Most, if not all, of us would have heard of student exchange programs that offer a great opportunity for participants to gain knowledge and practical training in a different land and also enjoy that country’s history and culture on a first-hand basis. Typically, such an exchange program is for less than one year and different from pursuing a degree overseas, wherein the participant is referred to as an international student.
There are short-term programs (a few weeks) covering basic activities such as development of language skills in a local environment, cultural events, community work, etc. and long-term programs (a few months up to a year) that offer the chance for a participant to go to high school in the host country. In addition, there are opportunities available for people interested in traveling and working overseas.
There are funding programs available in Canada to assist such people who are interested in traveling overseas to study or work. We’ll look at a couple of them below (I’ve also included some lesser-known funding programs meant for opportunities within Canada).
International Experience Canada
International Experience Canada is an arm of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada that covers the travel and work overseas program. The initiative assists Canadians going overseas and non-Canadians coming to Canada through reciprocal arrangements including visas and temporary work permits with many countries.
International Experience Canada can help to obtain information about Working Holiday, Young Professionals International Work Experience, or International Co-op (Internship) Placement. They also assist in providing information on work visas and recognized organizations to contact for travel arrangements and job searches.
Whether one is interested in teaching English or working as a bartender in an exotic land, as long as the individual is between 18 – 35 (note: some countries limit the age to 29 or 30), they are eligible to use this service for their next adventure. The Select a Destination Country page offers additional details and applications for the available countries.
International Academic Mobility (IAM) Initiative
This initiative facilitates international education and exchange partnerships for Canadians through the Program for North American Mobility in Higher Education and Canada-European Union (EU) Program for Co-operation in Higher Education, Training and Youth by offering funding in collaboration with foreign government partners.
The North American Program aims to improve the readiness of students to work in a global economy by fostering partnerships with post-secondary institutions in Canada, US and Mexico. The Canada – European Union Program for Cooperation in Higher Education,Training and Youth provides funding that seeks to achieve the same but through transatlantic educational institution partnerships between Canada and Europe.
In addition to the funding offered for overseas study and work, there are a few lesser-known programs that apply to opportunities within Canada. More details about the Apprentice Incentive Grant (AIG), Interprovincial Labour Mobility Initiative (ILMI), Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities (OF), and Work-Sharing (WS) can be found at this HRSDC page.
The France-Canada Academic Cooperation page may be another worth visiting. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has an extensive database that can be searched for international exchange agreements and another similar one for projects in international development. The AUCC has also been serving as the facilitating body for numerous corporate scholarships for higher education. Funding opportunities for academicians can be found at this scholarships page.
Do you know of more funding programs that students and workers going overseas or pursuing similar interests in Canada can take advantage of? If so, please list them in the comments.
About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.