About International Co-op Work Terms

Am I eligible for an International Co-op work term?

You must first be accepted into your SFU home Co-op program in order to be eligible for an International Co-op work term. The application and intake procedures are outlined here. If you are an International/Visa student and want to participate in a local (Canadian) work term please contact your home Co-op coordinator.

What are the benefits?

The work and life experience that you gain is invaluable to your personal growth and development and can boost your career prospects and global competitiveness. In today's global marketplace, international work experience looks great on a resume.

Students on an International Co-op work term are eligible to apply for bursaries and awards. More details here.

How long are the work placements?

Work placements are generally between 8 and 12 months. A 4 month international work term is possible, however, most employers prefer longer durations. 

What if I get over there and I don't like it?

Your work term is an agreement between you and the employer. The student is expected to honour their contractual agreement with the employer unless there are clear circumstances which warrant a reassessment. Students are advised to stay in contact with their Co-op coordinator and with other SFU students working, living and studying in the region.

All the Co-op students are advised to contact their home Co-op program coordinator or International Co-op coordinator if they are having any issues with their work term. 

Will I be paid? How much?

Students generally receive a salary/stipend. Amounts vary widely. Sometimes students are paid a stipend in addition to being provided with accommodation. Students should be aware that some international salaries can be calculated based on local standards than in Canada. 

Who Participates in an International Co-op work term?

How many students have been on an International Co-op work term?

Approximately there are between 200-300 international placements each year. 

Where have students been placed on an International Co-op work term?

Students have been placed across every continent except Antarctica. For an idea of past locations and jobs, visit the Our Learning Community or our Country Profiles page.

Accommodations and Financial Assistance

How do I know if I can afford International Co-op?

The salary/remuneration offered by employers do vary from employer to employer. However, please note that some employers may not offer a salary, but accommodations, flight support, stipend, and/or honorarium instead. Co-op students placed on an International Co-op work term are eligible to apply for funding support, for more information go here.

 

Will the employer pay for my airfare?

Generally not, unless otherwise stated in the contract.

Who pays for my work permit, passport and health insurance?

It varies, sometimes the student, sometimes the employer. Students are usually responsible for the cost of their passport, health and life insurance.

Will employers pay for accommodations?

Generally not, unless otherwise stated in the contract and job description. Sometimes, employers will offer dorms to students, but in most cases, students are responsible for finding and paying for their own accomodation.

Is there financial assistance for international co-op?

Yes, there is information about financial assistance here.

Things to Consider Before Applying for an International Co-op work term?

When should I get started on my international job hunt?

You should start as soon as you are serious and committed about going international. International co-op jobs take about two to three times as long as local and domestic work terms to arrange.

Some employers (located outside of Canada) may post 2-3 semesters in advance of the work term start date. Sign up for the mailing list to not miss any opportunities.

What is covered by my employer in a student's international work term?

This varies from employer to employer. Please read the job description. If this (i.e., accommodation, airfare, visa-if needed, salary, etc.) is not clear in the job posting, students are encouraged to follow up during the interview. 

I want to participate on an international work term, but my parents are nervous about it. What can I tell them to help ease their anxiety?

There is a practical, easy to read guide full of advice for parents/guardians written by Jeffry Holmes called "Guardian Angel: How to be a supportive parent or guardian when your young adult decides to work or study abroad". The author examines how to assist before, during, and after you go abroad. Health issues, academic issues, visiting and re-entry are some of the topics touched upon. This guide is an essential resource for the parent who wishes to be more informed about their adult child's international work term.

How long does it take to get a passport?

The sooner you apply, the sooner you will receive your passport. Don’t delay the process by procrastinating. Please check the Government of Canada website

Finding a Job

Is it hard to get an international position?

This does depend on what students are looking for. However, the 2 biggest hurdles are visas and language (this is especially true for non technical positions. Technical students have been successful in their placement even though they do not speak the language of the host country). If you have any questions regarding visas, please contact the International Co-op coordinator.  

I want to work in Australia for Co-op, what do I need to do?

If there are no job postings for a specific semester in this region in your discipline, you may need to look at a Self-Directed work term. To start, please connect with your home Co-op program coordinator or the International Co-op coordinator. 

I'm matched with a job, but it is my second choice, where do I go from here?

You should discuss this with your Co-op coordinator immediately. Substantial effort has gone into securing your international placement. It is strongly recommended that students follow through with an international placement if they are matched.

  How are interviews done? 

Employers will usually interview through Skype or phone. On a rare occasion they might interview at SFU. 

Why can't I see a job posting? 

Co-op job postings are viewable to students in the Co-op program. However, in some cases, job postings are viewable to students that are released to seek a Co-op work term only. Please contact your home program coordinator if you would like to be released to apply for a certain international opportunity. 

Things to Consider While Working Abroad and Living Abroad

What kind of travel information is available?

Travel resources and other travel preparations are introduced to you in the Bridging International Learning Course (BIL). Also, SFU International, located in MBC 1200 (on the SFU Burnaby Campus), has many resources and expert staff.

Do I need a work visa?

You need a valid work visa for every country you are working in, including the US. The process of procuring a visa is different for each country and it is the student’s responsibility to ensure they have the proper documentation before departing Canada.

However, if you are a resident or citizen of the host country your work term is located in, a visa is not required.

How do I deal with my taxes while abroad?

Information for Canadian residents living abroad can learn about how to handle their taxes here.

Integration Between Learning and Working

What is BIL?

Once you have secured your international co-op work term, you will be registered for the co-op international course, called Bridging International Learning (BIL), which will help to prepare you for, and support you during your international co-op work term. The BIL Course will connect students to other students on an international co-op work term. It also provides resources (i.e., predeparture during and returning from your work term) and SFU International Co-op forms. 

What is a site visit?

A site visit is an opportunity for your Co-op coordinator to hear directly from you and your employer about how the work term is progressing from both of your perspectives. Ideally, site visits are done in person, but due to cost constraints, most international site visits will be done either by phone or email. It is an opportunity for you to talk about what you have learned and expect to learn both in professional and personal contexts. Any difficulties should be brought to the attention of your Co-op coordinator during or even before the site visit. He or she will offer to mediate if you are having any problems. Remember, contact your Co-op coordinator as soon as a problem arises, and do not wait for the site visit to bring up a concern.

What documents are required at the end of the semester?

Students are responsible for submitting a work report, supervisor's evaluation, and student evaluation. Check with your home Co-op program for specific requirements. 

Did you not find the answers to your questions? Then please contact icoop@sfu.ca for further questions.