Mohawk College adds New Zealand, Italy international study opportunities


Published November 12, 2021 at 6:30 pm

Hamilton’s Mohawk College is aiming to bless a broader range of students with the chance to pursue international learning.

Mohawk announced Friday (Nov. 12) that its students will have access to global learning opportunities in Italy and New Zealand through two new projects, funded by the Government of Canada’s new Global Skills Opportunity (GSO) program. The college has secured over $600,000 in funding that is intended to unlock student potential through global skills and experiences and increasing their intercultural competencies. The opportunity in New Zealand will connect 16 Indigenous students from across the college with Māori scholars and Māori culture.

While open to all Canadian post-secondary students, the GSO program is geared to groups for whom international experiences have traditionally been less accessible. That includes Indigenous students, students from low-income backgrounds and those with disabilities. It also aims to diversify destination countries where Canadian students pursue international learning.

“Mohawk College is proud to have been selected to participate in the Global Skills Opportunity program and to be a part of this first-of-its-kind initiative in Canada,” says Anuraj Bajwa, Mohawk’s dean of international studies and partnerships.

“This program will provide our students with life-changing, transformative intercultural experiences and skills critical to succeed in the global workplace and our faculty with opportunities to further enhance their intercultural teaching competencies and internationalize the curriculum.”

Over the next three years, three cohorts of 15 to 20 students in the Business-General Program, with the support of two professors, will get to study for two weeks at the CUOA Business School in Vicenza, Italy. They will learn about the influence of culture and innovation on business model performance within an intercultural setting.

As well, supported by staff and faculty in the Indigenous Initiatives, Education, and Student Services (IIESS) and the general arts and sciences program, 16 Indigenous students from across the college will experience Māori culture.

For three weeks in 2023, they will be immersed in traditions, thought and practices from Māori culture with Māori scholars, knowledge-keepers and Elders, will visit sites of cultural and historic significance, and participate and share in gatherings and ceremonies. In advance of these trips, participating students will prepare for these transformative experiences from safety and intercultural development perspectives.

Global Skills Opportunity is a national outbound student mobility program that is expected to serve more than 16,000 Canadian students. It is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada and is administered jointly by Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada.

Compared to similar nations, relative few Canadian students — only 3 per cent of college students — participate in work or study abroad experiences during their studies.

“Study and work abroad programs are invaluable learning experiences that ensure students are culturally literate, resilient, adaptable and ready to succeed in an increasingly globalized world,” stated Denise Amyot, president of Colleges and Institutes Canada.

“This is perhaps more important than ever, which is why we are so proud to work with our partners to deliver Global Skills Opportunity. This ground-breaking program will allow more Canadian students to access these opportunities to develop the skills they need to gain a foothold in today’s global marketplace.”

Mohawk College is be one of 54 colleges and institutes participating in the project. Fifty-six universities are involved. In all, 124 GSO-funded projects, in collaboration with international partners in more than 100 countries, will be implemented.

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