International education programs

Learn about the benefits of international education programs and find resources to create them.


International education is a broad term for initiatives that promote an understanding of the connections and differences between the world’s people. Alberta’s K to 12 education system helps students:

  • work with others of diverse cultural origins
  • appreciate a broad range of ideas, perspectives and values
  • build relationships and collaborate
  • develop global competencies and intercultural skills

Examples of programs and activities

  • Student and teacher exchange programs
  • International student programs
  • International school partnerships
  • Language and culture programs
  • Visiting teacher and foreign language consultant programs
  • Agreements and relationships with international governments and regions


International education programs help:

  • students and educators gain international and intercultural knowledge, skills and awareness
  • students and educators develop greater understanding and respect for cultural diversity while learning about different perspectives, practices and systems
  • build Alberta’s globally skilled and trained labour force that contributes to increased trade and investment diversity
  • bring more than 3,000 international students to Alberta K to 12 schools, providing long-term economic and social benefits for the province.

The Economic and Social Impact of International K-12 Students on Alberta summarizes an impact study conducted in 2016. The study examines the direct and future financial and social impact of international students and the added impact of their visiting friends and relatives.

A report by Global Affairs Canada estimates that international students contribute $21 billion to Canada’s GDP and support almost 170,000 jobs.

International Education Week

International Education Week 2023 was November 20 to 24.

Celebrated annually in more than 100 countries, International Education Week takes place in the third week of November in support of international engagement and to showcase the impact that international education has in preparing students for the world.

The 2023 International Education Week celebrated the benefits of learning international languages throughout the month of November. Studying another language builds cross-cultural skills and helps students adapt to various cultural contexts. In an increasingly global world, these skills are beneficial for students as they navigate, study and work in the world.

Events and activities

As a part of this celebration, students were invited to participate in the Life in Alberta to the Beat of Language and Culture art contest. This art contest had a music-based theme, and it was aimed at kindergarten to Grade 12 students enrolled in international bilingual and language and culture programs. The contest was open to any Alberta student. In creating an original piece of artwork, students were encouraged to be imaginative and consider how their study of another language and culture connects to life in Alberta through music, including but not limited to ideas of:

  • rhythm
  • dance
  • instruments
  • song writing
  • symphonies
  • concerts

Overall, this contest provided an opportunity for students to explore the interconnectedness of another language and culture within Alberta's diverse and inclusive society.

Resources and activities

You can create an international education activity anywhere, and it can take many shapes or forms.

Here are some ideas and resources to help you celebrate and promote opportunities to learn about other cultures and places.


Activity ideas

  • Host a panel discussion with local representatives from international organizations to answer questions from students.
  • Hold class discussions on topics like intercultural competence, international engagement or global partnerships.
  • Video conference with an international school partner.
  • Set up an international-themed food festival.
  • Host multicultural performances by student groups or external organizations.
  • Showcase international films.
  • Invite guest speakers to present on topics related to international education.
  • Create events acknowledging international students in your school.
  • Place exhibits or posters in your school or community to highlight facts from cultures or languages around the world.
  • Present a language or cultural exchange program.
  • Hold informational sessions showing how students and educators can get involved with international education initiatives.
  • Meet with students over lunch to share a new language or cultural activity from around the world.


Connect with International Education Services:

Phone: 780-427-2035
Email (General information): [email protected]
Email (Exchange programs): [email protected]
Email (Study in Alberta): [email protected]

Main Floor, 44 Capital Boulevard
10044 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 5E6