The federal government is making it easier for students to study abroad, with a $95-million investment in a pilot project that was announced Thursday at St. Clair College.
The Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program is intended to provide government funding over four years to about 11,000 Canadian students who want to work and study in other countries.
Omar Alghabra, parliamentary secretary for the Minister of International Trade and Diversification, briefed college officials and student representatives on the benefits of international studies. “When Canadians study abroad, they gain skills that they may not gain here in Canada,” Alghabra said. “They’ll gain experience that is extremely valuable to them when they come back. And they open up more channels and bridges, for those free trade agreements we have, for those important relationships we have with other countries.”
International education represents an important service export sector for Canada, Alghabra said. Studying abroad will equip young Canadians with the skills they need to enter the modern workforce and to advance Canada’s standing as a high-calibre location in which to study, do research and work.
But young Canadians are less likely to study or travel abroad, Alghabra said at a gathering of staff and students in the college’s Student Life Centre. Statistics show that less than 11 per cent of young Canadians study or work abroad, compared to 33 per cent of students in France and 29 per cent in Germany.
Yet in 2018, more than 720,000 international students at all levels studied in Canada – the largest number ever.
College President Patti France welcomed the Member of Parliament and assured him St. Clair will play a role in helping to foster international studies and help Canada grow its global footprint at educational institutions around the world. Currently, St. Clair College has several Pathway agreements with institutions in Australia, Ireland and the U.S.
“Just as students from all over the world are benefitting from postsecondary education in Canada, domestic students should explore study-abroad opportunities as a means of personal development and as a logical and effective entry-way to their participation in the global economy,” she said.
For more information on International education opportunities, go to https://www.international.gc.ca/education