Exchange + International co-op

Combine Your Study Abroad Semester with an International Co-op Work Term

If you are planning to study abroad, consider doing an international co-op to enhance your once-in-a-lifetime exchange experience. This can help you gain a unique competitive advantage and network with local professionals in your chosen destination.


There are many benefits to completing a co-op work term abroad such as gaining international working experience and having the opportunity to travel. Doing an international co-op term in conjunction with an academic exchange abroad brings additional benefits such as:

Access to Prestigious and World-renowned University Partners

Participating in a formal academic exchange abroad will give you access to SFU partnered universities around the world.

Some top SFU partner universities include:

  • Uppsala University (Sweden)
  • Waseda University (Japan)
  • National University of Singapore (Singapore)
  • University of Manchester (UK)
  • UC Berkeley (USA)
  • Maastricht University (Netherlands) 

Fulfilling Employer Requirements

When you complete an exchange term abroad, you will also fulfill employer requirements of having attended a local university that the employer recognizes. This can help you stand out in the job market and strengthen your personal reputation and credentials. 

Host Institution Resources

As an exchange student, you will have direct access to any host institution resources that are available to their students. Resources such as the host institution's job board or networking events will give you a huge advantage when you are conducting your job search abroad in an unfamiliar country.

Enhancing Your Personal Portfolio and Resume 

Upon completion of an exchange and international co-op work term, you will have a strong resume along with excellent cross-cultural experiences and skills gained.


Most of our international co-op work terms are found by students via a student-developed job search. This can happen in various ways which include reaching out directly to organizations you are interested in working for. Another useful method is using external third party job boards and resources to find opportunities.

To see more information regarding this, visit our Go Student-Developed page.

International Experience Canada (IEC)

International Experience Canada (IEC) offers Canadian citizens aged 18 to 35 the amazing opportunity to travel and work abroad. IEC provides an easier path to a visa or work permit to over 30 partner countries and territories across the world. Work permits are easier to get, more flexible, less expensive, and have faster processing times due to IEC’s reciprocal agreements with partner countries. 

Some popular partners of IEC include:

  • Germany
  • Australia
  • UK

Full list of partnered countries with agreements

More information regarding the application process

Past Student Placements

We have had many past placements of students who worked abroad after their exchange term. Students have secured co-op work term placements in countries such as Germany, UK, USA, and China amongst many more. 

Available Funding and Support

You will have access to additional funding and support if you participate in an academic exchange abroad and international co-op work term. 

Funding & support for an exchange term from the study abroad office

Financial aid & assistance for your international co-op work term

International Co-op Requirements

The requirements and criteria for an international co-op work term is no different than a local co-op work term.

The following must be met in order to count as an international co-op work term:

  1. Minimum of 420 hours worked per semester (4 or 8 months)
  2. Direct supervision and training
  3. Receiving a salary, stipend or renumeration (Flexible as this varies for different countries)
  4. Meeting learning objectives (skills, knowledge, experience)

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these requirements, please reach out to Amy Lee at

Tips and Things to Consider

Planning Early

  • Ensure you plan early in advance as applications for studying abroad are usually submitted multiple semesters before your exchange term
  • There are also two semesters required from the time you sign up for the co-op program, to becoming a seeking and working co-op student

Visa and Entry Requirements

  • Each region and country will have very different visa requirements and application processes depending on your citizenship status
  • It is important to consider the processing time and costs to obtain the required visa or work permit to avoid any delays or impacts to your exchange or international work term

Familiarity with Local Country

  • Depending on your chosen destination, life at your host country may look very different or very similar to what you are used to in Canada
  • Some important factors to consider include the language spoken, customs and traditions, and local laws and regulations

Student Success Stories and Resources

Check out the following stories written by previous students who have been abroad to hear what exciting experiences and adventures you could have:

International Co-op Experiences

Study Abroad Experiences

Sign up for our International Co-op Email List to receive notifications regarding available international opportunities!