Currently 2.5 per cent of the U of S undergraduate student population travels abroad each year, just below the national average of 3.1 per cent. This, despite overwhelmingly positive reports from 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.
Overall, 716 University of Saskatchewan students took part in different study abroad activities last year, with graduate student travel rates generally higher than those of the undergraduate population at seven per cent.
“When our students return home from a study abroad experience, they view the world and themselves differently,” says U of S Director of Enrolment and Student Affairs Alison Pickrell. “Living and learning while immersed in a new culture offers unique benefits that go beyond the classroom and it is our goal to ensure all students are aware of these opportunities and are able to take advantage.”
As a partner in Learning Beyond Borders, the U of S will be working throughout the coming months to identify and address internal barriers to studying abroad and participate in peer discussions with 87 institutions across the country that are tackling similar issues and challenges. The university will also contribute to a national awareness 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,” 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 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.
The Learning Beyond Borders campaign will dovetail with the province’s International Education Strategy, which aims to increase the number of Saskatchewan students studying abroad by 50 per cent through several initiatives.
Established in 1966, CBIE is a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated exclusively to international education.
To learn more about the CBIE partnership or how to get involved in studying abroad (as a faculty or staff member, or a student), contact Pirita Mattola, acting manager of the International Student and Study Abroad Centre or visit goabroad.usask.ca.