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Highlighting the benefits of an international education

[Students attend a workshop at QUIC]
Students attend a workshop at Queen's University International Centre (QUIC).

Every year, International Education Week brings together institutions, educators, and students from around the world to showcase the many benefits of an international education, including enhancing students’ global perspectives and broadening their academic experience.   

This year, Student Academic Success Service (SASS) and the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) celebrated International Education Week (Nov.18-22) by launching a collaborative social media campaign designed to highlight the strengths that students who have studied abroad bring to Queen’s.

Students were asked to answer a series of questions about their prior educational experience, what they’ve excelled at while studying at Queen’s, and how they value their international education. In their responses, which were featured on SASS’s and QUIC’s Facebook and Instagram pages, the four students profiled emphasized the value of international education and how it cultivates adaptability, encourages an understanding of diverse perspectives, and enhances openness to learning.

Another benefit the students highlighted was the ability to understand the way that cultural context can influence academic study.

“From my perspective, international education is the nexus of problems and solutions that arise when one tries to understand a specific research question in a cultural and historical context,” says Flavio Martins, a master’s student in Mechanical Engineering. “My work on clean energy resources in Canada has different consequences when compared to, for example, work on the same topic in the Netherlands, where this field of research is well developed. Study of the same topic in a developing country in which this technology is in its initial implementation stage and limited by socioeconomic issues, meanwhile, might have a different significance. International perspectives and interdisciplinarity helps students to develop different perspectives on the same topic.”

Positive experiences

The posts received a high level of engagement, with students sharing positive reactions and embracing the message that diverse educational experiences lead to success in Canadian universities.

“Students come to Queen’s from all around the world, bringing incredible academic skills and knowledge that enrich our campus,” says Agnieszka Herra, Intercultural Academic Support Coordinator at SASS and QUIC. “This International Education Week campaign allowed the Queen’s community to hear directly from the students about the benefits of having educational experiences in various parts of the world. We hope to encourage conversations and bring awareness to the value of international education.”

The SASS and QUIC International Education Week campaign is part of an effort across campus to highlight the strengths of students from all backgrounds. The campaign spans online resources and reinvented workshops, and dovetails with efforts to highlight the voices of students from intercultural contexts and amplify the strengths they bring to their studies at Queen’s.