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Ing. Tomáš Babulák, VSB - Technical University of Ostrava, ročník 5

Faculty USP
Field of study Mechatronic Systems
Field of internship Engineering, Other
Specialization of InternshipMechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering
Internship period (from - to) 10.7.2017 - 1.4.2018
Internship duration (weeks) 38
Transport (means, price) Airplane, 8000CZK
Insurance/Insurance company Cestovni pojisteni Ceske Sporitelny k uctu (first three months), OHIP
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) yes
Price of Visa 10000CZK (126CAD visa, doctor and police check)
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  Canada, Toronto
Internship reference number CA-2017-000022

About the country

Location of the place

My internship has taken place in Canada, Toronto, the northern part of the city, named North York. Canada seemed to me, in comparison to the Czech Republic, the country where I was born, a rather more "open" place where to live and work, concerning aspects like social and economic ones, exactly the ones that I was in touch with every day and that I came to experience. Also, Canada so far offered me a great career opportunity because of, without being limited to, its proximity to the USA, this being directly linked to my professional activity here cause the company that I work for has some technological exchanges with other companies from the USA which makes it a great environment for improvement.

City

I live and work in Toronto, the capital of the Ontario Province, and the largest city in the country with a population estimated at around 2,7 million inhabitants. The city is well-known for its multicultural aspect and, living here, you can easily observe it on an everyday basis - especially from all of the spoken and written languages that you encounter just by taking a walk down the street. Also, the diversity of the people living here has an immediate effect on the social environment, cause I, for example, can go to Latino dance lessons, have yoga classes and learn Japanese, all in just 10 min walk from my home. Toronto is trying to keep a peaceful and civilized aspect and, overall, I think is one of the greatest city that you can live in now because it's in touch with everything that is actual and modern in the world, becoming even a birthplace of movements and trends.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

Niagara Falls, New York, Algonquin Provincial Park, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Ottawa, Montreal - are all places that you can visit easily, with not so much planning or money required, so anyone can go there for a relaxing weekend, let's say. Also, in Toronto, there are some parks like High Park, that anyone who loves nature and wants to learn a little bit more about the flora and fauna of Ontario, will come to like. The outskirts of Toronto are also easily accessible and they offer a lot of festivals (Maple Syrup Festivals, for example) that anyone interested can visit.



Employer

Employer

InvoDane Engineering is the company that I work for. It's a company which has a partnership with a USA one and together they create and improves the necessary technology for inspecting pipelines. So far, this has been an excellent environment for my own personal and professional growth, because the company offered and trained me in a couple of domains that I was not familiar with - like mechanical and electrical design and assembly. Also, the social aspects of the company helped me to create and easy my way as a newcomer here, due to company events like Christmas Party or monthly barbecues where everyone is involved.

Work description

Mechatronic Designer: programming, data analysis, assembly, troubleshooting, testing. All of them are about developing robots which explore natural gas pipes. The requirements I have to meet monthly are pretty much the standard full-norm ones: 40 hours of work in a week, with a flexible schedule as long as I stay within some decent limits (not exhausting myself in one day, for example).

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

The salary is sufficient for paying rent, paying for food and transit. Also, good enough for small trips or other forms of entertainment in one's spare time. So, overall, from the monthly salary, I can have assured all of the basic needs of a single person. Half of the money is going to rent, as it is the most expensive thing around, and one third is going on food. The remainings can be distributed easily into goings out or other forms of entertainment.

Language requirements

Advanced English with an emphasis on technical vocabulary is what I need on my daily work and, when it comes to the social interaction I think, besides elementary English, there is a need for understanding and being familiar with different types of spoken English.

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

Accommodation depends on where one chooses to live (from 600$ to 1100$ per month/room/single person). Accommodation is not provided by company or IAESTE and, in my case, I was able to find it on a local website, called Kijiji, the biggest one from this region. Very common is to rent a basement, which is considered to be a cheap and common type of accommodation.

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organised events...)

My experience revolves around several meetings with IAESTE members in a local pub, organized by an IAESTE member, but, so far, the interns working in Toronto or in the close-by regions did not attend the events.

Meeting other foreign students

I did not meet any other foreign students through IAESTE activities, but I have met a couple of them at my work, because they were now employed there and that was a great help for me in the times when I was in need for some advice from someone who dealt with the same things as I do, like guidance about local government policies, for example. Also, I have seen there are some events organized on Facebook, independent from any organization, where anyone can go and meet other foreign students or workers, but I never had the curiosity to attend one.

Sport and culture

Toronto has a really wide area of opportunities when it comes to leisure time, especially sports and culture. Art galleries, museums, community events, these are the places where I found activities most often, but I assume the sports sector is big as well. Winter sports are easily accessible: hockey and ice skating being the most predominant and the most attractive in the winter time. From November to March there are a lot of skate rings open, the nicest one in the center of the city, right in front of The Toronto Library, and also they have some free programmes to attend where you can learn how to skate.
Another thing that I think is worthy of being noted when it comes to Toronto it concerns the cultural and social movement of local authorities, NGOs, and people to come to terms with the city's past: native people and their persecution.

Food, local specialties

Local food: poutine and if you really want to dive a bit more deeply, there are some places where you can eat traditional aboriginal food (in this case, Inuit meals like seal meat or Bannock)
Other than that, you can find pretty much any type of cuisine. There are neighborhoods like Little Jamaica, Little Greece, Little Italy, China Town, Korea Town and a lot of specialized grocery stores where you can find any dish desired.

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

Internet, telephone and, in general, any form of communication desired is easily accessible. I did not meet any problem in this aspect and I think no one will, having in mind the online communication. The wi-fi is easily accessible in the public spaces and also in pubs and restaurants. Also, I have used a pre-paid SIM to communicate internally.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

Find accommodation close to work as the transit tends to take a lot of time, depending on your location and also, in the winter, the amount of time spent commuting increases. Besides commuting, I don't find anything really troubleshooting. Maybe the social life, cause if you come here alone, like in any place, it takes a bit of time and effort to build some relationships, but, as I mentioned earlier, the city provides a lot of places and events for everyone interested in socializing. For any hobby that someone might have, on a simple Facebook search, there can be found numerous activities involving it, so all one needs is a bit of willingness and patience and the desire to explore the city.

What not to forget with you

Winter clothing if you do not want to purchase them from Canada. Also, some plug adapters for the first days if you come from Europe.

Benefits of the internship

Opportunity to meet people literally from all over the world, excel in your spoken English, career development and fully experience the western life and way of living. Coming from Europe, where a lot of western values are imported, I think it becomes a rather important cultural and personal aspect to know where and they came from and what is their role in the everyday course of life.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

IAESTE Ottawa helped me when it came to visa documents, our cooperation was only by e-mail and they tried to be helpful. Other than that, I had met several times with an IAESTE member from Toronto and she helped me to get a better grasp of what is happening in Toronto or Canada when it comes to professional aspects, especially in the technological domain.

Overall experience with IAESTE

It was a good experience overall, except the fact that some of my questions remained unanswered, even if it should have been among their concerns (i.e questions about visa or health insurance). Except that, I am grateful for the few meetings I had with the local team member which introduced me even to her family in one of our town visits.

Student's website

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Employer's webiste

http://www.invodane.com/
http://www.pipetelone.com/

Other useful links

kijiji.ca
viewit.ca

Other comments

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