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International Education Week

By: Danielle Owens

During the week of November 12, Seneca recognizes and celebrates International Education Week along with hundreds of countries around the world. We celebrate not only those students who join us at Seneca from other countries, but also promote the opportunities and programs available for all Seneca students to study abroad.

International Education Week provides an opportunity to showcase the rich variety of innovative programs and activities that expose students to an international dimension; enriching their learning and preparing them for global citizenship (International Education Week 2012).

Not all students are given the opportunity to study abroad while attending a post-secondary institution. While many students overlook the benefits of studying abroad, the outcome can be extremely rewarding and life changing. Here at Seneca we take great pride in our study abroad program, encouraging and supporting the chance for students to further their education, as well as to adapt to a culture which may be foreign to them. The range of advantages varies from student to student, but two things are present; personal growth and awareness of a different culture. As international education continues to grow, with predictions of it increasing from 4.1 million in 2012 to 7.2 million by 2025, it is evident that such an opportunity can provide a tremendous and life changing experience for all students (Humphrise, Knight-Grofe, and McDine).

Studying abroad unquestionably challenges students on a personal level. Students develop greater self-confidence, independence, and self-reliance. Learning to live in a foreign country, with different rules, languages, and traditions gives students the chance to learn, and to gain a much greater understanding of the world and provide them with a greater appreciation for their value systems and for a lifestyle that they may have taken for granted.

Current Seneca student, Michelle Tjok Joe, has embraced her study abroad experience and everything that has come with it. As an exchange student from Belgium, Michelle has learned a great deal about Canadian culture and traditions. 

“Toronto is a very multicultural environment and this is my best experience from studying abroad," said Michelle. "All of my new friends come from different places all over the world; it is very wonderful to hear stories about their home countries.”

Just like Michelle, many other students at Seneca, have embarked on a new chapter of their lives and have seen a part of the world they may never have gotten the chance to see. Not only are these international students learning about the culture here in Canada, but they are providing Canadian students with the chance to learn a bit more about their homeland, cultural heritage and background. Studying abroad benefits the learning experience of not only the international student, but also those students around them.

From November 13 to 15, Seneca will celebrate international education in all its forms. We recognize those 3,500 international students who have trusted Seneca for their post-secondary education journey, as well as support those students who wish to begin their journey into the unknown.

A recent study released by The Canadian Bureau for International Education states that “despite the benefits of study abroad at the individual and national levels, Canada’s participation rate of 3% is significantly lower than that of other countries” (Humphrise, Knight-Grofe, and McDine). Seneca has great hopes that this number will increase in upcoming years when more students actively participate in study abroad programs because they recognize the value having a global perspective of their field of study.

International Education Week allows us to learn from one another and dream about the possibilities that await. From the words of Belgium exchange student Annelore Stroo, “I would recommend everyone to take this opportunity. It is something that you can only do when you are young. This is an experience that you will never forget.”

Visit our Study Abroad booth located in the Minkler Atrium from November 13 to 15 between 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for information on Study Abroad and Global Edge.

Works Cited
Humphrise, Jennifer, Janine Knight-Grofe, and David McDine. Canadian Bureau for International Education. Publication. CBIE, 5 Nov. 2012. Web. 06 Nov. 2012. <http://www.cbie-bcei.ca/?p=9985>.

"International Education Week 2012." International Education Week 2012. Department of Education United States of America, n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2012. <http://iew.state.gov/>.