SFU joins national conversation on international learning experiences for students
By Justin Wong
Simon Fraser University has joined the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s (CBIE) Learning Beyond Borders (LBB) initiative to inspire more students at the University to take advantage of learning experiences in other countries.
LBB is a national conversation examining Canadian universities can include learning abroad opportunities as an integral part of their students’ educational experience. The initiative aims to help students understand how studying and working abroad can positively impact their career prospects and professional development.
“Learning abroad whether on exchange, a field school or a co-op can be transformative, and students often say it is the most impactful educational experience they have had,” says Nancy Johnston, executive director, SFU Student Affairs.
She’s pleased that SFU is taking an active role in LLB conversations that will likely reveal more ways for the University to help students find learning and work opportunities abroad.
For example, fourth-year business student Genevieve Cronkite took advantage of SFU’s Study Abroad program to spend an exchange year studying at Lund University in Sweden. She already sees how this experience is helping her develop career prospects before she has even graduated.
"I plan to work in Europe as soon as I graduate, thanks to some of the connections I’ve made on exchange,” says Cronkite. “If someone told me all of this five years ago, I would never have believed them. That’s the awesome thing about Study Abroad, it opens up a whole new set of opportunities that you never even considered."
As a partner in the CBIE Learning Abroad Innovation Zone and Learning Abroad Promotion Zone, SFU commits to identifying and addressing internal barriers to learning abroad and to participate in peer discussions with other post-secondary institutions across the country that are tackling similar issues and challenges.
In addition, SFU will contribute to a national communications campaign to promote the value of learning abroad to students and other stakeholders by creating and sharing content on the impact and outcomes from learning abroad.
“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 is time to leverage the leadership role of education institutions in a concerted and coordinated 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 provide support by organizing webinars and thematic peer discussions throughout the year to allow institutions to discuss challenges and approaches to common goals, and identify best practices.