Educational Travel Award Experiences

The Faculty of Science Foundation (FSF) provides financial awards to science undergraduate students to ease the financial challenges of going overseas to participate in public service programs or international exchanges. A number of science students have gone on various adventures across the world with financial assistance from the Faculty of Science Foundation. These experiences expose students to new cultures and gives students opportunities to learn in a new environment and gain an understanding of differences in international perspectives.

Three girls standing in front of the Scotland highlands with Canadian flag mittens

Opportunities that FSF provides for students

Exchange students sitting together at a table

Julia took advantage of her opportunities and sought connections in and outside of school by joining various groups. She was also able to experience the local lifestyles in Hong Kong through the friends who she was able to meet. Additionally, Julia took a course called Environmental Social Governance (ESG) which focused on contemporary challenges that Hong Kong and Chinese companies face. This course required students to engage with Hong Kong based companies and create a discussion with representatives to discuss how ESG can play a role in their businesses.

Going on exchange was probably the highlight of my undergraduate experience and I was able to broaden my understanding of both the world and myself through my time abroad.


Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, the UK, Spain, and Ireland are several of the countries that Sabrina was able to visit while she was on her exchange in the Netherlands. At Leiden University, Sabrina was able to meet many international students with whom she was able to travel with on the weekends. While studying in Leiden, Sabrina learned to appreciate taking a different cultural approach while examining scientific research and academic literature.

Student in front of the Cliffs of Moher in Scotland

Student in London phone booth

Studying in a new country and culture is such a rich and meaningful learning experience academically and personally and definitely worth pursuing. I am also very thankful to the Faculty of Science Foundation for helping make international experiences like mine possible!


Bringing it back to Science at Waterloo

Along with the culturally rich experiences that the Faculty of Science Foundation encourages students to partake in, students also apply the knowledge and learning experiences from the classroom to their international experiences and vice versa!

Student examining a patient's eye

Alana volunteered at the Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) and was able to experience the ins and outs of Senegals health system. Working at two village health posts in Bandafassi and Ethiolo, Alana had hands on experience interacting with patients and encountering many pathologies that allowed her to apply and practice the clinical skills she had learned at the University of Waterloo.

I am very grateful to have had this experience. It was a great opportunity to experience a new culture, meet wonderful people, and learn and practise clinical skills that I will be using throughout my future career as an Optometrist.


Focusing on treatment and screening for cardiovascular diseases, Philip took on a three-month research internship with École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. Philip worked with human tissue samples and was able to expand his research connections internationally.
Student at glass structure

I am grateful that the Faculty of Science Foundation Educational Travel Award had enabled me to pursue international research opportunities without having to constantly worry about my finances. Therefore, I would highly encourage science students to explore abroad and gain a global perspective beyond their studies.


Apply for the FSF Education Travel award

Applications for the FSF Education Travel Award close November 15 and March 15 of each year. More details can be found on the awards information page.