fiona Rumohr, BA’14. The international relations and political science grad spent a semester on exchange at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and did an internship at the American Council of Young Political Leaders in Washington, DC. “Even after graduation, my UCalgary study abroad experiences continue to be an asset.”

UCalgary has committed to promote the value of learning abroad

“We’re committed to working to identify and address internal barriers to learning abroad,” says Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost (international). “Through our international strategy, we’ve set a goal to have 50 per cent of our students have an international experience before they graduate. It’s important that we have conversations with institutions across the country who are tackling similar issues and challenges.”

As a partner in the Learning Beyond Borders initiative, UCalgary has committed to working to identify internal barriers, participating in peer discussions with institutions across the country, and contributing to a national awareness campaign to promote the value of learning abroad to students and other stakeholders. The university joins more than 85 educational institutions in the initiative.

“Canada is faced with the challenge of getting more of our students to take advantage of learning experiences in other countries,” says Karen McBride, president and CEO of CBIE. “It’s time to leverage the leadership role of education institutions in a concerted and co-ordinated effort to give our generation of young leaders the knowledge, skills and global outlook they will need to thrive in our interconnected world.”

CBIE will promote the initiative on its website homepage and create a special landing page to showcase all CBIE- and institution-created content. CBIE will also regularly share content through its social media and member communications channels.

To learn more about the study abroad opportunities offered at the University of Calgary, visit the Study Abroad website.