August 4th, 2020

All about travel with International Experiences Canada

Last week, our Interns had the chance to talk with Tanya and Nicole from International Experience Canada (IEC). They talked about the kinds of opportunities youth have to travel, learn, and work in Canada and around the world. Here is what our interns had to say (also check out some photos from their own travel experiences!).

“I was very fortunate to be a part of the call we had with IEC. Hearing about the kind of opportunities they offer to youth like me who are eager to learn and travel. My favourite part of the call was having healthy discussions about the importance of development, sustainability, benefits, inclusivity, knowledge, gaining new skills, experiences, building global relationships and connections. I hope to get involved with IEC in the near future”

Lilly Parr, Cape Dorset NU

“During the call with International Experience Canada I was amazed to hear about such a wonderful opportunity. My first thought was, ‘everybody back home should be applying to this.’ I’m thankful to have been a part of the call as it made me remember how much fun I had going to other countries. You not only learn about the other country (day-to-day life, culture, history) you also learn so much about yourself, and who you are in the world. I look forward to hearing more success stories of Northerners travelling outside of their home.”

Jordan Takkiruq, Gjoa Haven NU

“I was honored to be on a call with International Experience Canada, it felt like a next step for me in my travel career. I graduated this year from Algonquin College with a diploma in Tourism and Travel Services. Hearing their stories and the experiences they have given youth was incredible. They learned a lot about different cultures, lifestyles, traditions, and brought it home with them. We got to chat about where we each got to travel to as well, and we pretty much said the same thing about bringing home what we learned. For example, I spent a summer in Costa Rica and brought home sustainability. I try to use it in my everyday life. I hope to experience this myself with IEC or even know future students that will. It’s an experience of a lifetime.”

Patti Wedawin, Gameti NT

“It was nice to hear from International Experience Canada. I know they offer great experiences such as cross-cultural learning, international travel and self-independence. One of my friends took part in this program and I was amazed by the things she had done and accomplished. It has inspired me to take part one day because I’d like to share my culture and also learn about different cultures. I believe that getting out of your comfort zones are ways you grow as a person. It’s important to take a chance.”

Hayley Totalik, Taloyoak NU

“Learning about previous International Experience Canada success stories and how beneficial it can be, especially if you are a young graduate, was encouraging to me. Aspects of independence, learning of other cultures, different ways of living, and international travel were what caught my interest. This presentation highlighted such great points that are relevant to many northern youth. The program is definitely an option for me and made me think about my own next steps. Thank you IEC for sharing this opportunity!”

Topsy Banksland, Ulukhaktok NT

Learn more about IEC, their programs and what they do here!

July 21st, 2020

Weekly Roundup of Opportunities

Week of July 20, 2020

Written by Topsy Banksland

Hello and welcome to our second round of weekly opportunities! 

From scholarships to mentorships and more, be sure to click on the link to see more opportunities that you might be eligible for:  Click here to see list of opportunities

Here are some with deadlines coming up quick: 

AIME | Artists in Residency Positions 

Australian Indigneous Mentorship Experience is calling for artists  for a 3 -month residency. With a $300 payment afterwards, your work will be featured in their new IMAGI-NATION{TV} and IMAGI-NATION{GALLERY} set to be launched at the end of the first residency. 

Deadline is July 31, 2020 for youth aged 12-18.

Skills Canada Nunavut | Exploring Trades |  Arnauvugut: Building our Dreams

For young women in high school or just have just graduated, here is a great opportunity to test and explore the world of trades. Deadline is July 31st, 2020.

Scholarship | NorthwesTel: Northern Futures

Need some Post- Secondary funds? You may be eligible for the Northern Futures Scholarship which provides six students $4,000 in educational funding. Applications due July 31st, 2020 for Northern Students. 

July 14th, 2020

Hayley’s School Bag Project

Written by Hayley Totalik

You can support Hayley’s School Bag Project by donating or spreading the word!

Hello, my name is Hayley Totalik and I’m from Taloyoak, Nunavut. I’m a new high school graduate and I’m currently working with Northern Youth Abroad. I also participated in NYA’s Canadian, Next, International, and Northern Youth in Service programs. NYA is a non-profit organization that offers youth from the north many great opportunities such as travel, work, and volunteer experiences.

I was inspired by a young lady name Tasha Tologanak to start this School Bag Project. She gave children backpacks with school supplies last year to the students in Cambridge Bay and I thought it was a clever idea.

This is important to me because I know that all these remote communities struggle with outrageous costs of transportation and food prices, I see and know that struggle to get something so basic at a reasonable price. I’d like to give back to my community and Gjoa Haven by offering students school bags full of supplies for this upcoming school year. I know that these packages will allow the youth of Netsilik and Quqshuun Ilihaqvik an easier and more efficient school year in this time.

As we grow it can be a struggle to be a leader because many people face challenges that affect their motivation to make a change. On the positive note, it can also be very rewarding to challenge yourself and to have words said like “I did it” and “It happened because of me”. I do it to see all the bright smiles and so that they know anything is possible if you work hard. I didn’t have many role models growing up and thought a lot of things were out of my league because I come from such a small town. I want children to believe that they don’t have limits, and that it’s possible to achieve your dreams.

You can donate to my project Go Fund Me at, or help me spread the word by sharing this blog!

Thanks for reading


July 8th, 2020

What’s going on this week?

Written by Topsy Banksland

Good Day Everyone! 

NYA has started up a “Weekly Summary of Opportunities”  which is all the newest opportunities we’ve come across. With the information easily accessible, this document includes things such as scholarships, events, and youth programs and initiatives of different varieties.

View all of this week’s opportunities by clicking here.

Here are a few right now with deadlines coming up this month.

Northern Youth in Service

Who For?: Youth (groups, individuals or networks) ages 14-25 from NWT, NU, or YT

Applications due: July 15, 2020

Start a project in your community! It can be any project, if you can think of it, we can help make it a reality. Each participant gets at least $500 in funding, and gets on-on-one support to finish the project. Past projects have included hunting groups, youth committees, arts groups, events, sewing projects, projects related to technology, the environment, and leadership!

Visible Vault Digital Stories

Who for?: Inuit Filmmakers and Videographers

Date/deadline:  Submit a video on or before July 17, 2020

The WAG Inuit Art Centre is accepting topic submissions for 3-5 min. Videos that:

•  Feature stories about Inuit art, culture, history, language, and life in the Arctic.

•  Highlight perspectives of Inuit artists, Elders, knowledge keepers, storytellers, youth and community members.

•  Minimum honorarium for each video is $500. Download the application package here and submit it on or before July 17, 2020

The Annual Youth Forum: National Association of Friendship Centres 

Who for?: Indigenous youth ages 14 to 24 from across Canada

Date/deadline: July 24-25, 2020

The Annual Youth Forum (July 24-25, 2020) will be virtual for the first time in 31 years in response to the coronavirus pandemic. L welcomes all, and all indigenous youth ages 14 to 24 from across Canada, to the 31th Annual Virtual Youth Forum, to be held on a secure Zoom platform .. This year’s theme is “Indigenous youth and their minds”. 

More Opportunities

I (Topsy)  will be doing more of the Weekly Summary of Opportunities, so expect more in the next coming weeks! 

If you have any opportunities relevant for northern youth, please feel free to contact me at 🙂 

July 7th, 2020

An interview with Polar Knowledge Canada

Written by Jordan Takkiruq

Last week I was able to have a chat with Jennifer Sokol, Senior Policy Analyst at Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR).  We talked about the creation of polar knowledge, job opportunities, and current projects they have been working on. Growing up I have always had an interest in science, participating in numerous science fairs and camps. Currently a Bachelor of Science Student at Mount Allison University, I wanted to learn more about what my options are for when I graduate. Thanks to Northern Youth Abroad’s (NYA) connections they got me in touch with POLAR.

Jordan is currently studying science at Mount Allison University and has been working with NYA this summer. He recently interviewed a Senior Policy Analyst at POLAR to learn more about the organization and the opportunities available for young northerners interested in science.

During our call, Jennifer explained that infrastructure was needed in the north to promote science and research as well as involvement with northern communities.  Ensuring partnerships were developed with Inuit was also noted, and this led to the construction of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus, a building that incorporates traditional knowledge with science. POLAR is the organization that was tasked with operating the research station and to build capacity in science in the north. Having headquarters in the north is key to a successful partnership; for the north by the north. 

POLAR offers many government entry level positions in science, policy, admin, and even as technicians. New staff members receive support to learn skills they want to build on. This is accomplished either internally with POLAR, or externally with courses. There are positions for high school students and for post-secondary students and includes internships and co-op opportunities. Students and other staff have gone to conferences across Canada to present their work as well as see other research being done.  

One recent project that POLAR has been working on with the Royal Canadian Geographic Society (RCGS), are floor maps for teachers. They are able to give a northern perspective to maps, having the arctic as the main part of the huge map. POLAR is also a supporter of ACTUA, an organization that brings science camps to northern communities. POLAR is striving to continue to co-develop their new science and technology 5-year framework for 2020-2025 with Indigenous organizations across the arctic. They have already started with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

As an Inuit student who would like to work in the world of science someday, I really enjoyed my call with Jennifer. I am glad to be able to use NYA as a platform to share what I learned from POLAR. I hope to learn and share more opportunities for those interested in science and research. Specifically, about the environment and climate in the north. One day I will be researching climate change, that is my goal.

May 1st, 2020

Update on 2020 Programs

Today we are making the announcement that we will be putting NYA’s core programs (the Canadian Program, International Program and NYA Next) on hold. As you can imagine this decision has been a tough one, but it is also the right one at the moment. We are still offering a number of supports and opportunities and will work tirelessly to get core programs back as soon as possible. 

Our hearts are with you – please know that NYA is here – whether it is to take part in what we can offer, to ask for help, or to reach out to a friendly voice – we remain deeply committed to supporting the youth that we serve across Nunavut and the NWT.

Full update and program options as of May 1st, 2020

Follow us on social media if you want the latest updates on programs this year. We will directly contact all Participants, Alternates, Mentors, Host Families, and Supporters if and when we have more information.

March 17th, 2020

NYA Update : Covid-19

Today the NYA team finds ourselves, along with the rest of the world, in a new and changing situation, and we understand that there are likely questions about how this could affect NYA’s 2020 programs. The well-being of Participants and also of Volunteers, Mentors and stakeholders always comes first. As travel dates for this year program remain more than 100 days away and the situation continues to change rapidly, we have set May 1st as the date that we will communicate any necessary changes to this year’s programs. We are reaching out to every mentor by phone and email about the next steps and will continue to keep the lines of communication open.

We will continue to keep everyone updated on any changes, and will do everything we can to do what’s best for our Participants. We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding 💙 We encourage anyone with immediate questions to contact us directly. Right now, the best thing everyone can do is to listen to and follow directions from their local health teams, and to make sure that the information they are sharing is coming from credible sources like the Public Health Agency of Canada or the World Health Organization.

Let’s be kind to each other, and let us know if there is any way NYA can help!

August 16th, 2019

Ayla’s top 10 summer moments

It is now August 4, and today is a free day. I think most people are just packing up and finishing assignments like I am. We’re also leaving for Montreal tomorrow. I have no idea whether or not I should spend my remaining money at Bayshore Mall or for Montreal. Other than money stuff, I have no roommate and the empty room is used as storage- so I have a lot of things to help put away, I think. I wish we could’ve stayed longer.

I got to have an amazing and hilarious time with my friends, especially Shavanna Ashevak, Victoria Piryuaq, and Jeannie Kalluk. The other Participants were good, but I shared a lot of fun experiences with them. Almost everyone has boldly said “I love you” to one another.

I also did my Personal Learning Project! As I mentioned in my other blog, it was about improving my knowledge in drawing buildings and more on colour theory. During my time at the art studio, I learned that they mostly teach about painting, which I find is too much effort for me. I also don’t have the space or money to do painting at home. I completely forgot about the buildings part because I had such a fun time going out of my comfort zone, (I rarely use this work) artistically.

There was many MANY things that happened throughout the summer, but I think it would be better to narrow it down with a top 10 list:

10. Meeting Monte the therapy dog. 9. Going on a train. so smooth. 8. Visiting the Ottawa Art Gallery. 7. Going on a Ferris Wheel. 6. The shopping spree with Shavanna JUST before curfew at Loblaw’s. 5. Seeing the cool dance competition with so many aesthetically appealing people at the Chinatown Night Market. 4. Walking along the Alexandra bridge at sunset. 3. Doing a presentation and hanging out with OCISCO. 2. The AG7 camp, overall. 1. Being at the Just Add Milk cereal bar, the first one in Ottawa.

And that’s the best experiences of the summer. I have a lot of packing to do today, and the last bit of assignments to finish. Thank you to everyone who has worked with Northern Youth Abroad this summer. I hope y’all have a great life.

August 16th, 2019

Alikammiaraq’s Personal Learning Project

For my personal learning project, I chose Acting–during the session 1 attended, we did vocal movement and physical exercises, after that we did a small scene. The scene that we did, we all had to do three discoveries, which were:

1) Expecting our family to be at the dock before leaving (by ship) for a year

2) Being shocked/ heartbroken to find out the ship has already left

3) Discovering that it hasn’t actually left, and that we’re able to say “bye.”

The reason why I chose acting for my personal learning project is that ever since I was young, I always wanted to attend an acting class–and Nunavut being “isolated” from the rest of Canada, I never had the chance to take an acting class.

When I say Nunavut being “isolated” what I actually mean is, Nunavut is the only territory that doesn’t have connecting roads to other communities, and the cost of flying from one community to another is crazy expensive.
After taking the Acting session, I learnt that I get afraid of public speaking in huge crowds.

What I found interesting is that you don’t have to take Acting to try and become an Actor, you can also taking Acting to be better at doing presentation, or to just get creative/ expand your creativity, or if you just want to learn to be a clear speaker in general.

August 16th, 2019

Lucy’s summer in Dartmouth

Hello, My name is Lucy Anne Okheena.

I’ve been in Dartmouth for over 2 weeks now and I can honestly say I am having a good time, even though there has been a few bumps along the way. I’ve experienced a lot of new things like taking public transit. I’ve never done that before. I’ve only ever taken a school bus which I guess is basically the same? I’ve also taken a ferry for the first time which was very cool and a lot quicker than the Bus to Halifax.

My host mother’s name is Leticia. She has 6 cats and they are all very cute although I’m not used to that many all at once. My favorite cat is named Peta. She is very cuddly and jumps a lot, she’ll literally jump from the countertop to the table in the kitchen… Her daughter’s name is Kayla who is travelling at the moment and one son named Brecken.

I work at a Boys and Girls club and I honestly didn’t know if I would actually like it or not because I’ve never worked with a lot of kids before and I didn’t know how my co-workers were going to be. But once I actually started I LOVED IT. The kids are just so adorable and beany. They are just little beans. My coworkers are very nice and they’re very funny. I don’t think I’m ever not smiling or bored at work unless one of the children are misbehaving. But yeah, I’m having the best time.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog