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Sharing international experiences

Queen’s is looking for students to share their learning experiences abroad as part of a new government campaign.

International education in Canada (2016 CBIE statistics)
● Seven in 10 mobile students agree that their experience abroad influenced their career choice
● France is the most common destination for Canadian students headed abroad, attracting 14 per cent. The U.K. came second with nine per cent, and the US with eight.
● Eighty percent of students report financial barriers as the biggest challenge to heading abroad during their studies.
● Business is the top field of study for outbound students, followed by engineering.

Whether it’s a short trip or a semester abroad, the Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE) wants to hear from students about how their learning took them beyond borders.

The government-funded group, of which Queen’s is a member, has launched a new social media campaign encouraging students to talk about their international learning experiences. The goal of #LearningAbroad is to persuade students to talk about what they are learning during their trips, and to share best practices among member organizations.

To date, over 791 social media stories and images have been posted and shared as part of the campaign.

“We know international learning opportunities are enriching both for the students personally and for their careers,” says Laura Esford, International Programs Manager. “For students who haven’t yet spent time learning abroad, hearing from another student about their experience can become a point of entry for that student.”

According to CBIE’s research, the main ways institutions share information about international opportunities include brochures and web pages, but these methods tend to only reach students who are already interested in studying abroad. This is why CBIE aims to tap into the enthusiasm and expertise of students who are participating and remind them about the importance of talking about their trips online.

Queen’s has a significant number of students participating in international learning opportunities each year. For example, Engineering students often participate in short-term international internships, while many Commerce program students participate in a term abroad during their third-year studies. Lexie Wright (Artsci’19) chose to spend a few months in Taiwan as part of her Linguistics degree, and says it is among the best decisions she has ever made.

Lexie Wright (Artsci'19) took a trip to Taiwan as part of her Linguistics degree, seeing sights such as the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. (Supplied Photo)
Lexie Wright (Artsci'19) took a trip to Taiwan as part of her Linguistics degree, seeing sights such as the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. (Supplied Photo)

“From the beautiful temples scattered across the island to the crystal clear waters of Sun Moon Lake to the generosity of the locals, studying internationally has taught me the importance of breaking free from the constricting walls of comfort zones and narrow-mindedness in pursuit of happiness and understanding,” she says. “My experience abroad has allowed me to reach previously undiscovered goals, along with a new level of self-understanding and the specific type of confidence that only comes with successfully ordering a cup of coffee in Mandarin with no mistakes for the first time. I know that the values I have developed will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

In the coming days, the International Programs Office (IPO) team will be reaching out to equip the Faculties and the students with the information they need to feed into CBIE’s campaign.

To learn more about the #LearningAbroad campaign, visit CBIE’s website.

To learn more about International Education Week at Queen’s, which takes place Mon Nov 13 to Fri Nov 17, visit the Queen’s University International Centre’s website.

Infographic supplied by Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE)
Infographic supplied by Canadian Bureau for International Education. For an accessible version, or to download a copy, visit CBIE's website.