Finances a barrier to college students’ global aspirations

Earlier this year, Ankita Rastogi, a computer systems technology student at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon, travelled outside her comfort zone to Mexico City as part of an international internship sponsored by the Bank of Nova Scotia and Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).

Ms. Rastogi was one of two college students in Canada selected to spend four months learning Spanish, living with a host family in Mexico City and working at Scotiabank’s Digital Factories as a front-end developer – but at first she didn’t even want to apply.

“I was confused whether I should do it or not because I was leaving my family and what I knew,” says the 20-year-old. “ But I understand that employers are looking for people like me who have this type of experience, who know how industry works and have technical knowledge as well.”

And she is right. Studies show that employers are looking for global experience, and that Canada’s economy would benefit from more students going abroad, but according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), only 1.1 per cent of full-time college students study abroad annually, and the biggest barrier remains financial.

Ms. Rastogi was one of two college students in Canada selected to spend four months learning Spanish, living with a host family in Mexico City and working at Scotiabank’s Digital Factories as a front-end developer – but at first she didn’t even want to apply.

“I was confused whether I should do it or not because I was leaving my family and what I knew,” says the 20-year-old. “ But I understand that employers are looking for people like me who have this type of experience, who know how industry works and have technical knowledge as well.”

And she is right. Studies show that employers are looking for global experience, and that Canada’s economy would benefit from more students going abroad, but according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), only 1.1 per cent of full-time college students study abroad annually, and the biggest barrier remains financial.

To continue reading: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/education/article-finances-a-barrier-to-students-global-aspirations/