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A unique Indigenous exchange program

A student stands wearing an animal pelt that has stories and images etched into the hide.

As the first known exchange of its kind, the UVic Indigenous International Work Integrated Learning Exchange Program (IIWIL) was launched in 2015 to connect Indigenous students with work and learning opportunities with Indigenous communities in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

About the exchange

A key element of this exchange is Indigenous community engagement and the sharing of historical, cultural, and traditional ways of knowing and being. 

The program is a partnership between the UVic’s Co-operative Education Program and Career Services and the Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement, with funding from the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships Fund.

UVic students complete work terms with Indigenous centres at these institutions, while incoming Australian and New Zealand students take part in UVic’s LE,NOṈET and complete a community-engaged learning experience.

For UVic students

As an Indigenous co-op student at UVic, you could travel to Australia to take part in a unique Indigenous co-op exchange.

You'll complete a work term that connects you to Indigenous people and communities in Australia through one of these 3 partners:

How to take part

Contact David Busch, the Indigenous co-op coordinator to learn more. 

For Australian students

If you're an Indigenous student from one of UVic's partner institutions (University of Newcastle, Macquarie University and RMIT University in Australia) and take part in the exchange, you'll participate in the LE,NONET Preparation Seminar and take additional coursework at UVic for 4 months. You'll be supported by the IACE office during your time at UVic. 

Next, you'll take part in a LE,NONET community internship for 3 weeks. 


Australian students can engage in the program from:

  • September 1 to January 31
  • January 2 to May 31

How to take part

Contact the international office at your institution or your Indigenous centre.

Success stories

Students have described their IIWIL experiences as "life changing". Learn more about what exchange experiences can look like:

  • Shireen Foroghi (political science) is Cree-Métis and travelled to Australia for a work term at Walanga Muru - Macquarie University.
  • Sydney Moore (a Métis woman studying Indigenous Studies and history) completed a co-op in Australia as a “visiting Métis scholar” at Walanga Muri - Maquarie University.
  • Lisa Schnitzler (English and Indigenous studies) spent a co-op term with the policy and impact team in the Office of Indigenous Education and Engagement at RMIT.
  • Kennedy Roulston (Métis) and Sophia Speier (Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw from Kingcome Inlet), which is part of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation) went on co-op exchange at Macquarie University’s Walanga Muru.