Welcome to our new (and returning) international students!
We are thrilled to be a part of your journey during your time at the Faculty of Information, and we look forward to learning about you and your experiences while you make lifelong friendships and get exposed to a range of educational and professional opportunities as part of your studies.
The past year has been a challenging one for many, and as we brace for this new academic year, we will continue to work closely with a range of units and services to provide international students with the support they require as we transition into in-person courses and to a safe return to campus.
This section of the website includes information and resources for international students. Some are specific to the Faculty of Information while others are university-wide resources and services. Please familiarize yourself with this content and do not hesitate to reach out if you have any specific issues or matters that require further consultation. We are here to help.
We wish you all a wonderful year ahead!
Prof. Nadia Caidi, on behalf of the International Student Engagement Team
UXD Concentration, Class of 2021
“The professional practicum program not only trained me how to use my academic knowledge in the professional workspace, but it also taught me how to navigate through the varying sorts of complex projects that await me in my career. What I valued the most was the freedom to select these projects based on our own preferences. I got to decide in which domain or industry I wanted to apply my skills and learn.”
With a Bachelor of Technology and now an MI, Vatsal likes to use his skills and knowledge to help people think differently. Before studying at the Faculty of Information, Vatsal worked in the supply chain, healthcare, automobile, banking and finance sectors in India, Korea, Indonesia and the U.S. He is now working as a UX designer in cyber-security at Trend Micro, a multinational software company.
UXD Concentration, Class of 2021
“The Co-op program provided me with the opportunity to apply concepts I learned in class in an actual working environment. As I transition my career from graphic design and animation to UX design and research, the experience I gained at my placement has given me confidence and equipped me with the knowledge and skills required to take on the industry. I would highly recommend the Co-op program to anyone looking for valuable industry experience.”
After finishing her MI, Melissa began an internship conducting research on promoting equity in online learning through understanding and supporting cognitive needs. This research is part of a Mitacs grant internship and is a partnership between U of T and D2L, a learning and teaching software company, where Melissa did her co-op placement as an accessibility coordinator. Melissa especially appreciated how the Faculty of Information community made it easy for her to adapt and transition to life in Canada.
UXD Concentration, Class of 2021
“My 8-month co-op experience allowed me to develop stronger practical skills and discover my strengths and weaknesses. As an international student who had never worked in Canada before, it also exposed me to the complexities of working in a real workplace here. My co-op experience truly helped me grow from a student to a professional.”
Maggie is passionate about crafting digital designs that take into account the physical world, user needs, human experience and business values. Maggie completed her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Information and Technology at Western University before coming to the Faculty of Information. She is currently a Product Designer at Loblaw Digital in Toronto.
UXD Concentration, Class of 2021
“The Co-op program enriched my understanding of UX design beyond the theoretical level. It was an eye-opening experience that enlightened me on the business priorities or constraints in different professional practices, inspiring me to stay resilient and further deepen my craft as a junior UX designer.“
Before her time at the Faculty of Information, Yidan worked in media communication and digital marketing, and gained overseas experience in China, Greece and Serbia. Her curiosity about user needs led to a career pivot and return to school.. After a co-op placement in financial services, Yidan began work as a UX designer at TD Bank, one of Canada’s top five commercial banks.
UXD Concentration, Class of 2021
“I had a great time working with the Ontario Digital Service (ODS). I learned so much from the team at ODS and grew my skill set as a UX researcher. Also, the great work-life balance and excellent work environment provided by the team helped me realize the kind of work culture I would want to work in the future.”
Mehak has recently completed her co-op as a User Experience Researcher at the provincial government’s Ontario Digital Service. Some of the projects she worked on include the Covid-19 Data Visualization project, Ontario Vaccine Booking service, and Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. Working with the ODS has helped Mehak assimilate into Canadian culture and adapt better to a new environment as an International student.
Examples of Faculty International Research
Professor Foscarini’s research on information culture involves international collaboration with scholars and practitioners from New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Fiji, The Netherlands, and more recently, China and Iceland. She is currently collaborating with Monash University (AUS), the University of Amsterdam (NL), Renmin University (China), and the University of Iceland (Iceland) on a project about the impact of COVID-19 on record keeping. She is interested in issues of language and translation, and has recently worked with archival scholars from Italy, Finland, Slovenia, and Iceland on a study looking at how the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been translated in those countries. She is an active member of the Italian national archival association ANAI (Associazione Nazionale Archivistica Italiana).
Read more about Professor Foscarini’s experience here.
Over the last years, Professor Nieborg has done research on the economics of platform companies, apps, and journalism together with scholars at Utrecht University (NL), the University of Amsterdam (NL), the University of Groningen (NL), Cornell University (US), University of Wisconsin Madison (US), University College London (UK), Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), and the University of Oregon (US).
He held visiting positions at MIT (US), the Queensland University of Technology (AUS), and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (HK).
In 2021, he started contributing to the Global Media and Internet Concentration (GMIC) Project; a 7-year SSHRC Partnership Grant that includes 50 scholars from 30 countries.
Read more about Professor Nieborg’s experience here.
Professor Battershill is involved in the Modernist Archives Publishing Project (MAPP), a long-term international collaboration with funding from the AHRC and SSHRC. She works with colleagues at the University of Reading (UK), Stanford University (US), the University of Oregon (US), and Purdue University (US).
MAPP is a critical digital archive of early twentieth-century publishing history. The goal of this site is to display, curate, and describe the documents that go into the making of a book and to digitize and bring together diverse archival collections. International library and institutional partners include the Harry Ransom Center, the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library, the University of Sussex, Stanford University’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), Washington Pullman Special Collections, and Smith Library. The website can be found at www.modernistarchives.com
Professor Battershill has also held a visiting position at the University of Oxford at St. Hugh’s College.
Read more about Professor Battershill’s experience here.
Professor Tang has worked with colleagues at the National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University, and Tohoku University in Japan. He also hosts students through the Mitacs Globalink Research Internship.
Recently, Professor Tang collaborated with students in Singapore to investigate the motivations and practices of mukbang viewers and published the findings at the 2020 SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
Read more about Professor Tang’s experience here.
Professor Caidi has been involved in a range of international collaborations both as part of her research as well as her service to the information science community. She has had ongoing collaborations with U.S.-based colleagues for the past two decades. She has also collaborated with colleagues in Australia (University of Melbourne, RMIT), Brazil (Brasilia), India (Univ. of Calcutta), Finland (Abo Akademi), France (various sites) and Morocco (Ecole des Sciences de l’Information). She was the President of the International Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) in 2016 and sits on several editorial boards of US-based journals as well as on the board of journals from Poland, Spain, India, and Morocco.
Read more about Professor Caidi’s experience here.
What kind of academic support does the Faculty of Information provide for international students?
International students are supported throughout their studies at the Faculty with counselling on academic matters in order to fulfill the requirements for their program of study. This is done primarily through the Student Services office, but also through the liaisons for the various programs and concentrations (the list is enclosed below). For non-academic matters, such as immigration-related questions, health insurance or life in Canada, students are advised to check the Center for International Experience (CIE) website and book appointments with counsellors who can answer their queries or direct them to other resources as required. International students also have access to a wide range of student-centred services from writing to mental health support, access to the huge network of UofT libraries, and a range of student and professional groups. International students can also take classes in other units, and can devise their own coop or internship opportunities, in consultation with the Student Services team.
What advice can you give to international students to achieve academic success?
There is a fair amount of reading that you can expect in each and every course, so plan your time accordingly, and try and come prepared to the class having completed as much of the readings as you can.
In most classes, you will be expected to share your opinions about some of the ideas from the reading or other course materials. Come prepared, and do not hesitate to raise your hand as some faculty do not always “call out” students but expect that students will come forward with their ideas or comments. As much as possible, keep your intervention short and concise.
Plan your term and anticipate deadlines and submissions. Do not leave assignments for the last minute, and instead plan rigorously to manage your workload. For example, early in the term, write down the due dates for all the assignments in your various courses and work incrementally toward the submission deadlines.
Many courses require group work and/or group presentations. Plan accordingly. If you are not comfortable with speaking in front of the class, or need help with improving your group work skills, there are resources available at the Faculty and at CIE and Student Services. Attend these workshops and hone these skills. Reach out to your professor as well, and discuss your particular situation.
How do I approach professors for advice?
Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member.
There is a list of concentration liaisons for the MI (as well as liaisons for the other programs – BI, MMSt, PhD). Feel free to reach out to the liaisons for questions about the concentration or the program. For specific courses, it is best to reach out to the individual faculty directly. https://ischool.utoronto.ca/current-students/student-services/help-hub-2-0/
Can I find and arrange my own co-op work or practicum experience abroad? Do international internships qualify for credits?
Yes, students can arrange their own co-op opportunities and they can be local or abroad. The opportunity must first be submitted to the Careers Office for review and approval to ensure it meets the Co-op program’s requirements. Please visit the Careers page or reach out to the Career Office for more information.
How do I connect with other international students and domestic students in my program?
In addition to meeting up with others during class or through the social activities, there are other means through which you can connect with other international students. These include:
What are some ways to develop leadership skills as an international student?
- Get involved with groups, organizations, and clubs. They offer the opportunity to be involved in an interest while also having the opportunity to take leadership.
- Speak with a MISC International Student Representative about what they do, and eventually volunteer to become one.
- The Professional Development Committee promotes internal and external personal and professional opportunities through social media.
- MI students can reach out to the Professional Development Committee for further conversation about their personal growth needs.
- Student-sponsored initiatives offer students the opportunity to organize and lead their own initiative (MISC can cover some of the expenses upon approval).
- Leadership workshops and opportunities are listed on CLNx which can be added to your co-curricular.
- Form a working group. A working group is a group that focuses on a particular issue, advocate for that group in the faculty and potentially across campus, that has influence in MISC and is allowed a budget to help achieve their goals. This can be accomplished through events, workshops, awareness, etc.
Does the Faculty of Information offer in-person and online networking events for international students?
Yes, make sure to take advantage of our events, workshops, and keynote speakers to network with peers, academics, and professionals. Some are specifically designed for the needs of international students. If you want to organize an event, feel free to reach out and we can support/publicize your initiative.
I want to connect with past or current international students from my home country. How can I find them?
Connect with alumni on Discord on our alumni and international student channels. We are also collaborating with FIAA (the Faculty of Information Alumni Association) to connect current international students with international alumni.
Does the Faculty of Information offer international collaboration or research opportunities for students?
Yes, there are ample possibilities for international students to engage in international collaboration or research opportunities. This can be done in various ways:
- Check regularly with the Centre for International Experience (CIE) about the options available to you.
- Familiarize yourself with institutional agreements that the University and the Faculty of Information have with partner institutions around the world. These MOUs allow our students to spend part of their studies abroad. Make sure to check the eligibility requirements.
- You can also engage in international collaboration through the research programs of faculty members. Make sure to speak with professors or check the “Examples of Faculty International Research”.
Do you have any advice for international students thinking of joining the Faculty of Information?
To make the most of your time with us, remember that academics are only one aspect of your learning. You should consider joining social and cultural groups to meet new friends and experience Toronto and Canada; professional associations to network and learn about recent trends; sports or other leisure clubs to relax and enjoy.
You can also hear about the experiences of other University of Toronto international students in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxQiuoKhtvs