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When the opportunity to study at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) came up for two students from the University of Portsmouth in the UK, they jumped at the chance.

Emily Bird of Salisbury, England is working on a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Forensic Studies, while Rachele Cabboi of northern Italy is enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Criminology with Psychology program at the university in southern England.

Rachel liked the idea of studying abroad for a year to make the most of her studies before starting a career. She considered studying in Vancouver as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a part of the world that interested her. She appreciated JIBC’s hands-on approach to teaching, and the fact JIBC offered subjects she could not have studied otherwise.

Similarly, Emily saw the exchange program as a way to explore all her career options.

“I saw that JIBC has instructors still actively working in the law enforcement field; it can only be beneficial to learn from such experienced individuals,” Emily said. “Practical policing modules were also offered at Portsmouth, however due to taking other units it was not possible to study these. I believed coming onto the exchange program would offer something different to study whilst also learning about another country and exploring Canada.”

These international experiences can significantly shape young people's characters, open their minds, develop appreciation for diversity and hugely increase problem-solving and adaptation skills

On the exchange, they took courses from JIBC’s law enforcement studies programs and particularly enjoyed learning judo with the JIBC Police Judo Club and gaining hands-on firearms safety training on campus. 

“Additionally, the instructors are, or have been, actively involved in the field, and they often shared real-world examples during classes to give us an idea of what it is like working in a law enforcement environment,” said Rachele.

With Rachele’s career interests centred around supporting offenders during their rehabilitation process, she was particularly pleased with the opportunities to visit a youth custody centre and to interview a youth supervisor, a well-known geographical profiler, restorative justice specialists and a victim of violent crime. Her JIBC studies have expanded her research interests and significantly influenced her dissertation research question for her final year at Portsmouth.

For Emily, the most valuable module was intelligence analysis. “This reinforced the class learning and also provided great real-life casework-style practice.”

Overall, she said the exchange experience has made her more confident and open. “This can only be beneficial especially in situations involving interviews, meeting new people and connecting with future work colleagues and the general public if a law enforcement career path is followed.”

Rachele noted, “I would strongly recommend this exchange program, especially to those students who have never travelled or lived in a different country before. These international experiences can significantly shape young people’s characters, open their minds, develop appreciation for diversity and hugely increase problem-solving and adaptation skills. On an undergraduate level, it can also shape research ideas and interests, which could lead to different career paths over time. You never know!”

For more information about academic programs available for international students, visit the JIBC International Studies page.