Dal students set to embark on overseas adventures with McCall MacBain International Fellowship

- July 4, 2024

Claire Moser, left, and Magdelena Klunder are Dal's first recipients of the fellowship. (Photos provided by the McCall MacBain Foundation)
Claire Moser, left, and Magdelena Klunder are Dal's first recipients of the fellowship. (Photos provided by the McCall MacBain Foundation)

Dal students Claire Moser and Magdelena Klunder spent the past year living down the street from one another in Halifax. This summer, as they part ways with their shared neighbourhood, they do so with something new in common: they'll both be spending a year abroad as 2024 McCall MacBain International Fellows.

Magdelena, a medical sciences student who goes by Maggie, and Claire, an industrial engineering student, were among 19 students from seven universities across Canada selected to spend a fully funded year abroad to study, live, and work in a new country. 

It's the first time Dal students have been selected for the fellowship, which provides students up to $30,000. Fellows spend one term learning a new language, one term completing academic studies, and a final term either working or on internship. 

With a full year abroad, the fellowship offers recipients a rich opportunity to learn a new language, immerse themselves in a new country and culture, and build international connections.

Learn more about Maggie and Claire's upcoming adventures below:

Claire Moser

Host country: Italy

If high fashion were a mountain range, Italy would arguably represent one of the peaks. Dal student Claire Moser will set out to scale the summit this coming year as she embarks on a study abroad program in the country.

She hopes to put her training as an industrial engineering student to the test as a quality engineer at one of the country’s many fashion labels during the designated work-term portion of the program. 

Claire, who has previously worked on energy-efficiency projects during an internship, will also seek to parlay her interests in sustainability into the world of fashion.

“I’m interested to see if I can combine my interest in sustainability with fashion and do something that helps with the consumption of fashion,” she says, noting that fast fashion — the mass production of low-quality replicas of runway looks — has been bad for the environment. 

It’ll mark a return to the country for Claire, who travelled there from her hometown of Calgary years ago with her family. She admits she didn’t pick up much language on that previous trip, so is excited to have four months of language training in Sicily to kick off her year abroad. She’ll follow that with a fourth-month academic term in either Rome or Florence before then undertaking her work term. 

Claire has spent time overseas previously when she worked on a water-quality project in Honduras with other engineering students as part of a Global Brigade’s initiative. And last summer, she lived abroad in Australia on a personal working holiday.

She says these experiences and her upcoming year in Italy should help prepare her for her long-term goal of working abroad.

“It aligns well with my career goals because once I graduate from Dal, I really want to work abroad either in the U.S. or in Europe somewhere,” she says.

Maggie Klunder

Host country: Portugal

When Maggie Klunder touches down in Lisbon, Portugal in late August, it’ll be her first time on foreign soil.

“We were the road trip family. We’ve gone coast to coast across Canada, but we haven’t done any overseas travelling,” says Maggie, a medical sciences student from Georgian Bluffs, Ont., who just finished her second year at Dal. 

Maggie was drawn to the small European country for her year abroad for three reasons: she wanted to experience living in a different climate than Canada, she wanted to learn a Latin-based language, and she was intrigued by Portuguese culture. 

“I’ve only ever heard amazing things about the warmth and welcoming Portuguese culture, and that drew me in,” she says. 

While she had some specific criteria for what she wanted in her chosen country, she’s taking a decidedly flexible approach to rest of the trip. 

And that’s kind of the point.

“I’ve planned the basics, but I haven’t planned an exact itinerary. I just want to see who I meet, where they take me, and keep my agenda open,” she says. “I certainly don’t know what I’m getting into.”

She’ll spend her first portion of the trip studying Portuguese in Lisbon or Porto while staying with a host family. She’d like to also volunteer at a community centre or in a retirement home or with a sports team for young kids during this period, building on her prior volunteer experiences with Special Olympics and at the QEII hospital in Halifax and improving her language skills in the community. 

From there, Maggie will look to pursue courses toward a minor in business or the social sciences during the academic portion of the year depending on what’s available and open to her. 

She’s taking a similarly loose approach to her work term. She may seek out work in a lab at a university or take up a more public-facing job in medicine or health that’ll provide the chance to interact more with people in Portuguese.

Maggie feels confident that whatever she chooses will be valuable to her future.

“I’m aiming to go into the health-care field, and I think being able to have the depth of a new language and have a more worldly view would be very helpful,” she says.


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