Grant funds global student connection


The director of Royal Roads University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Assoc. Prof. Eugene Thomlinson, has received a grant that will help Royal Roads students connect with their counterparts in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Thomlinson received a grant worth almost $25,000 from the Government of Canada Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program.

The grant will fund a new Collaborative Online International Learning project and explore a joint major field project between students from Royal Roads University and ITESO, Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara, a Royal Roads learning partner. Royal Roads students will also have the opportunity to learn Spanish as part of the project.

The project aims to improve access and equity to participation in global learning by offering a virtual space for students from both institutions to collaborate and learn about each other’s cultures. It will also help students prepare for future learning or working experiences abroad, while helping to expand study abroad options for Royal Roads students. 

“Students will come out of this better prepared for a multilingual, multicultural world, where collaboration between people from different places can result in better outcomes than when they are developed in isolation,” says Thomlinson. 

Tasha Welch, director of Royal Roads’ Office of International Collaboration and Development, sees this as a new way forward for international collaboration.

“This project disrupts the traditional model of education abroad and opens up opportunities for global learning experiences that are more inclusive, innovative, and sustainable,” Welch says.

While the project will be designed for the Bachelor of Arts in Global Tourism Management program and ITESO’s Licenciatura en Hospitalidad y Turismo (Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality and Tourism) program, Thomlinson intends to build the framework to use as a model for future international programs at Royal Roads and other institutions.

The Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program is funded by the Government of Canada. It was introduced as part of Canada’s International Education Strategy to provide increased opportunities for post-secondary students to study and work overseas in order to strengthen their global competencies and enrich Canada’s prosperity. Originally planned to fund study-abroad projects, the pandemic forced the grant program to shift focus and support innovative mobility programs in a COVID-19 environment.