Experiential learning is any learning experience that is active, hands-on and engaging. Experiential learning can take place in or outside of the classroom and can include anything from internships, lab research, service learning projects, studying abroad and more.
Why is it Important?
Experiential learning is proven to be a significant factor in preparing students for their future job roles and is one of UTSA’s key strategic initiatives. It helps develop marketable job skills that are highly sought after by employers. Experiential learning also complements classroom learning and provides students with a glimpse of what their jobs will be like after college.
Experiential Learning at UTSA
Whether it’s through academic resources, undergraduate research, or studying abroad, here are some instances of how Roadrunners are gaining experiential learning at UTSA.
In every area of study, Roadrunners have the opportunity to learn actively through academic resources that will prepare them for their career. Some of these examples include partnering with local businesses on service-learning projects like in the EPICS program, interning at the state or nation’s capital as either a Legislative Scholar or Archer Fellow, or creating video games that help rehabilitate injured veterans with Gamerz 4 Vets.
Students at UTSA have many opportunities to attend conferences that relate to their field or encourage skill development. We also host a variety of our own conferences such as the LeaderU Conference. Attending a conference, or even presenting at one, is a great opportunity for you to grow academically at UTSA.
Internships are another great opportunity to gain out of classroom experience at UTSA. San Antonio is home to everything from startup ventures to Fortune 500 companies like Valero Energy, and UTSA students have completed internships at countless of these business organizations and more! As a Roadrunner, you could be a part of these opportunities.
As early as your freshman year at UTSA, students are able to engage in fascinating studies that will let them act upon their curiosity and learn experientially. This can involve new approaches for stem cell therapy, creating bone scaffolds, examining the nuances of music theory in health therapy, patenting new technologies and much more.
Some examples of research that Roadrunners are involved in include finding a new way to prevent Alzheimer’s, manipulating dopamine levels to help people with drug addiction, treating inoperable or hard to reach tumors, and creating a thermal energy-harvesting system to convert paved surface heat into electricity.
You can also conduct research through a variety of programs like the McNair Scholars, or Research Initiative for Science Enhancement (RISE), which you can participate in during the academic year or over the summer. The possibilities are endless!
UTSA is closely connected to the San Antonio community. We encourage that sense of community through student service projects. There’s many ways to get involved in service projects at UTSA. We offer service programs like Citymester, and have various service organizations you can join such as VOICES. We even host university-wide events like UTSA’s Day of Service.
Italy, Mexico or Japan? The world is a Roadrunner’s oyster! Studying abroad can provide experiential learning for any career, including language learning, adaptability, independence, and cultural knowledge, which are all valued by employers. Studying abroad offers a unique opportunity to learn from another culture and also prepares students to live and work within a global society.
UTSA also provides scholarship opportunities for these programs in order to make studying abroad more financially accessible. In certain majors, study abroad opportunities are included automatically as part of the degree plan and faculty members will often lead new courses abroad for a semester.
Finding Experiential Learning
One way to get involved in experiential learning is through the University Career Center. The Career Center can connect you to career-building resources and help you identify potential experiential learning opportunities that align with your professional goals.
Experiential Learning in Action
See real life examples of Roadrunners engaging in experiential learning at UTSA!