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Algoma University Students Take Their Learning International

Study Abroad program provides immersive educational experience for CESD and Visual Arts students 

(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – February 22, 2023): Nine Algoma University students recently returned from an eight-day international experience in Bogota, Colombia, where they worked directly with Indigenous, Afro-descendant, rural, women’s, and other conflict-affected groups. This trip, in association with the Institute for Territories, Peoples and Peace (IPTP), was delivered as part of a decolonial educational strategy being advanced by Algoma University which currently includes efforts in Canada, Colombia, and Bolivia. 

Many partner universities and organizations in Colombia, with whom Algoma University is currently developing or updating institutional agreements, were also involved in hosting and/or the co-development of academic and non-academic programming for the trip. Through this immersive experience, students earned academic credit for an upper-year course in  Community Economic and Social Development (CESD) or Visual Arts.

Student mobility is a foundational pillar of Algoma University’s Internationalization strategy, as we know that students who participate in international learning experiences gain invaluable skills, networks, and intercultural competencies. International learning is often a transformational experience, as students learn to communicate across different languages and cultures, tolerate ambiguity, and build self-confidence as they navigate new environments.

This experience was made possible through Global Skills Opportunity (GSO), the Government of Canada’s national outbound student mobility pilot program, which aims to empower post-secondary institutions to increase the participation of Canadians in international learning opportunities. The program has a focus on students with disabilities, Indigenous students and those from low socio-economic backgrounds who have traditionally faced barriers to participation in similar programs. Global Skills Opportunity is an integral component of the Government of Canada’s International Education Strategy and is administered jointly by Universities Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada. 

For more information about International Learning, please visit the Algoma University website

For more information about Global Skills Opportunity, please visit GSO website.

For a full list of educational partners visit this link


“The experience I had in Colombia is one that I will never forget. I was able to obtain a deeper knowledge of the people as a whole by interacting with them and seeing their rich culture and vivid history. It was an honour to experience the depth of feelings and affection that they had to offer and to observe how they connect with members of their community. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate and will undoubtedly return to offer my support.”

  • Alicia James, a third-year Social Work student

“This experience brought Indigenous and Afrodiasporic peoples, women and gender diverse groups, peace movements and activists together with educators, staff and students from Algoma, also from diverse backgrounds and histories. The course centred on the work and realities of peoples and organizations dedicated to peace-building and the defence of communities lands and ancestral territories affected by colonialism, war and development. The course emphasized the subjectivities and active role of all participants, as well the vast potential for addressing determinants of conflict via education, advocacy and the arts. It was a deeply meaningful educational and life experience that shifted perspectives and fostered new reference points and relationships. The course emphasized the critical importance of intercultural unity for peace-building, decolonization, and environmental defence as well as the pivotal role being played by land-based peoples to defend future generations and transform our worlds for the better.”

  • Associate Professor Dr. Sheila Gruner, Academic Lead

“The world is rapidly changing and is increasingly interconnected. These sorts of international learning experiences require students to practice skills such as creativity, flexibility, adaptability, problem-solving, communication, and intercultural communication. The challenges of today and tomorrow require the application of these skills across borders and cultures.”

  • Dawn White, Director, Experiential Learning and International Affairs

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