McMaster enhances global experiences for students

In support of the Global Engagement Strategy, McMaster is enhancing global experiences for students while also providing a clear direction on how to access resources that foster global engagement abroad and at home.

Part of this furthered commitment to global engagement includes bringing on Project Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Nicole Longstaff. Priorities include developing an action plan for the University’s Global Engagement Strategy with the Office of International Affairs with a priority focus on enhancing the coordination and communication of global engagement activities and opportunities throughout our community.

“McMaster aspires to make global engagement in education and knowledge generation an integral part of its identity and presence in Canada and the world,” says Longstaff. “The McMaster community has demonstrated and continues to showcase its commitment to the Global Engagement Strategy. There are many initiatives across campus that foster global citizenship among students, Faculty, staff and administration through institutional participation in global initiatives and many international partnerships we have in support of research, academic excellence and value creation.”

Campus-wide collaboration is a key part of this plan. From October 22 to November 9, 2018, The Office of International Affairs (OIA), in partnership with the Student Success Centre (SSC), the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and the Office of the President is organizing MacGlobal 2018, a showcase of Faculties, research centres, departments and student organizations involved with global engagement activities. “The launch of MacGlobal 2018 is one of several new initiatives at McMaster over the next several years that aim to foster campus-wide opportunities for cross-Faculty dialogue and more interdisciplinary international interactions,” says Longstaff.

Furthering this vision of collaboration, the Student Success Centre has expanded its career and employment portfolio in partnership with the DeGroote School of Business, Engineering Co-op and Career Services, Science Career and Cooperative Education, Experiential Education and the Faculty of Social Sciences. This includes connecting undergraduate and graduate students to global experiences such as working, volunteering, and researching abroad. 

Whether it’s trying to locate an opportunity, determining available funding, or having a consultation about cultural expectations, interested students can meet with the Centre’s new Global Experience Coordinator, Faith Ogunkoya, at any stage of their process.

“Global Experiences have become a necessity in the world that we live in today,” says Ogunkoya. “We must all build the capacity to live, learn, work and operate with a global perspective. Vital to this is the exposure to meaningful experiences. It is very exciting to be part of the shift and focus on developing our students to be global citizens.”

Reflection and making meaning out of an experience will be an important component of all global experiential opportunities offered out of the Student Success Centre. Students will be required to set intentional goals and think critically about their impact and how they can make a difference.   

The Student Success Centre is also pleased to announce their new Global Experience Award (GEA), which aims to promote the value of global engagement and the development of intercultural awareness. Eligible undergraduate and graduate students can receive funding of up to $2,000 for their international adventure. Among the first students to access the GEA was Cherechi Emenogu, a Science and Humanities student who recently attended the African Youth and Governance Conference in Accra, Ghana as one of 13 McMaster delegates.

As Emenogu shares, “African Youth and Governance was a tremendously enriching experience for me. As someone who is interested in making an impact back home it was very valuable and has allowed me to better understand what my role is as part of the diaspora. Ultimately, the conference has connected me to phenomenal individuals who are currently doing great things on the continent and has provided me with access to much greater opportunities, internships and future partnerships.”

All of the McMaster delegates that attended the conference this August will be sharing their new knowledge and experiences in a community brief on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, presented in partnership with the Student Success Centre and Empowerment Squared. Details will be announced in September.

In addition to increasing the mobility of McMaster students, key to the Student Success Centre’s new initiatives is an understanding that global engagement can happen at home. Students attending McMaster will be provided with new opportunities to engage in globally-minded programming throughout the academic year; the Centre will also strengthen the presence of events on-campus, online and in the community that celebrate global citizenship. The University is also working collaboratively with the City of Hamilton’s Global Hamilton Connect to develop and promote programs.

Most recently, McMaster University participated in Hamilton’s first Newcomer Day, where students and community were able to come together, develop connections, and celebrate the diversity of McMaster University and Hamilton. More about this celebration can be found on the Student Success Centre’s Stories From The Arch blog.

For more information about the Student Success Centre’s global programming, visit the Student Success Centre website.

More information on the Global Experience Award can also be found here.

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