Student Life
About Beyond Borders
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About Beyond Borders
“The Beyond Borders program provides an opportunity for students to have a perspective-shifting encounter with new people, vibrant cultures, and with themselves.”


Beyond Borders is an academically centered international service-learning experience at St. Jerome’s University. The program consists of academic coursework, a local volunteer placement in Kitchener-Waterloo, and a 90-day placement with a grassroots development organization abroad. Beyond Borders is the capstone experience in international service learning that takes upper year students out of their comfort zone and into the world. Students can use their Beyond Borders international volunteer placement as a co-op work term or as their international experience for the Global Experience Certificate.


The Beyond Borders program started in 2005 as collaboration with Intercordia, Canada’s international experience program.  In addition to the pre-departure and reintegration seminars run by Intercordia staff, St. Jerome’s University allowed students to obtain three academic credits by taking specialized academic programs and a field studies credit for their time on their international placement.


In 2007-2008 Beyond Borders engaged World University Service of Canada to offer international placements. In 2009 St. Jerome’s University began a focused effort to establish direct relationships with non-profit organizations engaged in projects related to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.


To date we have established relations with partners in Ukraine, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Haiti, Brazil, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Uganda, and Kenya.  Each of these partnerships has been assessed and formed through face-to-face relationship building. 


Since its inception, the Beyond Borders program at St. Jerome's University has supported over 150 students through their placements in countries all over the globe.

Student Outcomes
  • Deconstruct existing perceptions and reconstruct a more flexible way of approaching world issues;
  • Build on knowledge of the causes of injustice, inequality, and suffering around the world;
  • Examine the effects of globalization on the world’s oppressed peoples through topics such as gender, class, health, economy, policy and power;
  • Develop team-work and collaboration skills;
  • Foster critical approaches to travel experiences that mitigate negative impact on communities abroad;
  • Develop self-awareness and strengthen leadership skills;
  • Experience volunteering in local community placements which can lead to a stronger connection within students’ local communities;
  • Gain insight into the connections between local and international development issues;
  • Gain academic credit for pre-departure coursework.


  • Develop critical thinking and reflective thinking skills in practice;
  • Grow in professional development areas provided through work placement;
  • Gain an in-depth insight into a new culture and way of living;
  • Opportunity to gain credit for experiential learning related to specific fields of academic study (ie. PACS field study, research projects, directed studies course, etc.).


For co-op students: If the applicant is a co-op student, the 90-day placement can be counted as a co-op position.


For students pursuing the Global Experience Certificate: this program satisfies the travel requirement of the GEC.


  • Explore methods for integrating and sharing lessons learned abroad within the Canadian context;
  • Contribute to the University community’s development in understanding social justice and development practice by participating in talks and conferences;
  • Develop additional leadership qualities through participating in the Outreach Programs Ambassador program
Program Overview
Fall 2018 Winter 2019 Spring 2019 Fall 2019
  • Orientation Retreat (Dec)
  • Beyond Borders Course (RS 383);
  • Local volunteering (approx. three hours/week);
  • Reading Week Retreat (Feb);
  • Pre-Departure Retreat (April);
  • Optional fundraising activities.
  • 90 day International Placement
  • Reintegration Retreat (Sept)
This structure may be updated for the upcoming 2018-2019 Cohort. Keep checking back for updates.
Requirements and Cost
Ideal Beyond Borders candidates are students who are looking to engage with an opportunity to learn through experience. In the program, students will be pushed outside of their academic and experiential comfort zones. We are looking for someone who is willing to have their ideas of social-justice issues challenged. Beyond Borders students are motivated to question why they think the way they do about a range of issues. Furthermore, upon experiencing these challenges, ideal candidates would be open to creating a more malleable perspective through which to experience world issues.
Students must be at least 19 years of age upon departure for their placement.
  • Participants must be a full-time undergraduate student (they do not have to be St. Jerome’s University enrolled)
  • Participants must maintain a minimum of a good academic standing (or receive approval otherwise)
  • Participants must have a valid passport that expires no sooner than 6 months after they would return from placement.
Overall, the program costs between $8,000 - $9,000 (dependent on the placement). St. Jerome’s University assists in subsidizing this program cost so that students are responsible for $4,000 of the total. 
*If the participant is enrolled academically through St. Jerome’s University, they are eligible to receive a $500 bursary to be applied to their personal contribution portion of the expense.
The remaining balance is covered by the University. The total expenses cover the cost of flights, transportation, any placement fees and accommodations (Note: meal expense coverage is negotiated differently for each placement).
Additional program costs, not included in the totals above, which remain the responsibility of the student include:
  • Fees for immunizations (costs vary depending on the country)
  • Passport Renewal fees
  • Immigration documents and necessary Visas (depending on placement)
  • Any travel supplies participants would need (ie. luggage, clothing, water sanitation tablets, hygiene products, gear, etc.)

Students can expect to enrol in the Beyond Borders course RS 383, winter 2019. In addition, there will be opportunities for students to pursue additional academic credits during their international placement, either related to:

  • the language they will learn and practice while abroad, or,
  • by applying for the experience to qualify for a Peace and Conflicts Studies (PACS) field course.