How do I find the experiential learning opportunity that is right for me?
You have many pathways to access experiential learning at the University of Toronto. While resources and offices (both academic and registration) on-campus will help you navigate this landscape, you will also need to be self-directed in locating and assessing the array of experiential learning opportunities to find programs, courses and / or initiatives that align with your academic, professional and personal goals and that fit with your availability.
You might look to connect with an advisor at a local office (e.g., campus, faculty, college, program) to understand your options and the opportunity that best aligns with your interests, values and long-term goals. A list of support offices will help you begin with your search.
Many undergraduate academic programs have developed resources and tools to provide a starting point as you’re trying to understand how best to navigate your degree and when you might want to access experiential learning opportunities. Check out Career Navigator, a tool for St. George Arts & Science students; Program Plans, developed for students on the Mississauga campus; or Scarborough’s Explore your Program Options.
Still not sure where to start?
It can be helpful to consider the various ways in which you, as a student, intersect with the University. You can consider things such as your academic division, campus, programs of study, year of study, co-curricular activities, personal interests and attributes. From there, you can begin to explore the opportunities available through your faculty, academic program, campus and student community. Some places to start:
Your division homepage (e.g., Faculty of Arts & Science, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto Mississauga): looking under “current students”, divisional homepages can provide outlines about key offices and experiential learning opportunities available to you.
Academic Calendar: the academic calendar for your division will list opportunities available in your program of study. Look up your program and make note of courses that might be of interest. Please note that not all courses listed on the academic calendar are offered every year.
Your program homepage (e.g., Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry): looking under “undergraduate students” or “graduate students’, your program/department homepage often outlines curricular experiential learning opportunities, timelines and how to apply and/or enrol in these opportunities.
Below is an example of one student, Ananya, and her journey to identify opportunities available and of interest to her.
SELECTING THE IDEAL EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU
How can I build my research skills? How can I get involved with work that will support my community? Which types of EL opportunities are paid?
Use the student decision tree tool to incorporate your personal goals and objectives as you consider which type of experiential learning is right for you.
Where Do I Begin?
- 3rd Year UTM student
- Studying Forensic Science and Historical Studies
- Wants to give back to her community
- Would like to gain some research experience
- Is hoping to to earn money while gaining experience
Looking Into Options
Ananya signs up for FAQ Fridays with the Academic Advising team at UTM and talks to the academic advisor on the call about her goals. They give her some great ideas for where to start her search.
Connected to Her Degree
Ananya visits her the Forensic Sciences webpage and learns about Field Schools and Internship Courses. But wait, the Department of Historical Studies also has an internship course!
Ananya searches ‘community-engaged learning’ on the UTM website and finds information about Social Innovation Projects organized by the Centre for Student Engagement.
Ananya applies to a Work Study position with the UTM Accessibility Services team and is hired. She is grateful to the UTM Career Centre for their helpful interview tips!
Student Funding Support
Bursaries, grants and awards such as the Experiential Learning Bursaries Program at the University of Toronto Mississauga, are designed to reduce financial barriers and help alleviate some of the costs associated with experiential learning opportunities. Contact an academic advisor or your registrar’s office if you’re looking for information on the funding available to support your pursuit of an experiential learning opportunity. You might also review Award Explorer, a database that will help you to explore the diverse funding opportunities available.
Student internship opportunities
Riipen offers two internship programs available to college and university students in Ontario. Riipen is an experiential learning platform helping educators, students and organizations collaborate on real-world projects.
In both of Riipen’s programs, students will collaborate directly with employers (individually or in groups) on projects to help you gain relevant work experience, build professional networks, gain career clarity, and develop your skills. Each project is completed remotely for 80 hours over 2-8 weeks, and grants a $1400 stipend.
- The Level UP program is available to students who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or persons to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; and are legally entitled to work in Canada in accordance with relevant provincial or territorial legislation and regulations. Download information sheet on Level UP.
- The Advance Ontario program is available to all students legally eligible to work in Ontario. International students are eligible and must adhere to the Government of Canada’s regulations for co-op placements and internships for international students. Download information sheet on Advance Ontario.