2020 has been a year of curve balls: a pandemic, shrinking economies, a climate crisis — it can seem like we just can’t catch a break. With the right perspective, these upheavals can be framed as opportunities. At Trinity Western University (TWU), this is the mindset that leads to the creation of recession-proof graduates.
According to Brian Kerr, senior vice president of enrolment and personal and career development at TWU, there are three skills that serve graduates well –resilience, adaptability and selflessness. Resilience helps us get back up after being knocked down, adaptability gives us skills to do things differently when the world changes and selflessness helps us to understand that we have an obligation to others and to the world. The right university education can produce these outcomes — here’s how TWU does it:
A comprehensive broad foundation
TWU’s whole-person education begins with teaching skills to embrace and adapt to change. Through a liberal arts core, TWU students gain the knowledge and skills to see problems from a wide variety of perspectives, to critically examine assumptions about the world, and to look for solutions to problems from a variety of academic perspectives. The liberal arts core within the TWU educational model forms the basis of what many have called 21st century competencies to approach changing environments, including curiosity, leadership, cultural awareness and adaptability.
At TWU, students have the opportunity to learn from several academic disciplines, gaining knowledge that is customizable to their goals. “You might have someone who’s in science take an art elective and having that added to your degree makes you a more well-rounded person,” Kerr explains.
“In a business setting, for example, a liberal arts graduate sees the presenting business problem. They have the ability to think critically about the historic roots of the problem. They are able to consider the psychological and sociological implications of certain courses of action. They possess the communication and interpersonal skills needed to build consensus and navigate complicated political landscapes. They have an appreciation for intercultural considerations and ethical factors and be able to lead their organizations toward multidimensional solutions.”
These interdisciplinary connections equip TWU graduates to be resilient in changing times, ensuring they are able to draw on their core competencies and change directions if their life and career requires it.
Giving back to communities
The purpose of higher education is not solely about earning a degree or producing graduates who can get ahead in their careers at all costs. TWU understands it’s about more than this.
When Kerr was a university student at TWU, he volunteered, making visits to the homeless in downtown Vancouver, some dealing with substance abuse. He made genuine connections and also refined his own perspectives. Kerr gained the inspiration to reprioritize his values while handing out hot chocolate and blankets.
Decades later, students are still volunteering. On Friday nights, TWU students help those in need and shape their own lives in the process.
The skills developed through connecting and supporting others creates graduates who view servant leadership as a way of life, one of TWU’s core values. This value places the welfare of people at the centre of our worldview. For the TWU graduate, business, healthcare, science, leadership, arts, counselling, and philosophy are all focused on making the world a better place for our families, communities and people. This approach has helped TWU become stronger through COVID-19.
When it comes to transitioning into professional life, TWU’s career counsellors are at your service. “Opportunities to engage in travel studies, internships, and real-world projects give students tremendous opportunities to apply their learning outside of the classroom,” Kerr explains.
“We had a student from South Korea that interned with the South Korean embassy in Ottawa and that rolled into a job opportunity in New York City at the United Nations with South Korean delegates. These opportunities are rolling to real-life opportunities.” TWU students have also interned for the Prime Minister of Canada.
To TWU, the transition from education to career is critical and taken very seriously. International students have the option of obtaining career-ready certificates or professional credentials in Accounting, Nursing, Education, TESOL, and Project Management among others either during their degree programmes or immediately upon graduation. TWU’s care for successfully launching graduates into their careers is one of the many reasons why 97% of graduates are satisfied with their education, and why over 90% of graduates would recommend TWU to their friends and family.
A multinational, collaborative campus
TWU’s student body is 50% Canadian and 50% from over 71 countries. From clubs and teams, to group projects, there are various ways to make friends, have meaningful conversations and experience what it’s like to live in a global village. “This provides a rich learning environment and the opportunity to develop personally and professionally as one equipped to face an increasingly international employment landscape,” Kerr says.
It is important to understand the impact of living and learning in a community that cares about student experiences. Recession-proofing your career at TWU begins with developing a network of friends through small classrooms of around 20, building connections with peers and faculty members that will last a lifetime. When things get tough in life, the TWU graduate is never alone.
Diverse natural and cultural environment
Set between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, with vibrant cities and natural wonders, British Columbia is the perfect blend of natural beauty and urban development.
“British Columbia is culturally diverse, making it the perfect place for international students to live and study in. It is very open and accepting of other cultures,” Kerr shares. The low unemployment and diversity of industries in the Vancouver area makes TWU the perfect place to start your education and launch a successful career and life. One of the most important choices the international student makes is the location of their university. Is it close to an international airport? Is it in a rapidly developing trade and technology hub? Is it the ideal place to maintain a career and start a family? Is it one of the most liveable cities in the world? The Vancouver area where TWU is located has it all.
TWU is the perfect destination for students who are looking to gain the skills to become resilient, recession-proof future leaders. Be ready for any and every curve-ball life throws your way, learn more about Trinity Western University here.