Cape Breton University has joined the Canadian Bureau for International Education’s (CBIE) Learning Beyond Borders initiative to get more Canadian students to take advantage of learning experiences in other countries.
While CBU currently has a International Student & Study Abroad Centre dedicated to help students embark on such learning experiences, uptake on the program has been relatively low, which is a pattern across the country. Reports indicate that annually only 3.1% of full-time Canadian undergraduate students have an education abroad experience. The number is even lower for full-time college students, at 2.5%. This is 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.
Dr. Dale Keefe, Interim President of CBU, is a strong supporter of the study abroad experience and says, “The value for students who participate in a learning abroad opportunity are exposed to a quality education experience that helps shape their future careers as well as making friends for life.”
As a partner in Learning Beyond Borders, CBU 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.
“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 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.