Every winter semester the biggest question that pops up in every student’s head is “What should I do in the summer?”. Deciding what to do and achieving it is by itself a job which most students undertake in the winter semester. As Engineers, our go-to option usually is an internship in a field we would like to work in. During my third year, I found out about many other opportunities which I believe would be beneficial to most students.
- NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards: It is a research award which is applicable for canadian citizens or permanent residents who are in their second year of undergraduate study or higher. The forms come out at the start of the winter semester. Through this, you can apply to specific research topics you like and can get selected based on your resume and cover letter, as long as you have a professor willing to supervise you. Check with your department for the application process since it varies from department to department.
- General research position: Many professors are looking for students who they have taught during the semester to help them with their research. Go to the office hours of the course you like and ask the professor about their research. If it is something you’re interested in, you can directly talk to the professor. This makes the procedure of getting a research way easier as there is no need to fill a form and the professor already knows you which helps in making a good decision. Unlike the USRA, it’s open to all students, however the professor may be less willing to fully fund you without the funding from NSERC.
- International research positions through the Centre of International Experience (CIE): You can apply for research abroad in the fall semester to multiple universities in different countries. After getting selected by the university, you get the choice to select the research you like and then join that team over the summer. It’s a fantastic opportunity as you not only get to explore a new country but also develop new skills while working on interesting projects you love. (https://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/cie)
- NASA Internship: I have great news for all you space geeks here. NASA has announced internships in Canada which start this year! The application comes out in the fall semester. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would recommend you give it a shot. (https://intern.nasa.gov)
- Junior Deep: This is an outreach program for school students done by the university. Students can apply to be instructors where they would either be assigned to teach or talk to students in GTA and promote engineering. Some of these are paid positions. (https://outreach.engineering.utoronto.ca/pre-university-programs/jr-deep/)
Summer is a great time to try out new things and these opportunities are a great way to explore what you really like. In case, none of these work, you can always take some courses at the university or online along with a part time job, or even get a certification in machining, business models and innumerable other things. The possibilities are endless! Don’t lose hope if you don’t get an internship during the summer. You decide where your future lies.