Study abroad broadens perspectives

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By: 
s2kim

“I always take every opportunity to see the world and learn as much as I can. Last year, as a student at RRU, I got the chance to go on an exchange program and I chose Austria. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.” – Adeline, Bachelor of International Hotel Management

In August 2019, the Government of Canada introduced its new International Education Strategy, with a key tenet of encouraging more study abroad opportunities to help students gain skills and connections to compete in a global marketplace.

The strategy’s five-year Outward Mobility Program, jointly administered by Universities Canada, provides funding to increase the go abroad participation rates of Canadian university students – currently at 11 per cent, versus France, Germany, Australia and United States at 33, 29, 19 and 16 per cent, respectively.

“Study abroad changes lives. Canada’s universities look forward to working with our partners in government and the higher education sector to enable more students, from all backgrounds, to participate in global mobility experiences,” Paul Davidson, President of Universities Canada, said in a press release.

At Royal Roads, the active development of institutional partnerships around the globe includes short-term study abroad, student exchange and field trips to create internationalization opportunities for the university community. Current study abroad partnering institution locations include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Vietnam.

“We have 35-plus active study abroad partners in 16 different countries,” said Soojin Kim, Royal Roads’ coordinator of international partnership & mobility. “We welcome 30 to 40 students from partners around the world every year, and there has been a 300% increase in students applying to study abroad—a figure that includes undergraduate and graduate level, on-campus and blended program participation.”

“We see real transformations and maturing in students’ views and ideas,” said Eugene Thomlinson, program head for Royal Roads’ Bachelor of Arts in Global Tourism Management. “They seem to come back with much broader perspectives on the world from their experiences. Some choose to learn a new language while they are away. All of them come back with much more confidence in their abilities.

Royal Roads continues to pursue study abroad opportunities in alignment with the new International Education Strategy. The university recently joined University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) to create two-way student exchange opportunities with post-secondary institutions in an additional 35 countries and increase brand awareness of RRU in those countries.

“The positive impact of study abroad cannot be overstated,” said Tasha Welch, Royal Roads' director of international collaboration and development. “We will continue to pursue innovative approaches with the goal of encouraging students to go abroad to experience an exchange of cultures, new ideas and a global outlook.”