Global Partners Institute (Canada) is a pioneer in international education, having offered high-quality intercultural exchange and immersion programs since 1992. At the time of the Institute’s inception, “international education” largely meant traveling abroad and spending time physically immersed in a language and a culture that was not one’s own. Physical presence in and exposure to “foreign” cultural and linguistic surroundings, in other words, was understood as both the primary goal and the ideal manifestation of “international education.”
The world, however, has changed. Advances in internet technology, the accessibility of air travel, and the ubiquity of social media has done much to reduce the distance that required bridging in earlier moments, making exposure to unfamiliar cultural and linguistic surroundings a much more commonplace occurrence. As a leader in its field, Global Partners Institute aims to respond to these new realities by reevaluating what is meant by “international education,” and to facilitate programming that understands international education not as an end in itself, but rather as a means to an end.
As a registered Canadian not-for-profit organization, Global Partners Institute is committed to the promotion and facilitation of individual discovery, local engagement, and global stewardship. The Institute considers these to be the true ‘ends’ of “international education,” and aims to foster these interconnected goals and attributes among all participants in its programs in the following ways:
The experience of living and studying abroad, or of hosting a student from a linguistic and cultural milieu that is not one’s own, can trigger a reassessment of one’s own assumptions of the world. By placing motivated international students in local schools and with engaged Canadian families, under the support and guidance of professional Regional Management staff, Global Partners Institute strives to provide a context in which both student and host can engage in journeys of individual (yet collaborative) discovery. Through the provision of host family training, language instruction, and other measures, our Institute takes an active role in facilitating this engagement.
Through the experience of living and learning in local communities, participants on Institute programs will become aware of issues, challenges, and civic engagements unfolding in those communities, and will have the opportunity to participate in local responses thereto. Global Partners Institute’s professional Regional Management staff act as intermediaries, identifying opportunities and encouraging program participants to participate therein. Such opportunities may include support initiatives for the disadvantaged, local waterway and woodland cleanup efforts, youth outreach, and so on.
By partnering with like-minded organizations in communities across Canada, Global Partners Institute is committed to providing opportunities for participants on our programs to begin thinking about ways to respond to global challenges, including climate change, energy development, humanitarian issues, and so on. In this way, our Institute fulfills the promise of its name: Global Partners.