Global Perspectives – The benefits of studying abroad

Posted on November 13, 2017

Madeleine Horrigan, Comm'18, on exchange in France.
Madeleine Horrigan, Comm'18, on exchange in France.

Kingston, ON – A few years ago, Madeleine Horrigan, keen on a career in business, began searching for a Commerce program to attend. After looking at various universities, she settled on Smith School of Business. A big selling point was Smith’s exchange program, which lets Commerce students spend time overseas.

“I wanted to challenge myself, meet new people, travel, and better understand a culture that is different from my own,” says Madeleine, a fourth-year student who went to SKEMA Business School in France last year.

“During my time in France, I was able to work with business students from over 10 countries around the world,” she recalls.

International opportunity is a key part of the Smith experience. The school sends an incredible 85% of third-year Commerce students on exchange.

A new report finds that such international experiences, and the global perspective they provide, are vital to today’s post-secondary students. Unfortunately, few Canadian students overall go overseas, and Canada lags comparable countries, including the U.S., Australia and European Union, sending students abroad.

Global Education for Canadians” by the Study Group on Global Education finds only one per cent of Canada’s post-secondary students study internationally. The report’s authors are calling for a “dramatic increase” in the number of Canadian university and college students taking part in international study and work experience programs.

“It’s time for Canada to treat international learning as a national priority,” wrote Roland Paris, of the University of Ottawa, and Margaret Biggs, a fellow in public policy at Queen’s University. The two co-chaired the Study Group, which is made up of educational leaders, business and policy experts.

Smith has partnerships with more than 120 business schools in 39 countries. Exchange opportunities are available to every Bachelor of Commerce, Master of International Business, and Queen’s MBA student. Additionally, there are various International opportunities offered across our professional and executive education programs.

“Our programs have been structured to support exchange and to fully integrate it into the program curriculum,” says Angela James, Director of the Centre for International Management at Smith. “It has become the calling card of our school. We are giving students experiential learning, challenging them to go beyond the classroom.”

On exchange, students are required to take a majority of Commerce courses in their school of choice, but are encouraged to experience a new perspective from top business faculty around the world. In addition, they can take arts courses; anything from cultural studies to studying wine.

“Not only do I now have a globally influenced perspective on business and teamwork, and ability to communicate with people from other cultures,” says Madeleine, “I was able to learn a lot about myself in the process.”