MFRE students wanting an international learning experience can participate in the MFRE Semester Abroad Program for the semester/term following completion of their MFRE degree requirements. MFRE students begin in September and finish their degree requirements the following August. The MFRE Semester Abroad Program would extend the duration of the MFRE program by one semester or four months, September through December. For this fourth semester, you will still be registered as a MFRE student at UBC. Thus, your semester abroad program needs to be pre-approved by the MFRE Academic Director. Your graduation would typically be at UBC’s spring convocation in May, rather than the fall convocation in November.
There are three main options available for the Semester Abroad Program. For whichever option you choose, it must be planned and developed in close cooperation with the MFRE Academic Coordinator and/or the MFRE Graduating Projects Manager.
- Academic Exchange
This involves a semester abroad at one of UBC’s partner universities taking courses like you do in Terms 1 and 2 of the MFRE program. It would allow you to take food and resource economics courses that focus on different issues, provide different perspectives, and relate to a different region of the world. Credits for the courses taken can be transferred back to UBC and listed on your transcript, although the grades received will not affect your average grade for the MFRE program. UBC has 150 partner universities around the world that you can consider for exchange. See the Go Global Exchange, Research + Study Abroad page. One of UBC’s partners has been established especially for MFRE students. It is the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA), one of the world’s premier business universities, with a strong agribusiness program, located in Ahmedabad, India.
- Research Abroad
You can initiate a self-directed research experience through the Go Global Research Abroad program at one of the same partner universities as above. See more details here.
There is also funding available for international research projects through Mitacs.
- Internship Abroad
Excellent opportunities for work experience in Mexico are available through Go Global at UBC’s partner university in Mexico, Tec de Monterrey. The Tec is one of Mexico’s very top private universities, and has about 30 campuses spread across Mexico. One of the cities recommended for MFRE students is Queretaro, which has a large food and agriculture sector where you could be placed with a company and get first hand work experience in the North American food and agri-business sector. Queretaro has a lovely climate and a very historic colonial downtown area.
Costs of the Semester Abroad Program
To participate in the Semester Abroad Program MFRE students would pay their regular tuition to UBC, not to the receiving institution. The MFRE ‘Continuing Fee” is set equal to the regular tuition installments paid during the first three semesters of the MFRE program. Each of the three options described above has scholarships available for participating students (from $1000 to $2000) through UBC’s Go Global program. The MFRE travel fund can provide additional financial support to help cover the costs of re-locating.
Examples of a semester abroad
- I want to focus on applied environmental economics. Because I am from Asia, I want to stay in Canada for my Graduating Project so I can have at least one year of experience in Canada. But I also value getting more international experience, and am especially interested in gaining environmental perspectives from Scandinavia. Therefore, I plan to participate in the MFRE Semester Abroad Program and spend my fourth semester on academic exchange at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. This will allow me to take graduate courses in economics that relate to the EU economy, environment and trade. I know that graduate courses at the University of Copenhagen are offered in English, but I still want to learn some Danish.
- I want to focus on agribusiness in the Asia Pacific region. For my Graduating Project, I want to work with an import-export food business that is located in Vancouver and trades with Asia. To get as much depth as I can in the area of agribusiness, I want to add a fourth semester to go to IIMA in India, where I can take world class courses in agribusiness and management that are not offered at UBC. Also, the people I meet in the classes will soon be leaders in the food and agricultural sector in India, and great contacts for me in the future.
- I came into MFRE thinking that I was not interested in doing research. But during the program, I found I was getting more interested in food and resource economics and also more interested in researching some of the pressing issues. But I can see that to tackle research questions I need more experience in carrying out quantitative economic research. Thus, I want to add a fourth semester to participate in the research abroad program. I would like to have an experience in the United States, so am considering Oregon State University, the University of Arizona, and the University of Washington (all Go Global partners). I never thought I would say this, but the research abroad program will help me decide if I want to go on for a Ph.D. program.
- I am from Canada and I know how important having international experience is in the job market place. I am interested in policy analysis and would like to do my Graduating Project with the policy unit of the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food in Victoria. But I really want to achieve a North American perspective on agriculture/food policy. To achieve this, I want to add a fourth semester and join the internship program at a Tec de Monterrey campus in Mexico, where I can be directly involved with government policy as it relates to international trade in food and agriculture. I don’t speak Spanish but want to study it before I go and improve my Spanish as much as I can while in Mexico.