A closer look at Mt. A’s Experiential Learning opportunities

The first round of Mt. A’s summer internship applications is now open! Facilitated by the Experiential Learning office, these summer internships provide fantastic opportunities for students to get involved in their local communities, gain valuable work experience, and benefit from learning outside of the classroom. The deadline is January 31, so hop to it!

The Experiential Learning (EL) office has numerous placements with local community partners and organizations across Canada, as well as entrepreneurial internships that can help students wishing to kickstart a business or social enterprise. With both remote and on-site opportunities available, this is the perfect place to begin to look for a summer job. The full list can be found under “Student” at experience.mta.ca where students are encouraged to explore the many exciting options.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that these are like any other summer job opportunity. “These particular internship opportunities have been developed with Mt. A students in mind. These are partners who have committed to taking a Mt. A student,” says Rebecca Leaman of the EL office, who is at the forefront of helping students find their perfect fit. Students would also be working through the Summer Internship Program that offers training and support throughout the duration of the internship. With a Mt. A supervisor supporting your goals through reflections and assessments, you are sure to make the most out of your experience with a Mt. A summer internship.

These internships “are designed for you to meet your academic and career goals,” says Leaman, who highlighted the importance of being able to articulate what you learned at the end of an experience, to reflect on your own development, and to share with a future employer.

The first step to applying for these summer internships is to log into experience.mta.ca with your Mt. A username and password. Experience MTA is where applications are submitted, and full details of what each position requires are on the website as well. Generally, students need an up-to-date resume and a targeted cover letter.

When asked what makes a student stand out during the application process, Leaman said: “Their preparation! Research! Understanding what you want to get out of the internship, and what you can do for your host.” Knowing why this opportunity would help you both professionally and academically allows you to approach the internship with an optimistic and driven mind. In Leaman’s words, “It means a lot to a host or employer to know that you care enough to be well prepared.”

There is also the opportunity for Design Your Own (DYO) internships, where students seek funding for internships that they have complete control over designing. This opportunity “allows you to be creative and explore organizations and opportunities that you might not typically see a job advert for,” says Leaman. Plus, organizations are very eager to hire someone who is already fully funded. This flexible option could seem quite daunting, but fear not! The EL team is ready to help. The team “can help you approach a host organization, come up with a project/plan to meet your academic and career goals, and help you write an application to fund it,” says Leaman. Note that DYO internships can be either international or domestic, meaning opportunities abound right from your own desk.

When thinking about a DYO internship, you should think about what kind of organization you want to work for and what kind of role you’d like to have within it. Some students like to be one of a few people in a business, others like to be a part of big teams working on large-scale projects. Leaman recommended thinking of a DYO internship as a “passion project” to help students narrow their focus down to what they really want to do. The EL office offers an email template for reaching out to organizations and other resources if you are not sure where to start. To access these check out www.mta.ca/internships or email careers@mta.ca for advice.

The EL office is a goldmine of resources for students in any stage of their academic, professional, and career development. Many do not know that they provide help with graduate school applications, personal statements, resumes, interview skills, LinkedIn, and how to communicate professionally.

The EL office also facilitates the funding and reporting of several cool opportunities in many classrooms. For example, BIOL 336’s Developing Skills in Field Biology and Environmental Conservation independent research experiences and SOCI 3751’s Student Leadership Advocacy 4 Youth project were funded through Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada i-Hub. This year the EL office has Rivers Corbett working as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to provide “some amazing opportunities to speak with entrepreneurs, and to get mentorship.” His Tuesday Talks are an informal space to chat with Canadian entrepreneurs, a “very rewarding form of experiential learning” for students.

The deadline for both regular and DYO internships is January 31, so head on over to experience.mta.ca to apply. Good luck!

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