Students can earn a letter of recognition for their international experience

After graduation, students need more than diplomas to land their first job. They need experience, references and documents supporting that experience. To address this vital need, York has developed the Letter of Recognition – International Experience.

Akane Nishimoto (MED ’07) (centre), a graduate of York’s Education in Language, Culture & Teaching program, with students in Kenya in 2006

Introduced by the Office of the Associate Vice-President International, the letter lists an undergraduate’s international activities and courses with international curriculum. During the 2006-2007 academic year, 141 Letters of Recognition (LOR) were distributed.

Such letters can help make students attractive to employers because it shows their willingness to explore the world beyond their own backyard, says Paula Wilson, York’s acting associate vice-president international. This type of experience is of immense importance in today’s globalized economies and infrastructure. As such, LORs of international experience can enhance student CVs and improve job prospects, Wilson says.

“International experiences can be transformative for students, and we wanted to develop a better way to help students highlight or market this valuable part of their education,” said Wilson. “The letter of recognition is an excellent solution, and we have been very pleased with the response we are seeing from students. Interestingly, there is also a lot of interest from international offices at other institutions, so I expect to see this innovative approach become more popular.”

To be eligible for the letter students must earn a total of 60 points in at least two of three categories of activity: international education, international and language courses, and co-curricular international experiences. Points are awarded for involvement in various programs, projects, clubs and groups. The deadline for completing 60 points for the next round of letters is Jan. 28, 2008. All students granted LORs will be honoured at a special reception held in the spring.

For more information about the Letter of Recognition – International Experience, as well as application details, click here.

This story was submitted to YFile by Rob Read, Web communications and publications assistant in York’s Office of the Associate Vice-President International.