Scholarship partnership advances York’s global engagement

Map plane travel international world

By Elaine Smith

York University is among several Canadian institutions helping international students receive the chance to study, or conduct research, thanks to the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) International Scholarships program – for which the application period is now open . The results benefit not just students, but York’s goal to advance global engagement.

A critical component of York’s ongoing commitment to advance global engagement is drawing attention to, and benefiting from, opportunities for promising students abroad like the GAC scholarships, which are designed to assist internationalization efforts by promoting Canada as a top study and research destination.

Through its partnership with GAC, York offers itself as a destination for the scholarship with the aim of contributing to positive change through global co-operation and borderless education. At the same time, it seeks to draw – and benefit – people from around the world wanting to learn from each other and to gain the global fluencies needed to work locally and across borders toward a better future.

My Duong
My Duong

For example, My Doung, a third-year economics student from Vietnam National University, had always wanted to go on an exchange. She looked to the GAC program as an opportunity that – with its range of scholarships – makes it possible for international students to study or conduct research at York University and other Canadian institutions.

Because Vietnam National University is a York partner, the credits Duong earns during her one-term exchange will count toward her degree, allowing her to register for four economics courses at York that will advance her academic journey at home.

“I am grateful for the opportunity,” she said. “As a first-generation student from a developing country, this scholarship has been a cornerstone of my journey, offering me opportunities I never imagined possible.”

During her time, Duong even volunteered with York International’s Global Outreach Program, offering insights about her home university to potential exchange students who may want to also experience the benefits she’s seen. Those benefits have included a deeper knowledge – and passion – for sustainability. Duong plans to pursue a master’s degree in economics and give back to her country using what she learned at York regarding sustainability.

“I am passionate about environmental economics, especially for Vietnam as a developing country. There is a lot we can do and I want to contribute my share,” she said.

Maria Simei
Maria Simei

Maria Simei, a fourth-year languages and literature student from the State University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, enjoyed similar experiences and benefits by spending a term at York University through one of GAC’s scholarships. In her case, York and GAC provided an opportunity for her to go to an English-speaking country for the first time, advancing her global fluency.  

“Being in a really multicultural context is amazing. I’ve never been in a place with people from all over the world and I’ve liked that,” Simei said.

While her credits from York don’t count toward her degree, it’s given her a chance to take courses not offered at home; for example, dance classes and courses like Asian Philosophical Traditions and Health, Storytelling and Media.

“I’m a bit sad that the scholarship is only for one term, because I know there’s a lot more to see,” Simei said. “It has been an amazing experience.”

York International is calling for the community to help more international students benefit from experiences like Duong and Simei’s, thanks to the GAC scholarships. Faculty members who have connections at institutions abroad are encouraged to promote them to their colleagues – especially now, as the application period for 2024-25 GAC scholarships remains open until March 7.

More information is available through York International.