Learning Abroad is the University of Toronto’s latest initiative to help students gain the many fruits of studying or travelling abroad, regardless of their financial status.
In addition to increasing funding so cost becomes less of a barrier for students, the Canadian university’s Centre for International Experience launched the new website to make it easier to search for international opportunities, answer FAQs and publish student stories.
Associate vice-president and vice-provost of international student experience Joseph Wong said: “We know that one of the main constraints for students taking international learning experience is financial.”
“We as a university are committed to ensuring that international learning experiences aren’t just for those with means.”
On the website, students can see the options available in each country as marked on a revolving globe. These can be filtered to be more specific according to options like “Short-term experiences,” “Summer,” “Fall/Winter/Year-Long” and “Graduate”.
Under the Summer option, the website lists a range of summer schools, research and other opportunities abroad according to country, area of study, language spoken, credits earned, etc. For example, one of the listed opportunities is for a 3-6 month research internship at France’s elite École Polytechnique (l’X), a partner institution. Information such as credit equivalency, on-campus housing, eligibility requirements, internal and external scholarships etc, is stated on the site too.
Personal accounts by students, who have travelled to every continent but Antarctica, are also available on the site.
Funding for students with financial need to study abroad has been doubled for this year. For 2018/19, the university aims to provide CA$2 million in support, to be increased to CA$3 million annually by 2012/22 so that 30 percent of its undergraduate students can have an international experience by the time they graduate, up from 20 percent now.
Each International Experience Award will be valued at an average of CA$2,500 (though students can qualify for more) and will be granted based on need, the length of one’s stay, airfare and destination.
Most student’s application for funding for an academic trip abroad gets approved, according to senior director of global learning opportunities and international student success Katherine Beaumont.
She said: “What I want to reduce is the number of times we hear in the U of T community, ‘Oh I wish I’d known about that.”