RMC Saint-Jean University Program Makes History

Above: The first cohort of RMC Saint-Jean’s Bachelor of International Studies

Article by 28250 OCdt (II) Patrick Chartier 
Richelieu Squadron | Escadron Richelieu

For the past few years, the staff at RMC Saint-Jean have been hard at work trying to regain university status. Their dedication is about to pay off. In the coming months, the program, which was given the green light last year, will obtain its accreditation as a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies. With only the official seal of approval from the Quebec Ministry of Education missing, the program began in August of 2018 with a cohort of 15 students, five anglophones and 10 francophones.

These brave few volunteered to be the first to graduate from a military college outside of Kingston since 1995 when both Royal Military College Saint-Jean and Royal Roads Military College were closed. It has been an interesting journey for them so far to say the least. The beginning of the year was a roller coaster ride, with a mix of activities ranging from occupying bar slate positions, beginning new and untested classes, assisting with a multitude of tasks around the college and other activities like the International Week.

It was an exciting challenge; some things went well, others not as much, but in the end, they prevailed, and the program has a proven concept for the fall semester for second year students. Luckily the winter semester was not as cumbersome, and the program is continuously adjusting and improving. Many students had the opportunity to participate in some of the educational trips offered within the program, such as trips to Brussels and Berlin, Colombia, Kuujjuaq, and the Netherlands.

With two years remaining until graduation for the class of 2021, further exchange opportunities and a more acute focus in geopolitical issues are on the horizon. The Program for International Student Exchanges has been put in place and will be available for third and fourth year officer-cadets (fall semester) who perform well in all pillars. There are currently five proposed destinations for potential exchange students, with two positions per location per semester. The Korea Military Academy (KMA) in Seoul, South Korea, the Tadeusz Kosciuszko Land Forces Military University (MULF) in Wroclaw, Poland, Norwich University in Vermont USA, the Jose Maria Cordova Military School (ESMIC) in Bogotà, Columbia and the Military Academy Karlberg (MSH K) in Stockholm, Sweden are currently the proposed institutions for bilateral exchanges.

The International Studies program will give a unique opportunity to future officers of the CAF to explore different world views throughout their degree. It will allow them to not only develop an understanding of international daily news, but also to be able to cultivate a deeper comprehension of the scale and scope of world events. With that in mind, educational trips and exchanges with other nations are essential for the growth of this program.

These brave few have gone through considerable challenges and will face many more. They remain prepared and vigilant on the road ahead. They are making history for the Royal Military Colleges of Canada and wear the motto with pride. Truth, Duty, Valour.