The director of my program asked fix the exchange program at the University of Waterloo…
It seemed like a daunting task at first especially because there were really no instructions, just a contract and a time limit but I was truly grateful for the trust choosing me for this role meant.
As a student who was supposed to go on exchange but didn’t end up going, I knew only too well the frustrations of the process. The first thing I did was make a list of all the issues I had run into including my AP courses not being counted for schools that didn’t offer enough credits, mixed term dates, schools with the same names in the same cities but different timelines etc. I had run into a lot of problems but I can’t see the whole issue.
So my first step was to interview everyone. I went to the heads of Waterloo International as well as the program coordinator to find out what resources there were for the students as well as what was the responsibility of the student to research. I then interviewed students to understand where the confusion was and where the disconnect was occurring. The last step was to go on all of the websites of the Universities that were open for application to compile and sort all the relevant information I could find.
What I came up with to ease the exchange process for future students was:
- A shortlist of schools that students could go to that accepted art students, had our required courses and didn’t conflict with our internships
- A step by step guide for students to use when applying, detailing what to expect and when to expect it
- The groundwork for a yearly presentation that explained the process to students to ease their anxiety
- An infographic that is shown on the three-story Stratford Campus Christie Digital Wall during exchange time for all the students to reference
Students were very happy with what I came up with and many have expressed how much help all of these things are. I really enjoyed this contract because it allowed me to think analytically as well as creatively to come up with a solution that would help the rest of my peers after me. Most of all it’s nice a nice feeling to know your work mattered and is still useful and helping people and so I am really grateful to Jane for trusting me with this level of responsibility.