Engage North

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About Engage North:

  • What is Engage North?
    Engage North is a University of Alberta organization that is pan-disciplinary and operates with the ongoing support of Community Partners. Engage North’s mission is to facilitate a stronger relationship between the North and the South through the fulfilment of community-driven projects and connection to Southern resources. We are founded on respect for Indigenous peoples and cultures. For the team behind Engage North, see Contact Us (ADD LINK).
  • Where is Engage North located?
    Engage North’s hub is in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The program is a subdivision of Ualberta North. For more information, please see our Contact Us (link?) page. Engage North Community Partners are located in Chateh (formerly Assumption), Alberta; Boyer River, Alberta; Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; and Pangnirtung, Nunavut.

Questions About Internships:

Before the internship:

  • How do I apply?
    Please see How to Apply for more details.
  • When will I hear back about my application?
    Internship details are usually posted on this website at the beginning of March for the upcoming summer term. Candidates are selected for interviews near the end of March, followed by selection of interns in early-mid April.
  • Do I have to be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident of Canada to work for Engage North?
    No. Any University of Alberta undergraduate in good standing and studying a discipline related to their preferred internship may apply for Engage North internships.
  • Are interns reimbursed for their work?
    Interns are issued an award as compensation for the work they do for their communities and Engage North. The award includes a food stipend to offset the cost of groceries while the intern is living in the community.
  • Is there training? How much?
    There is training involved with this internship. Training begins in early May, with interns leaving for their respective communities in the third week of May. Relevant coping and safety skills are taught to prepare interns for the different aspects of isolation, small population and First Nations culture that they might experience. Training involves workshops and online modules, such as Bear and Fire Extinguisher Safety through the University of Alberta EHS. An introduction to Indigenous culture and values and the basics of blogging are also components of training for this position, among other programs. Interns are also asked to complete Standard First Aid and CPR Level C before departing to their communities.
  • How will I travel to the community? How will I get back?
    Engage North will provide transportation to get to the community you will stay in, typically by plane. If you wish to bring a car to your placement, Engage North will reimburse your gas and travel expenses up to the cost of a plane ticket (typically $450 dollars).

During the internship:

  • Am I allowed to drink/party/go out to clubs/get married to someone I meet/etc. while I’m in the community?
    When hired, interns are required to sign a contract detailing their job placements and terms of employment while living in their respective communities. This internship is a placement through the University of Alberta and as such, interns are expected to behave as professionals and adhere to the Student Code of Conduct for the duration of their time in the North. The cultural expectations of Northern and First Nations communities are different than what you may be used to in the South, so interns must be cognizant of their reputation and the reputation of Engage North at all times during their internship.
  • Can I have visitors (family, friends) to where I’m staying in the community?
    Interns are asked not to invite friends or family to the community for the duration of their stay in order to facilitate an immersive community experience. Interns are welcome to have guests from the community in their accomodations, provided that the interns follow their terms of their employment and ask others using the facilities (roommate, host family, landlord) first.
  • Do I have to go to community events? What if I don’t know anyone?
    Interns are expected and encouraged to engage with their host communities at any or all community gatherings and events, particularly cultural events. Remember that you are not only there to work, but to learn about life in Northern communities. Cultural events are a vital part of this experience. Further, interns are connected with Community Supervisors at the time of hiring, so they will always have at least one friendly face at community gatherings until they meet more community members.
  • What happens if I have to leave the community?
    Sometimes, exceptional circumstances dictate that interns must leave the community during their placement. Interns are expected to make every effort to stay for the duration of their internship, but Engage North can accommodate interns leaving the community for extenuating reasons, like bereavement or medical emergency.
  • What should I bring with me? What kinds of amenities are provided?
    A detailed packing list is provided during training. The accommodations are usually stocked with necessary kitchenware for cooking. Interns are expected to provide their own meals for the duration of the internship, unless they are invited to a community member’s house or community event. This is supplemented by the food stipend given as a part of their award. Interns are also encouraged to bring more than enough medication and toiletries to last the summer due to the remoteness of the communities and the high prices of these items in the North.
  • Where do interns live while in the community?
    Arrangements are made by Engage North in the host community for the duration of your stay. Different types of accommodations have been utilized in the past, such as billeting, apartments, even staying in lofts at a fire hall.

After the internship:

  • I’m having a really hard time adjusting back to university life. What should I do?
    Interns often find transitioning back to university challenging after spending the summer in the North. Cultural values and expectations are very different, and interns may find that they have a period of difficulty coping with the fast pace of life and large population at university. Interns are encouraged to keep connected with their host communities through Facebook or other means, as well as staying in touch with their fellow interns as they process their experiences and memories. Other supports can be suggested or provided as needed to ensure the intern has a successful transition.
  • Is there any work to do once I leave the community?
    Interns are required to attend a debriefing session at the end of August to share their experience with their peers and Engage North staff. Also, as a part of the terms of employment, interns are requested to attend events, meetings or volunteering opportunities following their internship if Engage North feels their presence would be valuable and appreciated.