Students at the Global Summer School closing ceremony 2019
March 6, 2020
Humber’s Global Summer School (GSS) will be returning for another successful year to both campuses this coming July. Last year, more than 150 students from Humber and around the world participated in the three weeks of project-based learning and global perspective building. The GSS is a unique example of Humber’s Internationalization Strategy in action. It’s a strong embodiment of the first pillar of the strategy, “Internationalization at Home”. The outcomes of the work, including the GSS, provide impactful international learning opportunities both for our community and for students from international partners, right here at home.
A Unique Summer Opportunity
The GSS was first held in 2019. It is a three-week intensive program centered around a series of topical elective courses in areas such as intercultural communications, social innovation and, sustainability practices. The pedagogical focus was meant to highlight our strengths. As one of the Humber participants commented, “It was a good balance of hands-on experience and in-class lectures”. This year, we’ve expanded course offerings from eight to 14. Two highlights from the expanded programming include Crossing Borders: Migration in Culture and Water: A Life and Death Issue.
Vive La Difference Academique!
There are a number of distinct differences for students who choose to take courses during the GSS. First of all, the pedagogy uses a very non-traditional learning approach, combining hands-on and project-based learning with an exploration of critical real-world issues alongside students from other disciplines and nationalities. “It's not a traditional summer school,” Rebecca Trautwein, Manager of Global Learning and Engagement, explains. “It's a very enriching, immersive experience that really makes for a wonderful global ecosystem within the classroom, what the global world really looks like.”
Organizers of the 2019 GSS were surprised at the closeness and strong feelings that participation in the GSS elicited from participants. A student from the UK, during the closing ceremonies, proudly exclaimed that, “I’d definitely say I have made friends for life here.” Another, from the Netherlands, said that, “It’s literally one of the best experiences in my life so far, no regrets of coming here.”
Another important difference at the GSS is its academic outcome. Every course in the GSS is credit-bearing. This means that every student will have an official transcript record of their studies at the GSS. For international participants, this means that their academic work during the GSS may be credited towards studies at their “home” university. For Humber students, GSS courses count as electives towards their Humber credentials.
Students at the Blue Jays game
International at home?
While we hope that many Humber students will avail themselves of global study opportunities, many cannot consider leaving the GTA, for a host of reasons. The GSS provides those students the opportunity to interact with students from around the world and build global perspectives in a focused, condensed way. Activities built into the GSS programming, from a trip to Niagara Falls to a cruise of Toronto harbor, further expand Humber students’ opportunities to connect with international classmates through the course of the GSS. Simultaneously, international students also get a chance to explore Canada, its culture and experience the Canadian academic environment.
A track for faculty
The GSS isn’t just for students. There are courses offered only for faculty and staff from international institutions which are designed for them to level up their practical skills and learn from one another while doing so. Custom Training for International English Teachers and the International Teaching Effectiveness courses are both popular options that draw international educators from around the world.
Global Learning Grows at Home
The popularity of the GSS and its warm reception within the community has been impressive, revealing how important international learning opportunities are to the Humber community and how important it is to continue mobilizing our resources to create these experiences.