Provincial scholarships allow students to see the world

How incredible would it be to spend your semester in a foreign country?

The students of Fanshawe College could have the chance of a lifetime simply by filling out an application.

The Ontario International Education Opportunity Scholarship is enabling over 4,000 Ontario students — including more than 75 from Fanshawe alone — who have already been provided the grant to study abroad since 2007.

“We live in a global community and we work in an increasingly global economy,” said Wendy Curtis, manager of International services at Fanshawe.

“International study opportunities give students the chance to expand their cultural horizons. By studying abroad, students can get a better understanding not only for another country, but also of Canada and of themselves. We encourage Fanshawe students to explore international learning as part of a complete personal and academic education.”

OIEOS scholarships are available in grants of $1,250, which are to be used for a four-to-eight week experience or up to $2,500 for two or more months studying abroad.

Darryl Griffioen, a Fanshawe business student who already received funding through the OIEOS, spent his fall semester at the Hogeschool Zeeland in Vlissingen, the Netherlands.

“I chose to study there for a variety of reasonsthe main one was because of my heritage. My Oma and Opa emigrated from the Netherlands and I wanted to see a bit of where my family came fromI also wanted to learn the language. The school's program and courses I would be involved in were very interesting to me as well,” said Griffioen.

Priority consideration is given to students with disabilities, francophones and aboriginal students, otherwise qualifying for the award is based on demonstrating a financial need. This is very straightforward and most students do qualify given the increased expense of a flight, Curtis mentioned.

Having the opportunity to study abroad broadens one's horizons and allows for growth both intellectually and culturally.

“I believe this experience is especially important because it enables us, as students, to learn more about other cultures and traditions. It makes us more culturally adept which, in the end, benefits everyone. More importantly, for business, it opens doors to putting into practice the different theories we have learned here that apply to business internationally and as well as benefiting local business. It is a great way to meet new people and make lifelong friends. I would challenge every student to experience a semester abroad,” Griffioen stated.

“The scholarship helps us all to think about the world as being that much more accessible and, of course, Fanshawe students have so much to contribute to the world. Our role is to facilitate this knowledge creation and to help students to articulate how finding your way around Tokyo translates into an employee who is a creative problem solver, dependable, adaptable and generally up for a challenge,” added Curtis.

Fanshawe College has been rated an “A” partner in this particular program due to their consistency in using its allotted scholarship money in order to help students gain unforgettable work experience while studying abroad.

Fanshawe students who are interested in applying for OIEOS funding, or who want to explore other exchange opportunities should contact the International services office in E2025.