UNBC is hoping to send more students around the world to better their post-secondary education in and out of the classroom.
The university has joined forces with the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and Vice-Provost of Student Recruitment Dr. Bill Owen says the partnership is focused on breaking barriers.
“There’s lots of value in studying abroad that goes beyond the academic classroom and really enriches a student’s experience at university.”
According to the CBIE, only 2.5% of full-time college students in Canada annually have endured another culture while working towards their degrees.
While there are a number of students taking advantage of these experiences, Dr. Owen believes there’s more that can be done to help.
“It’s really about how do we rethink what we’re doing with our current study-abroad programs in order to support students and address those financial and other barriers that students may have.”
Currently, 60 UNBC students are studying in 12 different countries around the world and in order to get more involved, the school needs to develop a better idea of what those specific barriers are.
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Dr. Owen says that’s phase one of the Learning Beyond Borders Initiative.
“It’s really about studying and understanding; is it that it’s going to take them extra time to do their degree? Is it a financial barrier? Once we get a complete picture, then we’ll be better able to address how we can support students in the future.”
On a national scale, just 3.1% of full-time Canadian undergraduate students have an education abroad experience yearly.