April 15, 2024

Inaugural event brings together hundreds of globetrotters, thanks to Global Skills Opportunity funding

Students' anticipation and enthusiasm for their global learning experiences is palpable
A group of people stand together
Hana Curties

UCalgary International recently hosted a pre-departure orientation for outgoing study abroad students. The full-day, conference-style event was hosted for approximately 230 students, taking off on global learning experiences this spring and fall through international exchanges, research and internship opportunities.

“These students are about to embark on thrilling experiential learning journeys abroad, and it was amazing to see their excitement and enthusiasm,” says Colleen Packer, director global learning. “Thanks to the generous backing from Global Skills Opportunity, we were able to create a full-day conference event, allowing everyone to gather under one roof, build their networks and prepare for their upcoming adventures.”

A group of people sit listening to a presentation

Hana Curties

At the orientation, students explored essential elements for successful study abroad experiences. They learned about safety protocols, personalized wellness plans, and intercultural communication skills, including conflict resolution techniques. 

They also discovered how their experiences abroad could contribute to personal and professional growth and were informed of the importance of sustainable travel practices. They gained a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted aspects of studying abroad and acquired essential skills to thrive in their international endeavours.

Sasha Longley, a third-year finance student, says, “I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of the Haskayne School of Business International Exchange Program, which will take myself and three close friends to Vienna, Austria, for the fall semester. Three of us will be studying at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, while one will be attending TU Wien Vienna University of Technology. 

“We are eagerly planning our travel itinerary, with a fall trip to Munich as a highlight — we've heard great things, and it seems like a fantastic way to immerse ourselves in German culture right away. This experience will be a first for all of us beyond North America, making it even more special. We are counting down the days until we can immerse ourselves in the culture and beauty of Vienna, and we could not be more excited.”

A group of people sit around a table

Hana Curties

Rhwand Ismail, a fourth-year marketing student, is going to the University of Leicester in England. “I am excited to begin my study abroad experience, absorb the culture and try some of the best fish and chips! Exploring London, enjoying its entertainment, and riding a big red double-decker bus are among the highlights I'm looking forward to the most. 

“University of Leicester offers a lot of activities and clubs where students can find opportunities for community engagement. Living and studying in England has been a dream, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to learn specific skills needed for local jobs and network with different people that may be able to help me to further expand my career prospects within the country.”

More than 400 UCalgary students are going on exchange to over 30 countries around the globe this year. UCalgary’s Global Learning Programs offer unique and immersive educational experiences that go beyond traditional classroom learning, providing opportunities for cultural enrichment, personal growth, and exploration of the world. 

Travel requires planning, decision-making, and problem-solving skills, especially when faced with unexpected challenges. Learning to navigate new cities, transportation systems, and cultural norms fosters adaptability and critical thinking. Interacting with people from diverse backgrounds helps broaden student perspectives and understanding of different cultures.

To help support more meaningful student experiences like this, please consider giving to the Global Learning fund this Giving Day —  April 18, 2024.

Global Skills Opportunity is the Government of Canada’s Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program. It 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 through multi-year projects. Student Mobility Projects empower 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.

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