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 (including summer camps)
  • International student programs
  • International school partnerships
  • Accreditation of out-of-province schools
  • 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 2,000 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.

International Education Week

International Education Week 2021 is from November 15 to 19.

International Education Week takes place every year during the third week of November and is celebrated by more than 100 countries. The week highlights programs and activities that give students and educators the opportunity to see the world through an international lens.

Think Globally Art Contest

Students from across Alberta participated in the 2018 Think Globally Art Contest by sending artwork that reflected on and celebrated Alberta’s diverse populations.

Art was on display in the Community Exhibits space of the legislative grounds from November 25 to 29, 2019.

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.

Administrator handbook

The Handbook for International Education Administrators contains resources and tools to help develop and implement successful international education programs.

Use the handbook to learn more about:

  • how to get involved
  • the benefits of getting involved
  • participants and their roles

Administration during COVID-19

Hosting international students

Alberta’s primary and secondary schools are approved to reopen to international students.

The federal approval to receive international students is based on overall provincial readiness.

To receive international students during the COVID-19 pandemic, school authorities are required to submit an attestation of readiness to receive international students form (PDF, 102 KB).

School authorities must also submit a corresponding readiness plan (PDF, 121 KB), which is reviewed by Alberta Health.

Several school authorities have completed these requirements and are approved to receive international students during the pandemic. See Where to study and live.

School authorities not yet on the list, but with an interest in welcoming international students, may be added.

School authorities on the list may be removed, if their readiness status changes.

For more information, contact Waldemar Riemer, Director of International Education Services Branch, at [email protected].


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

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