Go Abroad: Learning for Sustainability (GOALS)

hand holding a mini globe

Gain 21st century skills while exploring global issues

This term long, study abroad program is designed to help students enrich their 21st century learning skills so they can effectively engage in academic and professional contexts across cultures. Through a combination of dynamic courses and practical projects, students will develop their critical thinking, creative problem solving and collaborative communication abilities while exploring relevant global issues such as those emphasised by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Learning how these SDGs are being researched and realized at the University of Waterloo, students will develop their own creative solutions in the process of becoming more socially conscious, globally minded citizens.

Who is the program designed for? (GOALS)

GOALS is designed for individuals who are:

  • interested in studying abroad in Canada at one of the nation’s most innovative universities
  • looking to explore the SDGs while gaining skills for the 21st century

Program features (GOALS)

The GOALS program includes:

  • 20 hours of programming a week
  • orientation session and campus tour on the first day of the program
  • curriculum based on CEFR international standards for language proficiency
  • opportunities to meet with instructors during office hours
  • individual feedback sessions with instructors during regularly scheduled sessions
  • course assessments to measure progress and demonstrate knowledge
  • final achievement report (transcript)
  • a certificate of participation from Renison English Language Institute at the University of Waterloo

The GOALS program is recommended for students with a CEFR level B1 (intermediate).

What makes the program unique? (GOALS)

  • An integrated approach to teaching and learning which ensures that students are building language and intercultural skills as they develop and enhance the 4C’s of Education for Sustainable Development: Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity
  • A student-driven, project-based experiential learning program that connects theory and skills acquired in the classroom to broader, real-life, world issues 

  • Opportunities to collaborate with others, foster a growth mindset and showcase leadership skills 

  • An exceptional Student Experience team committed to helping you adjust to life in Canada
  • Individualized support from our student advisor to help facilitate your learning success
  • Opportunities to learn beyond the classroom through engaging workshops, excursions and participation in social events 
  • The option to take advantage of various leadership and volunteer opportunities
  • An active texting community which uses WeChat, Kakao Talk, Line and WhatsApp to connect with peers and ELI staff

What will you learn? (GOALS)



In this course students will:

  • develop personal accountability to engage effectively in teamwork
  • explore the dynamics of teamwork to facilitate team performance and the exchange of ideas
  • position themselves as global citizens to enhance awareness of privilege and inequity
  • demonstrate understanding of SDGs to reflect on the need for action
  • apply design cycle inquiry and analysis to global challenges


In this course students will:

  • use project management tools to prioritize tasks and support team efficiency
  • reflect on self and team achievements to strengthen team performance
  • analyse a global challenge to identify opportunities for mitigation strategies
  • evaluate potential consequences to select appropriate responses
  • work collaboratively to organise findings and present solutions



In this course students will:

  • work collaboratively with peers to discuss topics and plan and execute group work
  • apply research skills to assess information from a variety of sources
  • compile relevant data to develop and support arguments and lines of thinking
  • explore audience and purpose to develop effective communication style
  • enhance communication skills to explain and justify actions and decisions
  • use digital tools to enhance the appeal and clarity of visually presented information
  • edit and revise drafts to enhance communicative clarity


In this course students will:

  • develop cross-cultural sensitivity and awareness by examining both culture-general and culture-specific knowledge as well as by identifying their own cultural assumptions
  • build strategies for managing cultural misunderstandings and adapting communication style to different cultural contexts
  • reflect upon the value of diversity in local and global sustainable development
  • develop communication strategies that can facilitate cross-cultural communication


In this course students will:

  • develop critical thinking skills to identify problems and analyze issues
  • enhance independent thinking and decision-making abilities
  • apply critical thinking skills to evaluate the feasibility and potential impact of proposed solutions to real-world scenarios related to sustainable development
  • strengthen their sense of responsibility and personal agency for sustainable development
  • develop a mindset that embraces ambiguity as an opportunity for growth and innovation

Sample Class Schedule (GOALS)

Student Experience (GOALS)

Our Student Experience team is here to help you reach your goals. You will be offered a variety of opportunities for support such as one-on-one meetups and access to program peer leaders who are here to support your skill development. As a GOALS student, you will have the opportunity to:

Experience life in Canada

  • Social events and activities offered each term
  • Explore southern Ontario, including Toronto, Niagara Falls, and St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market

Practice your social and English skills

  • Speed Friending and video game parties         
  • Weekly conversation lunches
  • One-on-one meet-ups with your Peer Leaders

Be a successful student

  • Support with adjusting to academic life in Canada
  • Individual check-in meetings with every student
  • Informative workshops

Build your leadership skills through volunteering

  • Attend leadership workshops to build your 21st century skills
  • Make a difference in the community through local food drives

Participate in the Conversation Partner Program

  • Meet each week with a University of Waterloo student to practice your English

Stay connected

  • Helpful emails to prepare for your studies
  • Weekly email newsletters about upcoming events and program reminders
  • Texting app communities where you can ask questions and connect with your classmates
  • Ongoing invitations to our events and workshops even after you finish the program

Dates, fees, and application process (GOALS)

Dates and fees

GOALS term Dates Program fees Notes
Fall 2024 September 5 – December 13, 2024 $5812 Registration open
Spring 2025 May 5 - August 15, 2025 $5812 Registration open

NOTE: Fees are listed in Canadian dollars (CAD) and are subject to change at any time.

Program fees include registration, tuition, student services and mandatory health insurance coverage. Additional textbook fees may apply. For fees details, please visit the tuition fees page.

University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) coverage must be purchased regardless of medical coverage from your home country. Dependents (spouse and/or children) must also be enrolled in UHIP upon arrival in Canada for an additional cost. UHIP fees are subject to change September 1 each year. Renison ELI staff will assist with your enrollment.

The student services fee includes a student ID card, on campus activities, academic excursions, and social events organized by Renison ELI Peer Leaders.

Not included in program fees: travel costs, airport transfer, and accommodations. If you require assistance, please e-mail us at eli@uwaterloo.ca.

Application process

Applications must be submitted through our student portal. Follow these steps to apply for the GOALS program:

Step 1: Visit the student portal to submit your application; if you are not signed in to or signed up for a portal account, you will be prompted to do so now.

Step 2: Once signed in, you will be directed to the Program Applications page; select the blue ‘Submit Program Application’ button.

Step 3: Proceed with preparing and submitting your application.

Step 4: You will receive confirmation of your application through e-mail to the e-mail address attached to your account.

Step 5: Pay the application fee and tuition deposit(s) to secure your registration.

Step 6: Receive your Letter of Acceptance within 3 business days of payment receipt.

Step 7: Pay your remaining fees two weeks before the start of the program.

Payment options

You may pay your fees through Convera GlobalPay for Students, online by credit card through your student portal, through online banking (only available from a Canadian bank account), or in person at Renison.

For detailed instructions, visit our Payment Instructions page.

Residence and homestay (GOALS)

Accommodation options include on campus university residence and homestay. You may indicate your accommodation preference in your ELI program application form (please use the additional comments box to indicate this). Based on the information you submit, our team will look into accommodation availability for you.

NOTE: Fees below are listed in Canadian dollars (CAD) and are subject to change at any time.

On campus university residence

Double room, shared washroom facilities, on-site laundry facilities, lounge space, full meal plan, Internet access, linens included

One term residence fees: $4865 - $7660 CAD


In order to provide an opportunity to experience Canadian culture and community living in the cities of Waterloo and Kitchener, students may stay with a local, homestay family. Homestay is provided by a third party provider, Homestay Plus, and includes a private bedroom, Internet access, and 3 meals per day. Homestay families are generally located within a 20 to 50-minute bus ride from the University of Waterloo campus. 

One term homestay fees

Winter $3570 CAD
Spring $2630 CAD
Fall $3570 CAD

Homestay fees can be paid through Renison. Prices listed are based on homestay registration assistance provided by Renison, a single room in homestay, and 3 meals per day. Additional fees apply for additional days, if available, and for special dietary requirements in homestay (example: Halal, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.).