Global Skills Opportunity | How and when to apply

Interested in joining our network of emerging health- and social-system leaders? Learn more about who is eligible, when and how to apply, what funding is available and what students can expect.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for this outbound mobility program you must, at the time of the physical mobility aspect of the program, be:

  1. enrolled at McMaster University in an undergraduate program
  2. be in good standing in your registered undergraduate program
  3. be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  4. be 18 years of age or older.

Graduate students and international students are not eligible.

While all eligible undergraduate students will be considered, the national program targets groups for whom international experiences have traditionally been less accessible. These groups are:

  1. Indigenous students (students who report being an Indigenous person, that is, First Nations, Metis or Inuk (Inuit))
  2. students from low-income backgrounds (students who report to be in receipt of Canada Student Grants, or similar non-repayable student financial assistance offered by provinces and territories, or, in the absence of receiving non-repayable student financial assistance, can provide information to demonstrate that they require financial support to study or work abroad)
  3. students with disabilities (students who report to have a difficulty or impairment due to a long-term condition or health problem and/or experiences a limitation in their daily activities)

When and how to apply

Applicants may apply at any time as all applications will be reviewed and assessed as they are received. Undergraduate applicants are encouraged to plan ahead to determine where this opportunity fits best within their academic planning. Opportunities are available for Spring/Summer 2024, Fall 2024 and Winter 2025.

To apply, download the PDF application and follow the instructions.

Funds available

The typical commitment to the program is three to four months. Most opportunities will involve a combination of virtual and physical components with the virtual components being the month prior to, and the month after the physical components. It is expected that the physical mobility component of the program will involve placements lasting between 4 and 6 weeks. Individual student funding will be determined based on financial needs and destination costs. Funds may cover direct costs related to the implementation of physical mobility programming including:

  • student tuition
  • living expenses
  • dependent care
  • health insurance
  • immunizations
  • transportation (in Canada and abroad)
  • accommodation during their outbound mobility experience.

IMPORTANT: Grant funding received through Global Skills Opportunity WILL NOT have an impact on a student’s eligibility for Canada Student Loans or Grants. Employment and Social Development Canada is working with Provinces and Territories with the intention of ensuring that similar exemptions are in place for similar provincial or territorial administered financial assistance programs.

What successful GSO candidates can expect

The Forum will:

  • offer financial support
  • provide training through an orientation session (face-to-face), engagement in the McMaster Health Forum (including its Health Systems Evidence and Social Systems Evidence resources, our Learn How programs, and at least one of the rapid response, stakeholder dialogue or citizen panel programs) for at least one semester (either virtually or face-to-face), and a bi-weekly seminar and other ad hoc events (e.g., Polinomics and Labelle Lecture) for at least one semester (either virtually or face-to-face)
  • support mentoring that involves both alumni and community leaders
  • enable networking that includes community-engagement activities, peer support from current and past students, and social media channels
  • work with participating educational programs to obtain course credit where possible.

In doing so, the Forum will embrace the following principles:

  • engagement of partners in setting priorities for their own needs, establishing terms of reference for field research and internships that can help to address those needs, periodic assessments of student contributions, and de-briefs after each period in the country
  • use of regular formative evaluation and periodic summative evaluation, particularly for training

GSO students will:

  • participate actively in all training, mentoring and networking opportunities, either face-to-face or online, as well as in all evaluations of such opportunities, during their period in the GSO program
  • provide appropriate receipts for all travel-related financial support requested by the program
  • adhere to all reporting requirements, including tracking all additional travel-related expenses that they cover themselves or through other means (which is required for the Forum’s reporting)
  • identify opportunities for experimentation in the program and lead the development and evaluation of any ‘experiments’
  • participate actively in mentoring and networking as an alumni of the program

Specific expectations:

  • the commitment is for 12 months (even though the duration of physical mobility placements are shorter) and all students are expected to engage with the Forum throughout those 12 months
  • this includes at least one semester prior to going abroad and one semester after returning from going abroad
  • all students are expected to commit no more than five hours per week to the Forum over the course of the program
  • all students can expect to complete one Forum project to add value to the Forum and to the GSO program
  • all students can expect to complete at least one presentation
  • all students should try to participate in as many Forum events as possible

This project is funded by Global Skills Opportunity, the Government of Canada’s outbound mobility pilot program.

Gain insights from our Global Skills Opportunity students by watching live or recorded webinars, or connect with our previous Scholars in Strengthening Health Systems or Scholars in Strengthening Health and Social Systems.

Follow @McMasterForum on Twitter for insights and updates from the McMaster Health Forum.