Brock International organized an International Mobility Fair with over 100 different partners in an effort to help students learn about the opportunities available to travel abroad, earn academic credit and experience new cultures. The event brought vibrant booths and a growing crowd to Guernsey Market.
International mobility is virtually synonymous with student exchange, a term that is more commonly heard on campus. University international mobility programs are ones that see the students of a university study in a number of other partnered institutions around the world. This type of program can offer an inter-cultural first-hand experience.
At Brock it’s important to highlight that even current international full-time students can still participate in the international mobility program. Approximately 11 per cent of Canadian students go abroad to complete at least one semester of study.
Three of the biggest concerns for students who are looking to study abroad are that language will be a barrier, the cost is too much and that the time it will take to earn their degree will increase.
The manager of International Learning Programs at Brock, Jesse Barraza, addressed these concerns by highlighting a trio of possible solutions. First, there are financial services available to help students with budgeting. Students can access scholarships to offset some of the costs of international mobility; additionally, OSAP may cover some additional tuition fees incurred in studies abroad. There are also a number of language centers that aid students in learning foreign languages for their time abroad. Thirdly, once a Brock student takes part in an exchange, any credits that they receive abroad will be transferred when they return home so that there is no extra time needed to complete their degree.
Students who have gone abroad on international mobility programs in the past tend to discuss their experiences positively, with many returning home with new international friends, more self-confidence and academic credits for courses taken abroad. Some of the typical remarks students make are that the international mobility program “builds confidence” and “forces you out of your comfort zone,” as well as that it “provides an opportunity to make amazing memories” and “the program gives you life skills that prepare you for adulthood in a big way.”
Some students speak highly of their experiences abroad, but others may regret their choice. There is no default experience with international mobility. While Brock International and other groups on campus aim to ensure students have a positive experience, some students do not enjoy their time abroad because of culture shock, isolation and other reasons. Studying abroad is not a choice all students will make, and the mobility fair predominantly targeted those with an existing interest.
Students interested in taking part can reach out to the Brock International department via their website where they can also begin the application process for the Fall 2019/Winter 2020 exchange. The Fall 2019/Winter 2020 application priority deadline is January 14, 2019.