Global Skills Opportunity Program

General Description:  

The Global Skills Opportunity (GSO) program seeks to provide Canadian post-secondary students with international study/work experiences to develop the skills and training needed to participate in a changing labour market. The GSO is designed to widen access and increase equity in outbound student mobility and international learning opportunities. The GSO program is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada and coordinated by Universities Canada. At McGill, the GSO program is administered by McGill Abroad. The GSO program aims to provide funding to equity deserving groups, including members of 2SLGBTQIA+ and racialized communities, Indigenous students, students with disabilities, and low-income students.    

International activities eligible for funding include: 

  • Field Study Courses and Semesters 

  • Internships and research opportunities – unpaid or insufficiently paid 

  • Research Abroad 

  • Academic Exchanges

  • Independent Study Away

There is a minimum duration of one week (excluding travel time). All students that meet the eligibility requirements below can apply for funding up to $5,000. Students belonging to the GSO target student groups i.e. Indigenous students, students with disabilities, and low-income students can apply for funding of (up to) $10,000.  

Eligibility

To be considered for GSO funding, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

  • be an undergraduate student in satisfactory academic standing.

  • Be 18 years of age or older.

  • Have an official record for the international activity participation, either on your transcript or an advance written approval from your faculty.

  • Have proof of successful completion of the international learning activity for after-the –fact verification, either credits on your transcript or an entry on your co-curricular record.

Selection Criteria

While this program is open to all students who meet the above requirements, the purpose of the program is to support students who are underrepresented in international learning experiences, particularly Indigenous students, students with disabilities, and low-income students. Therefore, selection will prioritize students belonging to these groups, and applications will be assessed through both needs- and character-based criteria. Applicants are encouraged to explain how their international learning experience will impact their education and development, as well as the barriers that they are facing. All applicants must plan to return from their international learning experience by March 1, 2025.

When to apply and Decision times

Applications for the GSO will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Students should apply as early as possible and expect a 1 to 2 week processing time. Final assessment will take place when all supporting documents are received. You will be contacted by McGill Abroad by email with a response within the processing delays.

Should you need accommodations or support to completion the application, please contact mcgillabroad [at] mcgill.ca.

How to apply

Step 1: Prepare your application

  • Prepare a budget for your international learning experience, using this provided File GSO application budget template. Write a brief description of your budget, including which aspects are the most challenging. Consider how much funding you would like to request from the GSO program (up to $10,000 for students belonging to GSO target groups, up to $5,000 for other students).

  • Acquire written approval from your faculty confirming that they recognize the international activity.

  • Prepare a brief statement (minimum 250 words) detailing:  

  • Your aspirations for your international learning experience (e.g. where/what you plan to do, what you hope to learn, the skills you want to develop). 

  • Challenges that you face accessing international learning opportunities, their origins, and accommodations that would facilitate your participation. 

Step 2: Fill out the application form

Click here to access the application form.

With the materials above prepared, the application form should take a half-hour to complete.

Step 3: Outcome of application

McGill Abroad will communicate with you via email about the outcome of your application within 1 to 2 weeks. McGill Abroad will schedule an appointment with selected candidates. 

Requirements

Selected students will receive more details about the requirements of the GSO program after selection. Students are required to complete the following :

Before leaving...

  • Complete the McGill Abroad Predeparture Orientation: Pre-Departure Orientation is a mandatory course offered online via MyCourses that covers practical information related to pre-departure preparations, your time abroad, and your return to McGill.   

  • Attend the McGill GSO Predeparture Training Session: Students participating in the GSO program will also attend an in-person predeparture training session.

  • Submit the GSO Predeparture form: Students participating in the GSO are also required to submit the GSO Predeparture form to Universities Canada through the GSO Hub portal.  

And upon return... 

  • Submit a brief McGill Post-experience Report. 

  • Submit a GSO Post-experience report: Student participants are required to complete a post-experience report through Universities Canada’s online portal. This report must be completed within four weeks of completing their experience. Students will also be required to participate in program evaluations by Universities Canada, which may include surveys, interviews and case studies, among other activities. 

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