Students eager for international learning opportunities

This summer, nearly 150 Western students will expand their perspectives and hone new skills while travelling abroad on international learning experiences, as part of programs coordinated through Western International and various Faculties.

In addition to engineering-focused internships offered in Cuba and Western Heads East internships in Kenya, students on faculty-led trips are travelling to Scandinavia, Tuscany, Spain, Italy and Rwanda in May and June, to immerse themselves in language, culture, history and improve their global awareness and cross-cultural skills. Other students are participating in international internships, and research placements around the world this summer, as well.

"This experience was the fastest two weeks of my life but I would sign up in a heartbeat if I had the chance to do it again," said Bridget Koza, a third-year student in the School for Advanced Studies in Arts & Humanities (SASAH) and Visual Arts who participated in Summer in Seville, a linguistics course abroad led by Olga Tararova, Faculty of Arts & Humanities.

"I was truly challenged while being immersed in a language and culture different from my own and I feel that this experience has made me more confident and skillful in academia and overall as a person. You can't go wrong in visiting Sevilla - the history, the food, the dancing, the excursions - everything was absolutely worth it."

With the easing of some travel restrictions related to COVID-19 allowing for outbound programs to resume, students who have waited for opportunities to go abroad have been eager to participate.

“We are thrilled to have Western students engaging with these programs and with people from around the world this summer. Western is committed to providing more students with opportunities to engage with international learning experiences,” said Eunjung Riauka, the new Director of International Learning at Western.

“Adding an international program is a great way for students to learn about different world perspectives, gain some important skills for their future careers and learn about themselves. We live in a global world and intercultural communications and knowledge will continue to grow in importance.”

With more than more than 170 learning programs in over 40 countries, there are many different options and a range of costs associated with the various programs, which can vary from just a few weeks to a full year abroad. Students should consider their individual interests, goals and priorities when making their decision. Students can explore programs, eligibility, application information and deadlines at and on Atlas, Western’s international experience database.

“As travel resumes, we are committed to providing support and ensuring students’ safety. Our team of International Learning Coordinators is available to help answer questions and guide individual students in their quest to find the international learning experience that’s the right fit for them,” said Riauka.

Maddie Morrow, a fourth-year student in Health Sciences, recently participated in the Aging Globally: Lessons from Scandinavia course, which culminates in a 10-day trip where students travel to three Scandinavian countries: Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

“I have been interested in Aging Globally since my second year of Health Studies at Western. At the time I was interested in completing an honours specialization in health and aging, and I knew that participation in this international learning experience would be a unique asset. This experience has meant more to me than I could ever put into words,” she said.

“Academically, I have gained hands-on experience learning from partner organizations about successful, unique, and innovative health technologies; professionally, I was able to network with professors from Western, and representatives from various city halls, the UN City, and Sweden’s National Board of Health; personally, I have made deep connections with classmates, professors and peers from universities in Norway, Sweden, Greece, Italy, and Switzerland,” said Morrow.

“I would recommend this to any student who is considering it. Before, during and after the trip, I was supported in every avenue - financially, mentally, and physically. Words will never encapsulate the greatness of this experience.“

See some of our Instagram Takeovers from students abroad!