Youth talent showcase: MiTravel’s design challenge

In January of 2021, Riipen was proud to sponsor National Congress 2021, a virtual youth conference hosted by AIESEC Canada. With 300 delegates attending from 26 Canadian post-secondary institutions, the conference’s theme was “The Entrepreneurial Playground'' with an agenda focused on developing entrepreneurial thinking in youth.
March 10, 2021
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In January of 2021, Riipen was proud to sponsor National Congress 2021, a virtual youth conference hosted by AIESEC Canada. With 300 delegates attending from 26 Canadian post-secondary institutions, the conference’s theme was “The Entrepreneurial Playground'' with an agenda focused on developing entrepreneurial thinking in youth.

MiTravel, which offers their MiTravel web platform as an “all-in-one travel solution for students'', was the conference’s title sponsor and delivered a design thinking workshop which introduced delegates to the design process. Together, Riipen and MiTravel worked to further develop students’ workshop learnings through a design challenge.

Students were tasked with conceptualizing what a student community within MiTravel’s trip planning platform could look like. This included conducting research to determine useful features, creating a prototype of the community using Figma, and presenting their ideas to the MiTravel team. The winning trio submitted an innovative community prototype, which looked at developing strong pre-departure connections. We spoke with two members of the winning team, John Pong and Gabriel D’astous to hear about their experience working on this virtual project.

Student team learnings

Scope of the Project

Gabriel, a 1st year English student at the Université de Sherbrooke, described the challenge as creating a prototype centered around the idea of a social community for student travelers on MiTravel’s platform. Before starting on their prototype design, they conducted primary and secondary research to establish a strong basis for the features to include in their prototype. Then came wire-framing and prototype development on Figma, a popular UI/UX design tool, which MiTravel introduced students to during the design workshop.

Project Skill Development

The skill Gabriel felt that he had developed the most throughout the project was teamwork. Despite their time zone differences, he felt the team had a strong dynamic which he noted is important in a team setting, especially when the project required them to utilize design thinking, a concept new to the entire team.

“We had some great moments where we really complemented each other's different ideas and came up with features that worked out to what we had envisioned a community to be,” said Gabriel.

Success and Future Skill Applications

Reflecting on what he got out of participating in the challenge, John, a 4th year Business student at Mount Royal University, appreciated the opportunity to virtually collaborate on a design project in a low-risk environment. 

“There wasn’t a pressure to perform because we just wanted to explore UX and design thinking, which we were not initially familiar with,” explained John. He credits their success in working together to having a healthy amount of team building prior to starting the project work.

John also found working in a virtual team to be very beneficial and firmly believes that his experience with MiTravel’s design challenge will help with future collaborative work opportunities.

Elevating Workshop Learnings with Experiential Learning

We asked John what the impact of working on the challenge after participating in the workshop was and he replied, “I think experiential learning is how people learn best.”

Expanding further, he said that the challenge helped him learn how prototyping and design thinking worked with his own hands rather than just hearing or reading about it on paper. The team was also more enthusiastic to work on a project with a real world application, as well as to hear how to to develop their skills further with the feedback their prototype received.

Creating meaningful student-business connections

For students looking to build on their current skills or learn new ones, participating in virtual experiences such as challenges, projects, or internships are a great way to further your development. Congratulations to John, Gabriel, and Bella, as well as all of the teams that participated for your innovative ideas!


If you’re a student who is interested in working on similar virtual projects, Riipen has recently launched Level UP, an innovative work-integrated learning program where you can work with real businesses offering short-term projects. Sign up today to gain the skills employers are looking for while getting paid for your work! Stay connected with Riipen through our Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

Riipen Level UP program is funded by the Government of Canada's Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiatives program. The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

About the author

Aaron Chang is a Marketing Intern at Riipen, as well as a fourth-year Business student at Simon Fraser University. He is passionate about spreading positivity and creating connections with others. When he has the time, he loves writing short stories, binging anime, and having a little too much chocolate.

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