A strategic initiative of UTS in our renewed strategic plan is to develop our international partnerships. According to an article in The Globe and Mail, published on November 7th, “Canada should launch an ambitious new program to send college and university students abroad in an effort to prepare tomorrow's workforce to drive trade and economic relations with emerging markets.” Currently only 4% of University of Toronto students undertake study periods abroad. Increasing this number is a top strategic priority for President Meric Gertler and the University of Toronto.
At present, UTS has partnerships with the following schools. All are state schools.
We are currently exploring partnerships with a school in Denmark as well.
In November, students from the Marinelli school in Udine, Italy visited UTS and took part in the Maximum City program while staying in homestays. In March, we hope to send a second group of UTS students to Beijing Experimental, which we visited in March, 2016. Beijing Experimental students took part in our summer programs in July 2017. This past week, a contingent of 12 teachers visited UTS as part of a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) learning program at OISE. In the summer of 2018, we are offering the opportunity for a second group of students to take part in programs at Number Two High School in Shanghai. UTS students visited the school twice last year – in December and in the summer – and took part in programs at the school.
In June 2017, UTS hosted a group of teachers and students from Frankfurt, and UTS students will visit Frankfurt in June 2018 as part of a partnership with the Goethe Institute, UTS, Maximum City and the City of Toronto. The Goethe Institute and Maximum City have provided bursary support for eight students to take part in this trip.
UTS is also considering a Mandarin summer program at Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU). Each year, Harvard offers a summer program at BLCU, the Harvard Academy. I visited the school and spoke to administrators in March 2016. The advantage of this Mandarin learning opportunity is that the University will gear the language learning to the students’ level of proficiency, and the program is an immersion learning opportunity.
Developing an appreciation of the perspectives, cultural norms and languages as well as the social, political and economic landscapes of different countries is critical for UTS students’ future. Becoming socially responsible global citizens capable of cross-cultural learning assists our students in navigating an uncertain future.