What is IDEAS Summer Experience?

IDEAS is a 2-week enrichment program for international high school students age 16-18.

You'll live in a university residence and engage in hands-on academic and social activities to enhance your communication, problem solving, and innovation skills.

You'll also gain a greater awareness of cultural diversity and through collaborative group work create a “BIG idea” – a proposed solution to a complex problem facing our world.

IDEAS let me know how one’s cultural background can influence behaviours and it led me to feel like a more global citizen.

2017 IDEAS participant

Waterloo’s program is distinctive in comparison to other international summer experience programs because it draws upon so many different disciplines from across the University.

IDEAS offers students the opportunity to experience one of Canada's top-ranked universities. 

4 students doing water testing in creek

During IDEAS, you'll gain hands-on experience in a variety of subjects.

Discover your big ideas in 3 ways

Explore tools for academic success

In the morning sessions, you'll experience what it's like to study and live at a Canadian university.

You'll engage in teamwork development, collaborative learning, and creative problem solving.

Through hands-on sessions

You'll spend afternoons in a variety of sessions where you learn by doing.

With more than 100 undergraduate programs, Waterloo's academic diversity helps you understand the world’s big problems in different ways.

Social and cultural activities

During your evenings and weekends, you learn from exciting guest speakers, play sports with your new friends, and visit landmarks such as Niagara Falls.

You work with your new friends to apply your new learning to create your own big idea for the world’s big problems!


Sessions help you develop presentation skills and other proficiencies needed for success at university.

Student says he can now make better presentations