“Canadian students are not big travellers in comparison to, say, Americans or New Zealanders or Australians, and they don’t even travel that much from province to province,” said Queen’s University principal Daniel Woolf.

About 9 in 10 Canadian students go to university in their home province, and evidence suggests a large proportion choose a school within 20 kilometers of home. Only 12 per cent of undergraduates have an international placement or exchange experience, according to a 2009 survey – reason to fear the experience of many students is too parochial given high demand for the ability to work and think globally.

“If I look across the U.S. universities which are most like ours, it’s more like 20 per cent, or a little higher,” said Herb O’Heron, director of research and policy analysis at the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “When I talk to people in Germany, more like a third of students have [such] an experience.”

"Most universities",
says Dalhousie University president Tom Traves, "have dozens, even hundreds of partnerships with schools abroad, but only a fraction of students take advantage of them, especially early in their studies". Dr. Traves worries that the Canadian public still sees study abroad as frivolous, making student travel a tough political sell. Most trips are funded out of strained university budgets, through in-house fundraising or out of students’ pockets.

To read the full story “University leaders want more Canadians to study abroad” written by James Bradshaw of the Globe and Mail go to: