Equity, Diversity and Inclusion International Mobility Award (EDI IMA)

Gaining a global perspective on your studies through SFU's international learning opportunities.

October 18, 2022

Combining a passion for reproductive justice and Indigenous rights, an SFU student is on an international exchange to gain a global perspective on how colonization impacted the health of Indigenous people around the world.

Junelle Knihniski, who is working toward her bachelor of health science with a concentration in public health and data, is currently in Australia as part of the Global Skills Opportunity program. She is a recipient of an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion International Mobility Award (EDI IMA) for her long term exchange to Monash University in Australia from summer 2022 to spring 2023.  

“I plan on using my global experience of how health systems operate in order to be more creative in crafting solutions to health problems that benefit people back home,” said Knihniski. “I hope to use my international experience to better serve my home community back in Vancouver.”  

SFU has been awarded $500,000 in funding from the Government of Canada’s Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program as part of the Global Skills Opportunity program to expand access, diversity and support in SFU’s global skills-building programs. As a key component of the Government of Canada’s International Education Strategy this opportunity will provide more than 80 undergraduate SFU students with funds to broaden their horizons with a work or study abroad opportunity to expand their global perspective and develop valuable intercultural skills to benefit them personally, professionally and academically. 

The EDI IMA was created at SFU to increase international learning opportunities for whom international experiences have traditionally been less accessible – specifically Indigenous students, students from low-income backgrounds and those with disabilities. The award funding, which is for domestic students only, is managed by International Services for Students and is open to SFU’s international study and work opportunities with awards from $1000 to $10,000 for underrepresented students with award selections up to 4 terms in advance. 

Knihniski hopes to use the skills gained in Australia to secure a career in the field of health policy and advocacy, and to critically consider broader society’s health issues upon her return to Canada. 

“EDI IMA has allowed me to focus on my studies and immersing myself in the experience of living in another country.” Knihniski says that the award “has allowed a Canadian Indigenous woman to interact and build relationships with other Indigenous peoples in another country, which is very powerful.”

Gaining a first-hand experience that could not be simulated in a classroom or lab was Megan Duncan’s primary goal of participating in the Bioarchaeology Field School: Life and Death in Medieval Portugal. The program is led by SFU Field School Director Hugo Cardoso, chair of the Department of Archaeology and co-director of the Centre for Forensic Research at SFU. 

Duncan is a Faculty of Science student pursuing a double major in biology and archaeology and participated in the SFU Field School, where she helped excavate a site at Cacala Velha Village in the Algarve region of Portugal. “The site was once occupied by Islamic people, and later by Christians, then abandoned for a long time, so there are layers of history that we can see as we excavate.”

Now that Duncan has returned to Canada, she plans to apply the skills she gained from her international experience to her future career goals. Reflecting on the Global Skills Opportunity funding, she says, “I had enough funds to attend the field school, but only barely, and I would have had to take at least one semester off in 2023 to work and financially recover from the expense of the field school. Getting the EDI IMA means that I don't have to interrupt my schooling, and it also took a huge weight of anxiety off my shoulders, allowing me to focus on making the most of my field school experience.”

Fund your SFU Study AbroadInternational Co-op programs or other eligible SFU program and apply for the EDI IMA for virtual or in-person international learning opportunities. You can apply before or after being approved into your proposed program abroad. The next application deadline is November 15, 2022 (for Spring 2023, Summer 2023, Fall 2023, and Spring 2024 programs).