The University of Northern British Columbia has joined the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s (CBIE) Learning Beyond Borders initiative to encourage more Canadian students to take advantage of learning experiences in other countries.
Reports indicate that annually only 3.1 per cent of full-time Canadian undergraduate university students have an education abroad experience. The number is even lower for full-time college students, at 2.5 per cent. This, despite reports from the students on the transformational nature of the experience, its many contributions to their academic and career achievements and its value in enhancing their communication skills, self-awareness and adaptability.
“Many UNBC students take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad. It’s a rewarding experience that exposes our students to different cultures, societies, educational systems, learning techniques and research methodology,” said UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks, in a press release. “This program will help UNBC further develop rich, immersive overseas educational endeavours. I commend the CBIE for their vision in developing and fostering such an innovative program.”
UNBC is involved in both aspects of the initiative: the Learning Abroad Innovation Zone, and the Learning Abroad Promotion Zone.
As a partner in the Learning Abroad Innovation Zone, UNBC commits to identifying and addressing internal barriers to learning abroad and to participating in peer discussions with institutions across the country that are tackling similar issues and challenges. By participating in the Learning Abroad Promotion Zone, UNBC commits to contributing 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 of learning abroad.
“Canada is faced with the challenge of getting more of our students to take advantage of learning experiences in other countries,” said 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 potential approaches to common goals, identify best practices, and disseminate supporting research and case studies as needed. It will also promote the initiative on its website homepage and create a special landing page to showcase all CBIE and institution-created content. CBIE will also regularly share content through its social media and member communications channels.
Established in 1966, the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) is a national, not-for-profit, organization dedicated exclusively to international education. Working closely with a membership of over 150 education providers nationwide, from K-12 to postgraduate, public and private sectors and with a network of strategic partners throughout Canada and around the globe, CBIE is ideally positioned to promote global learning by mobilizing expertise, knowledge, opportunity and leadership.