The IDS Co-op Program at the University of Toronto Scarborough began in 1984 as a revolutionary undergraduate program in the burgeoning field of international development. Pairing a rigorous academic program with the practical knowledge of field work, the IDS program was the first of its kind in Canada. While many institutions have offered overseas volunteer or study positions, the opportunity to work within the professional arena of development as an undergraduate intern is a rare opportunity.
The program’s first year of placement students in 1986 saw 9 students working in 8 countries across the globe, and since then has grown to over 350 graduates having worked in 72 countries and over 80 different organizations worldwide. While the program offers a unique opportunity to its undergraduate students, it also provides partner organizations with talented, motivated, and passionate interns in a way that seeks to replace students in key partner programs annually in order to maintain sustainability. The IDS Co-op Program at the University of Toronto Scarborough continues to be an innovative program with a strong and committed student body, growing with the changes of the international development community to provide the next generation of development practitioners.
For a more in-depth recounting of the history of the IDS program at the University of Toronto Scarborough, please read Professor Albert Berry’s essay “Meandering Reflections on the Creation and Evolution of the IDS Program”.