March 2019

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“If I had my wish every student on campus would experience an exchange,” says Evelyn Ferreira, Manager of the International Office at UWI St Augustine.

She means “student exchange”, a programme through which students get to travel abroad and spend a semester or year at a foreign university. It’s an incredible opportunity for young people to experience new cultures, meet new people, learn in a fresh environment and experience the personal development that comes from leaving your homeland and entering the wider world.

For many students such an opportunity would be a dream come true. You’d think it would be rare. The truth however, is that there are many untapped opportunities for UWI students to take part in exchanges. IO is on a mission to get more members of the campus community to make use of them - enter iWeek 2019.

International Week or iWeek is an event hosted by IO to “raise awareness among our staff and students about the concept of internationalisation and highlight ways in which this concept can and has been embraced across the campus”, a statement from the office says.

2019 is iWeek’s fourth year. Titled “Technology, Art and Culture: The Caribbean Potential” it consisted of several events and activities running from late January to early February.

“It’s one of our ways of reaching out to the (campus) community,” says Ferreira.

The publication International Higher Education, describes internationalisation as “the process of integrating an international, intercultural, or global dimension into the purpose, functions or delivery of post-secondary education”. At UWI St Augustine IO is the office responsible for internationalisation. “We promote internationalisation on the campus. We make students and staff aware of the various internationalisation opportunities,” says Ferreira.

For iWeek 2019 such promotional activities included the “Study Abroad Fair”, giving students and staff information on opportunities to study or work at foreign universities; the “Global Citizenship Dialogue”, a question and answer session with student entrepreneur and innovator Kheston Walkins; a “Technology Display”, an exhibition of technologies from various faculties and companies such as Nerds International, Allegori - MindArt, and Huawei T&T; and a “Student Art Competition”.

The student artists had to depict “UWI 2050”. The winner received a return ticket to New York or Miami from American Airlines.

“I think of the International Office as a ministry of foreign affairs for the campus,” Ferreira says. IO has partnerships with over 60 universities around the world: at least one on every continent, she explains. These agreements allow students to take part in exchanges. Once their school fees are paid at The UWI they are not required to pay tuition at the university abroad (other costs such as travel and lodging still apply).

For universities that UWI doesn’t have exchange agreements with, IO offers study abroad support, helping to create links with the foreign institution, assisting with visas and expediting passports. The office also arranges short (a week or two) study tours for both UWI staff and students travelling abroad as well as persons from foreign institutions coming to St Augustine.

Staff and students from The UWI can also get information for international scholarships from IO, such as the Canada-CARICOM Leadership Scholarships and the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Programme. Offered by the Canadian government, these scholarships give recipients the opportunity for study, research and (in the case of staff) professional development at Canadian universities. The application deadline is March 21, 2019.

The IO manager would like to see more UWI members of the campus community take these opportunities:

“People who have taken part in exchanges or study abroad have matured. They always say it was a very good experience. What I’ve noticed in North American universities is that international travel is part of their curriculum. We will probably look at that. There may be a paradigm shift at The UWI when it comes to students studying abroad.”

Until that time, the IO continues to offer opportunities for both students and staff of The UWI to study and work abroad, and benefit from international scholarship opportunities. Why not take advantage of this chance to experience the world?

For more information on travel and international scholarship opportunities available through the International Office, visit their Facebook page at