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Summer 2022

Summer Diaries: University of Manitoba, Canada (MITACS)

September 23, 2022
- Amitesh Uppal


My attempt to summarize the mind-boggling journey I have had in the summer of 2022, from being a designer to shifting into the field of machine learning and economics to landing a research internship in the Department of Economics at the University of Manitoba via the MITACS Globalink program, to having a fruitful and joyous summer in Canada.


I was always fascinated by Mathematics since my school-days. I got Biotechnology as my major in IITR, but I wanted to do something related to Mathematics. So I started learning Machine Learning in my sophomore year and did some projects to gain experience. While doing Machine Learning, I learned about its application in Economics and Finance. So I talked to some seniors and my brother, who is also IITR Alumni, to get a roadmap for starting Finance. At last, to get some research experience, I did a project under a professor at the Department of Economics to gain insights into pursuing Research.

The experience of working with a professor motivated me to apply for various Research Internship opportunities related to Applied Machine Learning and Finance.

While looking for research internships, I learned about various programs like NTU India Connect, DAAD, MITACS etc. So I applied to NTU India Connect (from Jan to June) and MITACS (for summers). I was unable to apply for DAAD due to the high CGPA criteria.

Surprisingly, I got offers from NTU and MITACS in the field 0f Time series analysis with Deep Learning Techniques and econometrics, respectively. From being a non-core guy to pursuing non-core Research, It was a drastic change in my life.


MITACS is a Non Profit organization that encourages students to pursue Research in Canadian Universities. Its application process is very smooth for both professor and the applicant. Applicants select 3-7 projects in which they are interested along with academic documents and reference letters.

MITACS then shortlists based on experience and CGPA criteria, after which they send the applications to Professors.

I went to have an interview with the professor in which she talked to me about her research project, and she asked me about my approach to the problem statement.

I got matched successfully and was ready to go to Canada for my Internship.


I did my Internship at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. My project was titled ‘Economics of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks’, in which I had to use food items’ recalls news data and Google Trends data to find a relationship between recalls and prices of that crops by creating a time series database of google trends data and crop prices data using econometric methods.

I got to learn a lot of things during my project and was able to grasp some knowledge about econometric and agricultural economics during my whole timeline.

I was provided office space by my supervisor in which I could work freely, and as this was a computational project, She provided me with the freedom to work from home too.

In order to learn more, my supervisor encouraged me to go to an academic conference at the university, where I got to learn new skills which were relevant to the project and meet other professors and students from different universities, which was very exciting for me as it was my first academic conference.

Life at Manitoba

I got accommodation at the University dorm, where I got a hostel lifestyle which I thought I would have missed there. I got to meet many international students there, and we exchanged our cultures and learned more about each other.

Winnipeg is a city that has a harsh climate. I was fortunate to live in summers as the temperature drops to -30 degrees there in winters.

It is not a very big city and can be covered in a short period, which made me move out of Winnipeg to explore other Canadian provinces.

The lifestyle here is different from big Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Keep in mind that while applying for universities, you should also consider the location of it, as you also should explore Canada along with the work, to make your experience life remembering.

Exploring Canada

As Winnipeg is not so travel-friendly, I wanted to explore various cities in Canada. I had the edge that I had my school friends living in Canada. This motivated me to go there and meet them, along with exploring their city as an addition.

I asked my professor to let me work remotely for some time, and she understood enough to allow me to go to travel. I went to Vancouver as my friend lived there and explored British Columbia.

It is a wonderful city with mountains, Skyscrapers and beaches all in the same place, which is very rare for a city. I went on to explore the famous natural beauty of British Columbia and also got to meet my friend after so long.

I also went to Toronto after my Internship got over to explore the state of Ontario. The skyscrapers and adventure activities in Toronto were worth experiencing, and I also went to see Niagara Falls, which was my dream to visit while planning my journey to Canada.

I was unfortunate not to explore Quebec and Alberta as they were also on my travel bucket list, but due to work engagements, I had to settle with Ontario and British Columbia.

Lifestyle and Routine in Canada

During my initial days, It was very hard for me to adapt to the routine as I needed to do all the stuff like cleaning, cooking, and laundry, to which I was not adapted at all. Thanks to my friends I made at Dorm, I was able to overcome these challenges and learn new skills like cooking which made me realize the importance of home food.

The people in Canada are humble and open. People thank the bus driver for the ride, apologize for obstructing your way and are blunt regarding their opinions which led to a significant amount of changes in my personality while living among them.

I usually worked from the office as it helped me meet new faculties and students of the University of Manitoba and exchange knowledge about their research interests.

Summing Up

The major takeaway for me was that Research isn’t always as sugar-coated and straightforward. You have got to stumble and explore a lot before you make some progress, especially when you don’t know how to proceed. Having clarity and a record of explored directions helps a lot in these situations.

But honestly, if you are confused regarding sitting for On Campus Internships or opting for Research Internships, I would say from my experience that-

  1. interacting with so many people and making new friends
  2. getting to know a new culture
  3. visiting and exploring new places
  4. achieving a sense of doing something which can benefit society

Doing Research with a bunch of international people brings a lot of changes in your personality, and it helps to introspect your future plans.

Summing up, MITACS has motivated me to pursue higher studies, and I will look for that in my Future.