Considering International Co-op? Some Helpful Tips to get You Started.

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Considering International Co-op? Some Helpful Tips to get You Started.

By: Laura Buchanan | SFU Communication Co-op Student
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Breathe it in, a new semester is upon us. If this conjures up feelings of restlessness and a desire to do something different, then you could possibly be one of the adventurous students interested in going on an International Co-op Placement! This article will walk you through the steps you should take if you are considering an international placement.

1.  Talk it over with your family, friends & significant other

Deciding to go on an international work term is a big commitment, and not one to be taken lightly. Talking this decision over with the people close to you can help you to better understand your motivations. You could potentially be gone for up to one year, so all aspects (financial, relationships, living situation) need to be considered before even applying for a position. Many international co-op jobs require that you complete an International Readiness Checklist which needs to be submitted with your application package.

2.  Research

  • Figuring out where you want to go and what you want to do is half the battle.
  • Look through the OLC stories and blog postings of students who have previously held international positions in countries/industries that you are interested in.
  • Read over work reports from students who have returned.
  • Get in touch with students who have gone on international work terms to hear first hand about the challenges and rewards of working in another country.
  • Visit the International Co-op website to learn more about finding international work, financial assistance, pre-departure preparations, and requirements.

3.  Fill out the International Co-op: Expression of Interest Survey

Once you have an idea of where you want to go, this online survey will introduce your background and your interests to the International Co-op Office. By getting to know you better, they can better seek out jobs in the countries and industries that are of most interest. You will also be added to an email list where you will be contacted whenever an exciting opportunity arises in your country of interest.

4.  Talk it over with your advisors

Talk with your home co-op department coordinator and/or the international co-op coordinator. These wonderful people are valuable resources in helping you to secure an international co-op position with the right company and for the right reasons. They can also help direct you in the right direction, review your resume and offer advice.

5. Apply on Symplicity

Once you have been released, you are free to apply for international positions posted on Symplicity. Every semester a wide variety of international positions are available for the adventure-seeking student. It is important to remember that when applying for these positions, you are making a commitment to follow through should you be successful.

6.  Find your own Self-Directed Placement

If you can’t find an international position posted on Symplicity that suits your goals, there is always the option of developing your own. There are several ways to go about finding a Self-Directed International Co-op placement: searching jobs and internships on Goinglobal on Symplicity (image to the left shows where to look for the link once you're logged in), researching companies online, utilizing your extensive network, or volunteering with an international organization – just to name a few.  Workshops are held at the beginning of each semester that offer advice on how to develop your own work term – check the Community Events Calendar.

An International Work Term is a great way to develop professional as well as personal skills. You will gain independence, an appreciation for a new culture, and a broadened worldview. It will change you in ways you never imagined and give you a professional edge. Break free from the mountain and add some international work experience to your resume!!

Posted on March 08, 2011