Education Abroad Professional Learning Community (EA-PLC)

The Education Abroad PLC provides a forum for professionals in the fields of education abroad and global learning to share knowledge, organize projects and activities, and enhance their competencies.

Global Skills Opportunity Learning Series

Global Skills Opportunity (GSO), CBIE, and the CBIE Education Abroad Professional Learning Community (EA-PLC) are collaborating on a learning series to support Canadian post-secondary institutions in developing and designing their international experience programs.


The Education Abroad (EA) PLC creates an informed and effective support network and forum of discussion amongst education abroad professionals. In order to continue our learning in the field, the PLC also develops and/or promotes education and training opportunities for global learning professionals. The EA PLC is open to CBIE members at all levels who work or have interest in global learning.

The Education Abroad PLC encompasses the following sub-groups:

  • Accessibility & Inclusion
  • Education Abroad Measures
  • Intercultural Competence
  • Pre-Departure, Re-Entry & Wraparound Support
  • Virtual Education Abroad

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee members and co-chairs act as a voice for the EA-PLC and increase awareness of the EA community they represent. For more information on roles and responsibilities, please see the EA-PLC’s Terms of Reference.

Co-chairs of the EA-PLC

Janine Knight-Grofe
Manager, International Education
Durham College

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Janine Knight-Grofe has 15 + years’ experience in international education practice and research. She is currently Manager, International Education at Durham College where she is responsible for a spectrum of internationalization initiatives, including leadership for education abroad; developing and implementing programs and services related to international students; and implementing the Internationalization and Global Engagement Plan along with the international education team.

Janine is a PhD student, Higher Education, at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and holds a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Colleen Packer
Director – Global Learning
University of Calgary

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Colleen Packer has worked in the field of international education for over 20 years. She is currently the Director, Global Learning at University of Calgary International, where she provides leadership for the University’s education abroad and global learning at home programs, working with stakeholders across campus to support the institution’s global engagement plan. In addition to serving on various internal and external committees, Colleen is the co-chair of the CBIE’s Education Abroad Professional Learning Community and is a frequent presenter at both national and international conferences. Colleen has an M.Ed. in adult learning from the University of Calgary.


Accessibility & Inclusion

Zhi Jones, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Education Abroad (Services), University of Alberta

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Zhi has a Ph.D in Administration of Post-secondary Education from the University of Alberta. She is passionate about international education and strongly believes that a critical outcome of the UAlberta experience is for the graduating students to develop interest and competencies in engaging professionally and socially with diverse communities in Canada and around the world.

Rebecca Trautwein
Manager, Global Learning and Engagement, Humber College

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Rebecca Trautwein is a global learning and engagement professional with more than ten years’ experience in the higher education and international efforts. Her personal global journey is what initiated her passion for this work and led to her pursuing an M.A. in Intercultural and International Communication from Royal Roads University. She is committed to creating accessible and innovative global experiences through self-reflection and cultural exchange.

Education Abroad Measures

Ms. Shabnam (Shay) Surjitsingh Ivković
PEng (ON), Director – International Strategic Initiatives, Co-operative & Experiential Education, University of Waterloo

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As the Director of International Strategic Initiatives, Shabnam (Shay) designs and delivers University of Waterloo’s Co-operative and Experiential Education’s internationalization strategy that continues to place CEE as a global leader in the work-integrated learning arena via sustainable pathways for quality growth & innovation. Being an avid advocate of WIL, she has presented on program outcomes, student satisfaction, building co‐op legacies in organizations, risk management, WIL impact on UN’s SDGs, etc. at several global conferences. Shabnam loves working at university because she believes that in a well-rounded education lies the promise of our future.


Intercultural Competence

Heather Tobe
Faculty, Communications Department, Douglas College

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Heather Tobe MA, is currently a faculty member in the Communications Department at Douglas College. In addition to teaching courses on interpersonal and intercultural communication at Douglas, she presents at conferences and facilitates workshops on intercultural awareness and sensitivity. She has taught in the education sector for over 30 years including K-12, higher education, and teacher education. Heather holds an MA in Intercultural Relations from Antioch University and the Intercultural Communication Institute. Additionally, she has a Certificate in Workplace Conflict from the Justice Institute of BC. Heather is also a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory and the International Conflict Style Inventory by Mitchell Hammer, and the Global Competencies Inventory by Kozai Group. She has also founded or co-founded communities of practice in education and intercultural awareness. Heather has had numerous roles on the executive of the Society of Intercultural Education, Training, and Research (SIETAR BC). She currently sits on the RRU School of Communication advisory council and CBIE’s Education Abroad Professional Learning Community.

Karima Ramji
Associate Director, International, Indigenous and Strategic Initiatives, University of Victoria

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Karima has over two decades of experience in work integrated learning, and currently serves as Associate Director. International, Indigenous and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Victoria’s Co-operative Education Programs and Career Services. A Certified Advanced Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Professional and an active researcher, she has co-published articles in the International Journal of Work Integrated Learning, and a chapter on UVic’s Intercultural Competency Development Curriculum, in the book Work-integrated Learning in the 21st Century: Global Perspectives on the Future. Karima just completed two years of service as Co-Chair of the ACE-WIL BC/Yukon’s Research Committee and is currently Chair of CEWIL Canada’s International Committee. She espouses values of pluralism and servant leadership in all she does.

Pre-Departure, Re-Entry & Other Wraparound Support

Geneviève Boutin
Lead, Mobility and Partnerships, University of Ottawa

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A native of Ottawa and alum of the University of Ottawa, Geneviève has worked at the University since 2001; first as a student and as of 2004 as regular employee. She has experience at the registrar’s office in admissions work and at the Faculty of Social Science’s undergraduate office as an academic advisor. She has been with the uOttawa International Office since 2011, starting out in the role of mobility coordinator. In her current position as lead of mobility and partnerships, she manages the student mobility sector and works on partnership and agreement development and relationship management. She has had the opportunity to participate in numerous international education conferences such as CBIE, NAFSA and EAIE. She was also a presenter at the 2018 CBIE conference in Ottawa.

Mike Lafleur
Education Abroad Advisor, University of Guelph

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As the Education Abroad Advisor at the University of Guelph, Mike strives to make student mobility more inclusive and accessible. Most recently, he has helped develop an inclusive re-entry program that focuses on self-awareness, intercultural competence, and transferrable skills. As an active member of the CBIE community, he serves as a co-lead for the INTL Scholarship Committee and has previously participated in the CBIE Mission to Chile and INTL Mentorship Program. Prior to his role at the University of Guelph, Mike served as the Education Abroad Assistant at Durham College. He has also served as a teacher in both Canada and Namibia and has led study abroad programs to several countries. Mike has travelled to nearly 65 countries in various international development and educational contexts and continues to be an advocate for inclusive internationalization.

Virtual Education Abroad

Ada Lee
Global Development Manager, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

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Ada Lee is an international education professional with 8+ years in global mobility and partnerships, international recruitment & admissions, and student engagement. As a 1.5 generation settler hailing from Hong Kong, cross-cultural navigation and learning have been lifelong personal interests. She hopes to continue efforts in widening access to experiential global learning programs and leveraging technology to build inclusive and innovative programming. She lives alongside the great Douglas fir trees in coastal city of Vancouver.

Eunjung Riauka
Director, International Learning, University of Western Ontario

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Eunjung is an International education professional who is dedicated to helping students, staff, faculty and higher education institutions better understand and engage with global issues through international mobility, research and internship abroad programs. Leveraging over 10 years of experience in higher education in the field of international mobility programs, recruitment, partnership development & agreements, admissions (domestic/international), and assessment of transfer credits. Highly motivated and engaged in developing an internationalization strategic plan and direction in advancing the internationalization agenda and positive student experience in post-secondary institutions, she is a knowledgeable and trained facilitator and curriculum developer for cultural safety learning programs. In her current role, she oversees the international learning program at Western University. She is currently co-chair of the Virtual Education Abroad sub-group at CBIE’s Education Abroad PLC.