Powering Change Scholarships Support Students Going Beyond Borders
Powering Change scholarships are supporting six students travelling with St. Jerome’s University’s Beyond Borders program this spring. The scholarships are part of $500,000 in funding provided to the University of Waterloo and members of a campus-wide alliance. Spearheaded by the University of Waterloo’s (UW) International Cooperative Education program, St. Jerome’s University (SJU) and other campus partners worked together and were successfully approved for scholarship funding. The money is being used to support students participating in more than 65 international work-integrated learning experiences (iWIL) taking place in 20 non-traditional locations, between January 2022 and March 2025. These experiences are available to students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents and who are Indigenous, have accessibility needs, or face income barriers. The Powering Change program is funded by Global Skills Opportunity (GSO), the Government of Canada’s outbound mobility program.
“SJU has resumed not only our local Service Learning programs, Encounter K-W and Beyond U, but also our international programs, SJU in Peru and Beyond Borders,“ stated SJU’s Service Learning Program Coordinator, Michelle Metzger. “The Powering Change scholarships are significant and have made it possible for students to obtain the support they need to participate in our international Beyond Borders experience in particular.”
Beyond Borders offers students an immersive international service-learning experience, where students participate in a three-month internship with a not-for-profit organization overseas. The program is rooted in the values of Catholic Social Teaching, encouraging students to build community, practice solidarity, and to respect and engage with the dignity of all people. Beyond Borders also offers the chance to be fully immersed in and witness development and social justice issues.
Students participate in significant orientation and academic coursework for credit, prior to travelling to their international Beyond Borders placement. In the spring, supported by $10,000 Powering Change scholarships, three students will be travelling to Uganda, Africa to serve with Reach Out Mbuya Community Health Initiative, while three others will be travelling to Peru, South America to serve with Café Femenino, a Fair Trade Coffee Cooperative.
“Powering Change scholarships cover not only the cost of the Beyond Borders experience, including flights, accommodations, and other expenses. They also compensate students for their work during their placement at a rate competitive to jobs in Canada,” noted Metzger. “The impact of the Powering Change support is significant.”
Natalie Nichol is a fourth-year student enrolled in the Public Health and Social Development Studies programs at the University of Waterloo. She chose SJU’s Beyond Borders program as a way to get more involved with partner universities/colleges during her studies. She looks forward to learning about culture, being able to travel, and to meeting people while in Uganda. The Reach Out Mbuya organization was of interest to Nichol because of its focus on helping those affected by HIV/AIDS.
“Overall, this experience seemed like something that would really positively impact me as a person and allow me to learn and grow,” shared Nichol. “I was reluctant to interview and get involved with Beyond Borders, as I knew that I would be having to pay for this experience out of pocket. I was so happy to learn that I would be receiving the Powering Change scholarship, as it allows me to go into this experience with no stress related to the financial portion of it.”
For more information about SJU’s Service learning programs visit www.sju.ca/service-learning or reach out to SJU’s Service Learning Program Coordinator, Michelle Metzger at email@example.com. Applications for several service learning initiatives, including SJU in Peru, Beyond U, and Encounter KW, are currently open. During the 2023 Spring Term, applications will be available for students interested in participating in Beyond Borders in Spring 2024.
Fourth-year University of Waterloo Public Health and Social Development Studies student
Natalie Nichol will be travelling to Uganda, Africa in the 2023 Spring Term.
She is one of six students being supported by a
Powering Change scholarship as part of the SJU Beyond Borders
immersive international learning experience program.