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Get Experience

There are three broad areas where you can get experience:


Experiential opportunties

(for credit)

Experiential opportunities

(not for credit)

Post-graduation opportunities


With all experiences, you will gain knowledge and develop valuable skills.  Some experiences may focus more on personal development such as leadership. 

"On-the-job" experiences offer you the chance to further your insight into a career field without involving a major commitment. You will be able to ask a lot of questions about the job and you will see the different aspects of the work involved on a first-hand basis.

As you engage in the following opportunities, you will be able to expand your network of professional and personal contacts.  Some of these contacts who get to know you and your work, could also be approached to be a reference.

Also check out Trent's Experiential Learning page.

Experiential Opportunties (for credit)


  • Experiential education at Trent is broadly defined as any active learning that enriches one's academic experience.
  • Active learning involves direct experience with focused reflection, followed by the emergence of new insights or learning. 
  • One key element of active learning is being able to understand the skills and knowledge gained and then being able to transfer this learning to other situations or settings


Experiential Learning can...       

  • help you to earn academic credit
  • have a positive effect on your academic and personal development
  • strengthen the development of important life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, self confidence and leadership abilities
  • create an opportunity to confirm your choice of major
  • expand your network of both business and personal contacts
  • help you to gain professional work experience prior to graduation, thereby enhancing your marketability


Types of Experiential Education
Field Course/Work A field course involves first-hand, face-to-face collection of data. This allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of the research that they are doing, while providing real-life experiences. Trent offers field courses and work primarily in the sciences
Lab-based Course/Lab Work A lab-based course is an experiential component, in which students practice, apply and test the theories that they have learned in a classroom environment. Lab work allows students to gain first-hand knowledge and experience of research methods.
Thesis Students design and execute a major piece of research under the supervision of departmental faculty. A thesis can be worth up to two course credits.
Reading Course A course designed to allow advanced students to pursue independent study under the direction of departmental faculty.
Practicum A practicum affords a student the opportunity to put into practice what he/she has learned, under the supervision of someone more experienced and usually with a reflective self assessment/development component. These placements tend to occur  in professional programs and programs of applied arts and science intended to lead to a clear field of careers, such as Child Studies, Social Work, Nursing and Teacher Education. They are a component of the student's course of study, and are unpaid.
Internship An internship is defined as an extended work placement that allows you to gain career-related experience during or following the completion of your formal education.  The Trent Business Administration Program has a for-credit Internship Course
Community-Based Education Program

The Trent Community Research Centre is a cooperative initiative that facilitates community-based research and experiential learning. The program provides opportunities for students, faculty and local organizations to pool their resources and work together on community-inspired projects that enhance the social, environmental, cultural or economic health of our community.  Vist the Trent Community Research Centre web site.

Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad allows students to look beyond their own borders and gain a wider perspective of global issues and concerns. First-hand experience in another country increases knowledge of foreign cultures and the international community, enhancing understanding of global issues. Studying abroad also adds a new perspective to academics. It allows students to expand upon their skills within a different cultural environment. Students gain the opportunity to expand their language skills, as well as the opportunity to become involved in community development. Vist the Trent Study Abroad Program website


Experiential opportunities (not for credit)

Summer Jobs / Part-time Jobs

Part-time and summer jobs should serve to do more than fund your schooling. In looking for part-time / summer employment, consider using it as another opportunity to explore career options.


Of course not everyone will be able to find work in the exact field they are interested in exploring. Nevertheless, you can still use the job as an opportunity to develop some of the key skills you are likely to need in the career of your choice. For example, if you think that one day you are likely to go into management, look for opportunities that will give you supervising, planning or organizing experience. If you know that you need to increase your confidence in working with people, take a job that will require you to interact with the public to some extent.

On-campus jobs are a great way to get experience while still leaving time for studies and extra-curricular activities. Depending on the funding for the position, there may be specific requirements for applying.  The Student Jobs page gives detailed information about the eligibility requirements of on-campus jobs funded by the Trent Work Study Program and the Trent International Program.


Besides the obvious rewards of contributing your time and talents to a worthy cause, voluntarism also has many benefits for the person looking to choose a career path. The "Volunteering Works" booklet, put out by Volunteer Canada, lists the following ways that volunteering boosts your career development:

  • You develop skills and knowledge that can help you get paid work.
  • You gain hands-on work experience
  • You discover the realities of the world of work
  • You learn to market yourself, since volunteering involves an application and interview process, just like a job search
  • You begin developing a network that can make the difference when you are looking for paid work
  • You have the opportunity to explore career options

At this point, it is this last benefit that we are most interested in. In order to use a volunteer experience to its full advantage in finding out what's right for you:

  • Select assignments that place you in the type of setting you want to learn about
  • Ask for as much training as you can get
  • Ask to be promoted to more challenging tasks
  • Work side-by-side with professionals who can answer questions about their careers

While most volunteer opportunities are with non-profit organizations, some students have successfully negotiated with employers to serve as a volunteer with their company or business. This is similar to a co-op or placement as part of a school program. In these situations it is important to negotiate with the employer and to have clearly established guidelines. This ensures that the experience is mutually beneficial for both the company and the volunteer.

Volunteering Abroad

Many students are interested in volunteering abroad.  Be aware that often there are fees charged by organizations that coordinate volunteer opportunities.

For more info about volunteering abroad, Trent students have free access to the MyWorldAbroad site. To access it, login to the Student Experience Portal with your Trent login.  Click on the Career Resources link under the Student Job Board heading in the left navigation, and then click on MyWorldAbroad.


Leadership Development


  • Preparing yourself for future leadership roles
  • Developing a positive self image and increased confidence
  • Enhancing skills: communication, active listening, managing/delegating, decision-making/problem-solving
  • Building success attitudes and habits


Leadership skills are often referred to as one of the 'top 10' skills employers want.  As a university student, there are many opportunities for you to develop these valuable skills.

Get involved!  Leadership skills can be developed both on- and off-campus.  On-campus opportunities for leadership include elected positions to College Cabinets and the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA), donning, peer mentoring, student orientation, athletics and intramurals, key leadership roles in the many clubs and groups and other academic and discipline focused student organizations.


The IMPACT Leadership Program is an innovative and exciting leadership program that prepares students to assume a wide variety of leadership roles within the Trent community and beyond. Involvement beyond the classroom is a vital part of your university education, and helps to complement your academic experience. Impact is a certificate program, and an excellent addition to your resume. 

More information on IMPACT


Trent's Co-Curricular Record allows students to document their co-curricular involvement. Any Trent-sanctioned experiences which are co-curricular (non-academic) in nature can be included on a student’s co-curricular record. The ‘record’ can then be used as a tool to facilitate reflection on the skills that the student gained through her/his experiences. The ability to articulate skills gained is very important when applying for employment or graduate school. 

A PDF file of a student’s co-curricular record can be also be accessed, printed off, and added to a portfolio.

For more information about the Co-Curricular Record.

Video about Trent's Co-Curricular Record!


Job Shadowing

A job shadow is an arrangement made with an employer or worker to permit you to accompany them as they carry out their regular work routine. You may have an opportunity to assist in small ways, but essentially your role is to observe. This can be an excellent way of getting a feel for an occupation that you are considering, but have little or no knowledge of what is entailed in that type of work on a day-to-day basis.

Internship (not for credit)

There are a wide range of internships that student can do during the summer or after they graduate. Internships vary, each having their own requirements for eligibility. They can be paid or unpaid and generally last between three to twelve months. All internship opportunities received by the Trent Career Centre are posted on the online Job Board.

The Trent Business Administration Program offers an Internship Course as well.


Post-Graduation Opportunities

For new graduates, internships are a way to "try on" an organization or job to see if it's a good fit.  Skills and knowledge developed while on an internship can be used to move forward in their career, whether they've been offered a position where they've completed thier internship or not.  Often, an internship includes career development and coaching, mentoring, and access to networks of professional contacts.  Compensation can range from none, a small stipend, to a competitive salary.

Check out our Internship Info Sheet with links to several internship programs with host organizations ranging from sector specific to several levels of government.  Remember, many companies and organizations have intership programs for new graduates.

One very special PAID internship available to Trent students is the Peter Gzowski CBC Radio Internship.  The intern will receive a week of training in the basics of Radio Production at CBC Radio in Toronto.  They will spend the rest of the internship getting first-hand experience in contributing to radio programming in a variety of ways.


Information on Internships

Interested in looking into internship programs?

To get you started, check out our Internship Info Sheet with links to several internship programs. Also go to the Internship section of our Links page.






Words of Advice

At a recent Internship Panel, former interns and employers of interns spoke about their experiences. Read what one of the panellists has to say about internships and tips that all Trent students should know when considering applying for internships.

News Story by Allie


Internship Program Considerations

When researching potential internships, consider the following:

  • In order to participate, do you have to be a graduate or can you be a current student?
  • What level of student are they looking for (masters degree, undergraduate degree, etc.)?
  • Is the internship specific to a certain academic discipline?
  • Is there a language requirement?
  • What is the duration of the internship? Are there several starting dates?
  • Where will you be interning? Are there choices in terms of location?
  • How many internships are available?
  • What is the application process? Deadline?
  • Is this a paid or unpaid position? Is there a stipend given (small allowance)?
  • What arrangements, if any, are made for housing?
  • What do you need to know about health and medical insurance? Inoculations?
  • What costs will you be responsible for?
  • What would your work schedule be like? Will you have any free time?
  • Do you have to be a Canadian resident or citizen to participate?
    Can you participate if you have a student visa?
  • Can you contact any previous interns to ask about their experience?