Chok Kei Wong was just finishing her administrative professional certificate program at Vancouver Community College (VCC) this past winter when she received an email from the UMAP International Secretariat about an opportunity to enroll in a virtual exchange with the Institute for Innovative Global Education at Kansai University in Japan.
“I jumped at the chance to take part as I knew I would be working and learning with students from around the world,” says Chok Kei.
She was one of three VCC students who received a scholarship from UMAP to participate in the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) course, aptly titled “21st Century Skills.” VCC is hosting the UMAP International Secretariat, with the support of Global Affairs Canada, until the end of 2025.
“The month-long course is designed to help students acquire the knowledge and tools to succeed, such as critical thinking, digital literacy, intercultural collaboration, and cross-cultural communication through collaborative projects with their overseas peers. It combines synchronous activities with multi-media and engaging asynchronous materials,” says Chelsey Laird, Director of the UMAP International Secretariat.
Chok Kei attended lectures every week on Zoom with more than 30 students from UMAP partner countries including the Philippines, China, Japan, and the United States.
“What I loved most was after each lecture we broke out into small groups and had discussions. Each week I met with new people from different parts of the world,” says Chok Kei.
Now working full-time in an administrative position at a medical company, Chok Kei says the course helped her develop critical thinking skills that she uses everyday in her new job.
“It was a great course to kick off my career and end my chapter of learning at VCC,” she says.
To learn more about UMAP’s scholarships and programming, visit UMAP.org.