Internationalization Activities Glossary Menu

The list below includes simple definitions of international activities associated with university international partnerships in the context of internationalization of higher education. The list isn’t exhaustive, rather it offers a window of partnership possibilities. Some terms below might be defined differently elsewhere as activities are highly customizable. There is no standard glossary of internationalization activities. The selection and grouping of the terms favoured simplicity as international engagement touches various dimensions of higher education.

This glossary can be of interest to faculty members, staff and students interested in reflecting about the rich repertoire of potential opportunities for international and global engagement.

For additional information on actual initiatives, programs, projects, funding or services which enable students and faculty members to engage internationally, please visit the International Engagement Directory

For questions, please contact Carlos Vargas, Director, International and Global Engagement.

Terminology Definitions


International Field School

Academic or non-academic programs that take students abroad where they are exposed to real life examples in a hands-on learning environment. They vary in time, destination, academic or research, volunteer-based and level of involvement. Related terms: international field courses, field research trips.

Foundation Year Program

Pathway programs for international students to receive additional academic and language training before being officially admitted into an academic program. Related term: Facilitated Admission for International Recruitment (FAIR).

Double Degree Programs

Academic programs that offer students (Master's) the opportunity to obtain two degrees for overlapping coursework at the same or two different institutions. They offer great learning and research opportunities.

International Students Recruitment

Services or initiatives aimed at increasing international student population. They tend to focus on numbers, unique talent, region or country sources and other factors.

Internationalized Curricula

Curriculum that incorporates global or international perspectives into its design, delivery and outcomes. This type of curriculum tends to focus on intercultural skill development for students.

Joint and Double Degree Programs

Academic programs that offer students (usually Master's) the opportunity to obtain one degree from two different institutions. Two institutions offer the student one degree. They offer great learning and research opportunities.

Joint Educational Placement Agreement

Opportunities for doctoral students to complete their degree program under the supervision of two supervisors (one from UT and one from a university in Canada or abroad). Also known as cotutelle.

Experiential Learning

It is a type of education where students take an active role that includes reflection, experimentation and application of lessons. It could take place inside or outside the classroom and it complements conventional teaching and learning. They accelerate learning retention, participation and tangible learning outcomes. Students have greater opportunities to learn by “doing.”

Global Learning

Student Research Project

Student research projects are research assignments where students explore specific research questions during a specified period of time under the supervision of an instructor.

International Coop Program

They include arrangements between the home university, student and a partner. They offer students the opportunity to acquire skills abroad. They tend to be paid experiences.

International Internships

Opportunities for students to do a work placement abroad where they acquire skills related to their academic programs. Related terms: Practicum.

Student Exchange

Opportunities for students to take credit courses at a university abroad during one or two semesters. They require an agreement where the students continue to pay tuition to their home institution.  Exchanges may be “outbound” where U of T students study elsewhere, or “inbound”, where partner students study at U of T.

Independent Study Abroad

It is an independent study activity (for credit), normally in the form of a research project, that is requested by a student in consultation with the home university. The research takes place abroad, usually at another university.

Study Tours

Short trips where students are encouraged to incorporate their experience in the context of their academic programs. It takes place at a location abroad.

Visiting Scholar Program

Programs that support the visits of instructors or researchers (including students). Visitors improve campus life and provide future opportunities for research and academic partnerships.

Cross-Cultural Training

Short-term training that improves students' ability to identify different perspectives and to form new ones. They involve a wide range of dimensions such as historic, economic, political, religious, and cultural aspects, among others. Also known as Intercultural Competence training.


Co-published Articles

Published academic work that involves experts from different countries. The aim is to enhance quality and incorporate different concepts and approaches in order to explore complex research questions. 

International Conferences

Opportunities for students or faculty members to share ideas and to learn from experts from other regions. They help advance academic and research goals. 

International Research Consortia

Groups of networks or associations with a large number of members interested in exploring research topics at a large scale. 

International Research Agreement

A legal accord related to joint research between two or more institutions. The agreement contains language related to responsibilities, financing, copyright, and other clauses. 

International Research Grants

Research grants that focus on supporting research projects with an international dimension. They vary in amounts, focus (travel, conferences, etc.), disciplines, sponsor, etc. Related term: international research grants.

International Research Networks

Groups of international researchers who share expertise and knowledge to advance unique research questions.

International Research Projects

They are collaborative research projects that involve two or more researchers who come together to explore research questions. They can be informal or formal. 

Research Exchange Programs

Programs that encourage researchers (students and faculty members) to conduct research at a university abroad. They tend to include lab work, research collaboration and intercultural exposure. Related term: International research placements.


Funding for Mobility

Funding opportunities that allow participants (students, faculty members and staff) to travel to another institution for academic, research or professional development purposes. 

Memorandum of Understanding

A written accord involving two or more universities or organizations in which the parties agree to work together toward specific agreed-upon goals. These agreements tend to be non-binding with the expectations that future binding sub-agreements can be pursued at a later date.

Student Mobility Services

They include student recruitment, student exchanges, international internships, coop, service learning, etc.

International Research Funding (support)

They include various international research funding services that can support international research engagement. 

Legal and Risk Management Services

They include the review and assessment of international partnerships in line with university policy and commitments from a legal and risk management perspective. They serve to ensure written or non-written expectations can be met and they will ultimately bring benefits to both parties.


Co-Curricular Activities

They include a wide range of activities which complement and or enhance curricular programs. They tend to be non-academic in nature, but they improve students’ academic learning and skill.

Cultural Lectures, Training or Workshops

Events or learning activities where participants acquire skills in intercultural competence, academic or research capacity enabling them to engage internationally.

Global Citizenship Training

Training aimed exclusively an incorporating international concepts and experiences that prepare participants to acquire intercultural competencies.  They, in turn, enable students or faculty members to better understand the complexity and diversity of thoughts at home and abroad. They use a wide variety of school of thoughts to enrich participants' understanding of international issues or challenges. Related terms: Intercultural Learning, Intercultural Skills Training, Intercultural Competencies.

International Student Competition

Competitions that bring together students from different countries in order to demonstrate their ability to work in groups and solve issues collaboratively. 

Customized Training Programs

Academic or non-academic programs aimed at providing training for a specific type of learner. They tend to be highly customizable and serve to reduce knowledge or skills gaps.


Alumni Development Programs Abroad

They include outreach initiatives where alumni are encouraged to get involved with university initiatives (donations, partnership development, mentorship, branding, etc.). 

Capacity Building

Initiatives normally carried out by faculty or staff members aimed at improving any aspect of an organization. Participants share their expertise and work with international universities or organizations. 

Community-Based Projects

Academic or volunteer-based initiatives where community well-being is a central theme. 

Faculty and Staff Mobility Programs

Programs that encourage faculty members or staff to travel abroad for the purpose of volunteering, research, professional development, training, etc. Participants visit other universities, exchange experiences and are actively engaged.

Industry-University Partnership

Initiatives that include universities, and private firms aimed at addressing issues or challenges. They tend to focus on training, research or capacity building. Related term: Corporate partnership.

International Development Projects

Major initiatives that improve our understanding of inadequate human development. It involves offering alternative arrangements in consultation with the local community aimed at addressing local issues.