Community service

Students completing a minor or option or Research Specialization in International Development (INDEV) are required to acquire work experience with an organization or initiative that identifies with one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and overall mission of the INDEV program: Building a fairer, more equitable and environmentally sustainable world. Students are expected to articulate a clear rationale in writing for their proposed community service as relevant to this mission.

Pre-approval is required from John Abraham, INDEV Manager, International Work Experience, Email Students are responsible for arranging their community service and at their own expense. Community service may consist of:

  • a minimum of 3 weeks full-time community service (or equivalent hours) with an organization in Canada or internationally (volunteer hours with on-campus student clubs are not eligible);
  • participation in a 2-3 week international seminar or study tour addressing development and/or sustainability issues; or
  • a co-op work term relevant to international development.

Going abroad

If you wish to complete your community service abroad, check out My World Abroad (register using your UWaterloo student ID number). This is a free resource available to University of Waterloo students and provides information about short-term internships and other opportunities abroad.

Students completing the community service requirement outside Canada are required to review and comply with all Waterloo's pre-departure requirements as instructed on Waterloo International's Safety Abroad website.

Going local

A quick online keyword search will give you an extensive list of volunteering opportunities in Canada. If you have a special interest in a particular issue or organization engaged in community development, social justice or environmental sustainability, but don't see any volunteer positions advertised, you are encouraged to contact the organization directly and offer your time. If you have a small project or activity in mind that you think might contribute to the organization, you are encouraged to propose it and see where this leads.


When you have identified the organization or program you wish to work with, complete and submit the community service application form.

For community service within Canada, complete and submit your application at least 1 month in prior to your start date. For international community service, complete and submit at least 3 months prior to your start date.

Once this has been approved, you may proceed with confirming your application with the organization of your choice.

Final report

After completion of your community service, you are required to write and submit a Community Service Final Report (DOCX) to the INDEV Manager, International Work Experience ( Once reviewed and approved, your experience will be recorded as a milestone on your academic record. Final reports are normally due the first week of term following your experience.

Sample host organizations