Indigenous Students and Study Abroad


About the Banner: Why moccasins? Moccasins provide protection yet still allow the wearer to feel connected to the earth

For many students, studying at the University of Alberta is their first major experience living in and adapting to a new culture. The idea of doing this again by studying abroad can seem overwhelming.  In partnership with key stakeholders like First Peoples' House, the Education Abroad team is here to help guide you through the process. Study abroad programs enhance both your academic and personal skills. While progressing in your academic studies, you can also learn outside the classroom and expand your circle of belonging by connecting with new lands and cultures.

How can you participate?

Explore Programs: We have curated a select list of programs from our partner institutions offering Indigenous programming. You can also explore all of our 200+ program options in our program finder.

Program Options

Funding: The University offers substantial awards for Indigenous students to help make your study abroad experience a reality.  The GSO Awards, First Nations, Métis and Inuit Awards, and First Peoples' House funding are just some of the options available.  We invite you to explore them all by clicking on the link below.


Talk to an Advisor: Our advisors are available to answer any questions you have.

Book an Advising Appointment

We know that having the proper supports in place will help shape your experience in positive ways.  Here are some considerations as you prepare for a rich and memorable time abroad.

The following information has been adapted from Toronto Metropolitan University

Questions to Ask Yourself
  • What are the cultural norms of my destination country? Are there religious/cultural institutions or practices that they adhere to?
  • What kinds of stereotypes exist about Indigenous people in my destination country? How are local Indigenous groups perceived there?
  • Who is perceived as Indigenous in my destination country, and how is that perception different than my experience as an Indigenous person in Edmonton/Canada?
  • What is the relationship between my destination country and my home country?
  • What are my resources if I experience racism or discrimination?
  • Will I have access to Elders? To Indigenous health and medicine?
  • Will I be able to bring sacred or ceremonial items into my destination country? Some countries, such as New Zealand, have very strict biological material restrictions and may confiscate items without special permits.
  • How comfortable am I reaching out to local Indigenous groups for support?
Additional Considerations
  • While abroad, others might identify you as Canadian first, as opposed to Indigenous. Many people may not be aware of the history of settler colonialism in Canada, or the effects it has to this day on Indigenous nations and communities. How might you explain that history to someone unfamiliar with Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples?
  • People in other countries might ask insensitive questions about your cultural heritage, physical features, or national origins.  This may be the case particularly in homogenous regions where people have had limited contact with anyone outside of their region. Recognize that these questions are most likely a result of a lack of awareness about the demographics of Canada or the reality of settler colonialism and its impacts rather than prejudice.
  • Social support in your destination country and at home can help you navigate a new culture that will likely include new racial/ethnic relations. Know whom to contact if you encounter any difficulties. Having a support system of family and friends may also help you deal with feelings of isolation and culture shock.
  • Knowing the social and historical situation in your destination country can help you prepare for the transition from Canada and back. 
  • You may find it empowering to facilitate conversations about your Indigenous identity in your destination country. However, you are participating in a global learning activity to make the most of your experience —don’t feel pressured to explain your identity to everyone all the time. Choose opportunities that you feel are safe, and that suit your interests, needs, and goals. . It isn’t your job to educate everyone in your destination country on your identity —you’re abroad for your own personal growth and education.
  • Conversations like those noted above may take place with other students on your global learning abroad program. Some students find it more difficult to work through issues with other students on the program than they do with individuals from the destination country. Be prepared for these situations as well.
  • At all times, make safety your goal. You will often be the first person to know if a situation is becoming unsafe. Trust your instincts, and do not do anything or go anywhere if you’re not comfortable in doing so.

If you know of additional resources that assisted you in your preparation to go abroad or would like to share your personal story of learning abroad, please contact



These videos share two perspectives on Education Abroad opportunities for Indigenous students - one from an educator, and the other from a student.

Dr. Florence Glanfield, Vice-Provost Indigenous Programming & Research

A Student Perspective

Take the next step: talk with an Education Abroad Advisor

U of A International's Education Abroad advisors are ready to help you go abroad:

  • Get answers to your questions
  • Assistance with the application process
  • Advice on destination and program choice

Make an Appointment