About International Education


Globe and greetings Our world continues to become increasingly interdependent. The environmental, social and economic challenges that we face are often global in scope and require collaborative solutions involving governments, businesses and organizations around the world. The well being of our society therefore depends on our ability to create and maintain positive relations with individuals, governments, business associations, community groups and academic institutions abroad.  In this context, it is increasingly important that Albertans are aware of global dynamics and can communicate effectively across cultures. Students can acquire this knowledge and develop these skills through international education initiatives.

What is International Education?

The term "international education" includes all educational initiatives that aim to build intercultural competency, knowledge of the international community and a sense of global citizenship amongst students and education professionals. Some well known initiatives are student exchanges, teacher exchanges, school twinnings and second language learning programs. However, the term broadly refers to any initiatives that promote:

  • cross-cultural dialogue
  • second language learning (at home or abroad)
  • exposure to and discussion of international issues
  • informed and responsible global citizenship and active involvement in international issues

What are the benefits?

The benefits of international education initiatives go beyond the personal growth and skills obtained by individual participants. These initiatives also have positive cultural, political, academic and economic impacts on our society.

Cultural By learning about different cultures and languages, Albertans not only develop a better sense of cultural understanding, they also gain greater insight into their own culture and way of life.
Political  Alberta's and Canada's ability to engage effectively with the international community and exert positive influence in world affairs requires knowledge about the culture, conditions and aspirations of citizens in other countries.
Academic School-based international education initiatives expose students to social and cultural differences, new educational methods and systems, and unique global perspectives. They also allow students that are studying a second or third language to interact with native speakers.
Economic International education initiatives are critical in today's economy. They contribute to the development of an internationally and interculturally competent labour force within Alberta. In addition, the cross-border relationships that are formed during a student exchange, for instance, are sometimes life long relationships that may become the foundation of future economic transactions or business collaborations