In 2015, as part of the University of Sheffield's strategic commitment to innovation in its approaches to internationalization, as well as recognition of both the importance of student employability and growing opportunities in student‐led research, the Faculty of Social Sciences established a unique learning and research initiative in the shape of the Global Leadership Initiative as part of the Global Learning Opportunities in the Social Sciences programme. Its mission reflects both a desire to develop Social Sciences students as global citizens with an international outlook and a belief that staff and students can, and should, collaborate as partners in research. To this end, these initiatives have provided students, who would not normally have the opportunity, with the means to blend an international experience into their studies and understand the Social Sciences in this context. At the same time, they have sought to provide students in the Faculty with a unique Social Sciences research‐based opportunity that will enhance their employability. This article outlines the development of these Global Citizenship Education initiatives before exploring the pedagogical benefits and challenges of the programme from an academic and student perspective based on semi‐structured interviews, surveys and student evaluations.