Post secondary students engage in real-world research practices with Cuso International


People looking at a tablet

University and college students across the country are engaging in real-world issues and making an impact thanks to Cuso International’s e-volunteering classroom program.

This year, Cuso International has partnered with the universities of Laval, New Brunswick, British Colombia and Ottawa, Carleton University and North Island College. The e-volunteer classroom provides an innovative solution to development challenges, while giving students a competitive edge through the experience.

“For students, this is an opportunity to engage in real-world research that will be used and shared by our country program offices and partners,” said Natalie Graham, Cuso International E-Volunteer Mobilization Advisor. “They are making an impact while receiving course credit.”

Nick Robinson, a former Professor of Global Business Management at North Island College in British Colombia, participated in the pilot for the e-volunteering classroom program. Every year, his students investigated export opportunities for businesses. The partnership with Cuso International added “a practical element to the course,” he said.

Students in his class were paired with farmers in Laos looking to understand ways to expand sales of their rice in international markets. Hollie Shewfelt, a former student in Nick’s class, said the experience left a lasting impression on her.

“I went from hoping to get an ‘A’ in the course to working on a real project that could really influence lives,” she said. “Who knew that a woman on Vancouver Island could help a farmer in a community on the other side of the world? It’s phenomenal that the opportunity even exists.”

Approximately 200 students have been matched with projects in Laos, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Benin, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Philippines since the program’s inception in 2016.