Exploring opportunities for international experiences abroad

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Article originally pusblished on the Daily Bulletin on Thursday, November 21.

International Education Week (IEW) runs from November 18 to 22.

Have you thought about going abroad for an educational experience? Such experiences can introduce you to new people and cultures, provide you with new skills, languages and knowledge – improving your resilience and marketability - and can even change the way in which you perceive the world.

Educating global citizens, who can succeed in a global economy, is a top priority for the University of Waterloo. Waterloo offers a range of student, staff and faculty - focused international activities that can move you beyond your comfort zone, expand your world view, and teach you what being a global citizen is all about.

Check out Gabbi’s experience during her exchange in Melbourne, Australia.  

Here are just some of the many ways in which you could engage in an international educational experience:

  1. Exchange: Spend one or two terms exploring a different country and culture while gaining credits toward your degree at one of Waterloo’s partner schools and experience world-class teaching, training and facilities abroad.
  2. Study Abroad: Some Waterloo programs offer a study abroad experience specific to your faculty, department or program with the possibility of receiving transfer credits. Go abroad programs foster global experiential learning outcomes for students, making them more employable and successful in a global economy.
  3. Summer and Short-Term programs: Some institutions offer shorter programs that give you a taste of study and travel that can directly complement your degree. This can be a great alternative to a term or year abroad while still gaining relative experience to your program of study or interests while developing international connections.
  4. Internships: Gain relevant, hands-on experience in a different country while possibly qualifying for a work-term credit.
  5. International co-op experience: Enhance your co-curricular skills, and experience all the rewards that international experiences can bring while working abroad. Your Student Advisor can help you find answers to your questions about finding an approved job, grants and scholarships and pre-departure processes.
  6. International Research: The University of Waterloo has more than 150 research-based agreements with institution partners in 42 countries. The International Research Partnerships team can provide support to Waterloo faculty in their international research endeavors.  
  7. Sabbaticals: For Faculty members going on a sabbatical, consider the potential for intellectual growth, professional development and enhancement of your knowledge within your field by spending your sabbatical at a Research Institute or University, located abroad.
  8. Staff International Experience Fund: The SIEF program allows eligible, and selected staff members to participate in an international experience that serves to advance the University’s strategic objectives. Over the years staff have visited institutions all over the world, including Australia, England, Germany and India, to learn best practices at other institutions in their field of work, creating new professional connections and applying their experiences upon their return home to Waterloo.

A year or even a week abroad experiencing a new culture, a new language or even just the sights and sounds of a new city can have a great impact professionally, academically and personally. We encourage all staff, faculty and students to continue the celebration of international education and experience beyond International Education Week at home, and abroad!

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