StFX and the Maple League institutions to provide an international opportunity for Indigenous students in Belize

StFX and the Maple League of institutions (Acadia University, Mount Allison University, and Bishop’s University) have been awarded a Global Skills Opportunity grant of $800,000 to develop and launch a program for Indigenous students to participate in an international experience together. The program known as “Nation to Nation: Building Indigenous Knowledge Across International Borders” will see 60 students from the four institutions travel to Belize to learn of the Indigenous experience there through a comparative framework of lived and historical experience.

Collaborating with Galen University in Belize, students will learn about language preservation, Indigenous governance, the environment, land rights, Indigenous innovations, and cultural heritage through food and education. The immersive learning journey will see participants meet with the local community, guest speakers, and visit important sites to learn more about the experience of the Yucatec, Mopan, Garifuna, and K’eckchi people. The students will be accompanied by a faculty member and an Elder to support their learning and understanding.

Global Skills Opportunity is a national outbound student mobility program that is expected to enable more than 16,000 Canadian college and undergraduate-level university students from across the country to acquire the global skills employers want and the Canadian economy needs. A key component of the Government of Canada’s International Education Strategy, Global Skills Opportunity is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada and is administered jointly by Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada.

The program will fund the costs for students to participate in the two week course taking place in May 2022 and is eligible for course credit. A pre-departure orientation that will bring together the students from all four institutions will take place in March 2022 over a weekend. Indigenous students are encouraged to connect with the Office of Internationalization for more information on the opportunity and how to apply. Applications will be accepted December 5, 2021 to January 7, 2022.

Larissa Strong, Director of Internationalization at StFX shares “This project will be some of the most dynamic work we will do in education abroad in our institutions. It is a meaningful contribution to reconciliation and provides an opportunity to critically reflect on and decolonize the long held understandings of students learning internationally. It will also allow the Maple League to build a robust platform for future education abroad activities with effective risk management and the intentional development of intercultural competencies.”