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RIELIF Grant launched for 2018-2019

November 12, 2018
Photo by Edwin Luk,

Ryerson student and actor Tetsuyoshi "Alex" Aoki performing in Crossing Borders, a play created in collaboration between Ryerson, London South Bank University and the University of South California, a project which received funding from RIELIF 2017-2018.

Ryerson International Experiential Learning Initiatives Fund (RIELIF) Launched for 2018-2019

We are excited to announce the continuation of RIELIF for it’s second year! In its first iteration during the 2017-2018 academic year we saw 11 Faculty-led proposals come to fruition. Details of the projects can be found below. Congratulations to the faculty and staff members who designed and implemented such extraordinary global learning opportunities for Ryerson students.

This year Ryerson International will provide a total of five grants of $10,000 each in support of the development and pilot of high-impact international experiential learning opportunities. We expect to see participation of 5-10 students per project, while the majority of the funding is intended to directly support student participation. Please note that initiatives moving beyond the pilot stage will not be eligible for funding through the RIELIF grant this year.

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 at 12 p.m. (noon). Projects proposed are expected to align with Ryerson International’s Guidelines for International Experiential Learning. These guidelines, as well as more details regarding eligibility, proposal content, selection methodology and how to apply, can be found on the PDF fileRIELIF Guidelines document, opens in new window. We look forward to receiving this year’s proposals.

If you have questions regarding the RIELIF grants, or require assistance identifying potential partners and resources for project planning and implementation, please be in contact with Emma Wright, Facilitator, Global Learning Initiatives (

2017-2018 RIELIF Recipients:

Dr. Peggy Shannon - Chair and Professor - School of Performance, FCAD
Crossing Borders - London, Los Angeles, Toronto

Crossing Borders is a new play addressing complex cultural, social, educational, and economic challenges of immigration/migration/emigration at “home” and “abroad.” To further build upon an emerging partnership between the theatre/acting/playwriting programs at Ryerson University, London South Bank University, and the University of Southern California, this experiential learning initiative brought together students and faculty to develop a new play that was workshopped in London, Los Angeles, and Toronto, and was then performed in Toronto at the Parodos Festival, opens in new window . The project involved six Ryerson students, one LSBU student and faculty from all participating universities.

Professor George Kapelos - Architectural Science, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science
Greece, Classicism/Modernism/Postmodernity: DIalectics of Architecture and Place

Five students from the Master of Architecture program at Ryerson enrolled in a six-week course (AR8105 Intensive Research Studio and Seminar) through which they spent three weeks at Ryerson undertaking preparatory work and three weeks in Greece. During their time abroad they visited a number of historic sites and worked in Athens on a project with the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) School of Architecture. The project explored the design of interventions into the Keramikos archaeological site in Athens and was undertaken in collaboration with NTUA Architecture students, faculty, and Greek scholars and practitioners in architecture, urbanism and archaeology.

Dr. Adrian Ma - Assistant Professor, School of Journalism, FCAD
Hong Kong 360

Hong Kong 360 was created as an intensive, for-credit six week multimedia documentary course offered by the Ryerson School of Journalism to ten Ryerson students. The group travelled to Hong Kong for two weeks during which students were able to go behind the scenes of the media sector in Hong Kong to develop, report and produce a multi-platform digital feature about democratic development in Hong Kong. The program was undertaken in partnership with the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) allowing for access to the leading regional media organizations (including Bloombery, South China Morning Post, and Google NewsLab). In addition students participated in the N3 Media Conference, external link, opens in new window.

Dr. Frederic Dimanche - Director, Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Managment, TRSM
Community-Based Tourism in Jamaica

A group of eleven students participated in a 14-day trip visiting all parishes of Jamaica. The trip provided students the opportunity to engage with various tourism stakeholders, from NGO volunteers, to entrepreneurs and government officials. The focus of the Jamaica Experiential Learning tourism course was for students to gain a first-hand experience meeting, travelling with, and observing how professionals and policy makers manage and market tourism in a real-world context. Building on their Ryerson courses and experiences, students gained an integrated perspective and insight into community development, sustainable economic growth, and other elements that determine the success and challenges that affect hospitality and tourism operations in the Caribbean. Students had the opportunity to learn from stakeholders as well as to contribute to shaping the development of community tourism in the region.*

*Please note that this description was corrected on November, 17, 2018

Dr. Kristiina Valter Mai - Associate Professor, Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science
FEAS Students to India with Amrita University Live-in-Labs

This project provided the opportunity for Engineering students to participate for the first time in the Amrita University Live-in-Labs®, a multi-disciplinary experiential learning program. As described by Amrita, the program is designed to engage participates in the research, development and deployment of sustainable solutions for current challenges facing rural communities in India. In practice, this is explored by working and living directly with rural communities. Three Engineering students joined seven Faculty of Community Services students (this was FCS’s 4th year sending students to Amrita) to form a Ryerson co-hort, and in country, became part of a larger team of international and local students and faculty working in various program sites on a water and sanitation initiative. This year was unique as, due to monsoon flooding in Kerala, students were challenged on a personal and academic level as they were faced with the reality of a natural disaster in a region ill-equipped to manage the catastrophe. This experience pushed participants to navigate the difficulties of continuing forward with their field research, while also at times providing disaster relief to communities in need.

Dr. Miranda Campbell - Assistant Professor - School of Creative Industries, FCAD
Creative Industries Takes Berlin

This two week intensive interdisciplinary seminar in Berlin provided students with the opportunity to experience and learn, (1) how grassroots and community-based creative industries operate, and (2) the social impact of creative industries more broadly. Students were responsible for incubating their own social enterprise or project, inspired by and bolstered by the supports and cultural opportunities available in Berlin. Site visits were a key aspect of this seminar, allowing students to connect with founders and managers of self-organized cultural projects. Examples include Design Akademie, Floating University Berlin, Social Impact Lab, DISTRICT Berlin, and many more. Twelve FCAD students participated: ten from Creative Industries, one from RTA and one from Fashion.

Jessica Machado - Coordinator Program and Events, Office of Social Innovation

The SocialxChange was a one month intensive program on social impact that was developed in partnership between Ryerson University's Office of Social Innovation and the University of Northampton's Changemaker Hub. Eight students were competitively selected from each university and learned from practitioners, social innovators, and entrepreneurs on how to drive transformative social change. As a reciprocal exchange, the program began in Oxford and Northampton, and ended in Toronto. The SocialxChange included a Changemaker Challenge, where students worked in groups to research a socially innovative idea, and a series of community-led site visits and sessions, such as Anishinaabe traditions and history, design thinking, and ideation with intergenerational groups. In building a sustainable partnership between universities, the program will continue again in 2019.

Dr. Sepali Guruge - Professor & Research Chair in Urban Health, Nursing, Faculty of Community Services and Dr. Margareth Zanchetta - Associate Professor & Associate Director, Scholarly, Research and Creative Activities
Local stakeholder consultation in developing multi-level intervention strategies to address violence against women in João Pessoa, Brazil

This project offered a rich, interdisciplinary learning experience to five undergraduate nursing students allowing them to engage internationally in research on violence against women as an urban health issue in Joao Pessoa (State of Paraiba). The experience began in Canada with an online course on gender-based analysis offered by the States of Women Canada, paired with the opportunity to connect with and learn from Master level nursing students in the fields of public health, gender studies and women’s health.

Dr. Dimitrios Latsis - Assistant Professor - School of Image Arts, FCAD
International Federation of Film Archive Summer Restoration Workshop - Bologna, Italy

Five Ryerson students from the Masters program in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management participated in a hybrid program both online and in situ at the 2018 biennial FIAF (International Federation of Film Archives) Restoration Summer School. The students completed a film restoration online theory course, in-person theory lectures and attendance at the largest archival film festival in the world. In addition they were able to enroll in restoration practice classes following the festival.

Dr. Zaiyi Liao - Professor, Architectural Science, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science

This project supported two summer student activities: (1) Thirteen students to undertake a six-week study tour in China, with an aim of exploring the Chinese vernacular architecture and collaborating on a architecture studio with architecture students from the hosting institution, School of Architecture at Soochow University. (2) Five of the thirteen students were also able to undertake a two-month summer internship in an internationally famous architecture firm, Turenscape Architects. The firm, located in Beijing, is a leader in its field, having completed more than 700 major projects in the last ten years, including the Shanghai Expo 2010 Houtan Park. During their internship students worked with real design projects and competitions and were supervised by highly experienced and award-winning architects.

Dr. Mary Han - Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, TRSM
Visit to Tata Power DDL in New Delhi, India

This pilot project offered students the opportunity to gain international experience in partnership with a multinational (Tata Power DDL) in a large emerging market. Through pre-departure planning and materials provided by the company students were able to identify and analyze strategic issues for the firm. Students then spent two weeks in India participating in interviews, board meetings and interaction with senior leadership, allowing them to observe and reflect, comparing what they read about the company to what they experienced in person. The final element of the project was to develop alternative solutions to the strategic issues identified, presenting a report to the executive team of Tata Power DDL.

Stay tuned, as we will be working with the Faculty leads to further profile RIELIF initiatives and share the experiences of student participants. Many have already hosted events and presented their projects in various mediums to the Ryerson community and beyond. Thank you to RIELIF’s first round of recipients for successfully broadening the global learning opportunities available to Ryerson students.