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International Co-op

About International Co-op

Am I eligible for International Co-op?

You must first be accepted into co-op in order to be eligible for international co-op. 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 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.

How long are the work placements?

Work placements are generally between 8 and 12 months. It is rare to find a 4 month international work term, as it is expensive for employers to recruit students internationally and does not typically provide sufficient time for you or the employer to get maximum benefits.

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. The SFU co-op program is a supportive resource but international work placements are advised for the adaptable and adventurous.

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 are significantly lower than in Canada.

Who Participates in International Co-op?

How many students have been on an international co-op?

Over 950 students have been placed internationally in the past 12 years.

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 Online Learning Community.

Accommodations and Financial Assistance

Will the employer pay for my airfare?

Generally not, unless otherwise stated in the contract and generally only when the term is longer, such as 12 months.

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

It varies, sometimes the student, sometimes the employer. This should be stated in the job description. Students are 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 International Co-op

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.

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

This differs from one job to another. Students are usually responsible for their own airfare and health insurance. Employers will pay salary and will often provide or assist with accommodation.

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.

Finding a Job

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

If there are no job postings in this region in your discipline, you will need to develop your own job. This takes substantial commitment and time on your part. Start early. Check out Going Global, a resource that aids students in finding work integrated learning all around the world.

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. 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.

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?

Yes, 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.

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 BOL?

Bridging Online is the Co-operative Education pre-employment curriculum. BOL is divided into two modules, BOL I and BOL II, and is offered in an online, e-learning environment. The BOL I curriculum covers the pre-employment preparation for all new students applying to Co-operative Education. BOL II covers the pre-requisite materials for co-op students, prior to their first work term.

What is BIL?

Once you have secured your international co-op work term, you will be automatically 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 bring all the internationally outbound co-op students together to talk about key preparations needed before leaving, as well as things to consider while you are away and before your return to Canada.

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 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.

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