Student stories

English and Indigenous studies student completes co-op in in Melbourne, Australia

Lisa Schnitzler

Office of Indigenous Education and Engagement at RMIT

My name is Lisa Schnitzler and I majored in English and minored in Indigenous studies at UVic.

Why did you choose UVic?

I chose UVic because of the environment on campus. I have friends who are alumni and they highly recommended UVic. When I visited for a tour, I fell in love with the beauty of our campus and Victoria. I have always loved writing so I chose the English program. I took a few Indigenous Studies classes in my second year and developed a passion for finding a shared future between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples. I had a fantastic experience in both programs, and met many great mentors and teachers along the way.

How did you hear about co-op?

In my first year, I was a Co-op and Career ambassador. By volunteering for this program, I learned a lot about the co-op program and its benefits. Graduating with practical and relevant career experience is invaluable to kick starting a career after university. 

Why did you choose to participate in co-op?

Work experience cannot compare to classroom learning. They are equally important, but you need both to graduate with the right competencies to start your career. I am learning practical skills that I did not have a chance to learn in the classroom. 

Getting a job right out of university can be quite difficult, but co-op has allowed me to grow as a professional to be ready to enter the work force. I am not focused on obtaining a specific career, I look forward to using the skills I have learned to take me on many different journeys. 

What did you learn during your last co-op experience?

I am currently completing a Work Integrated Learning Experience in Melbourne, Australia. I am a member of the Policy and Impact team within the Office of Indigenous Education and Engagement at RMIT. Working in Australia has opened me up to so many new ways of thinking regarding Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, and reconciliation. I have been conducting research in regards to reconciliation at the university. I have also had the opportunity to sit in meetings focused on strategic planning at RMIT. The people I work with everyday inspire me in many ways. They are committed to Indigenous sovereignty and invest their lives towards making positive change. I feel lucky and privileged to be working alongside everyone in the Office of Indigenous Education and Engagement. 

How has co-op impacted your classroom learning?

I cannot wait to bring back the knowledge I have learned on this term to UVic. With our current Indigenous Plan, we have so many opportunities to see real outcomes that directly benefit our Indigenous community. I have a lot of work ahead of me. 

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