Experiential learning

Your academic studies will expose you to complex movers and thinkers across the discipline of International Studies, while dedicated exploration through professional placements will better orient you to work that suits you, as you begin to build your career outside of the university setting.

Students take up professional development (PD) opportunities on their own initiative as additional commitments. Whether it’s through a research fellowship, a volunteer contract, an internship, further skills training, or entry-level work with a reputable organization, pursuing PD during your studies benefits you in two major ways:

  1. Standing apart from other applicants means doing more than just your degree, whether at the Undergrad of Master’s level. PD allows you to gather practical experience which demonstrates to prospective employers that you hold a breadth of skills and the ability to apply your learning in the “real world.”
  2. There is no better way to know what kind of work you would want to keep doing than to try it out, sampling shorter and therefore more manageable commitments. PD placements will give you tangible, lived evidence from which you can narrow down the kinds of work you’d like to go on to pursue, suiting it to your values, lifestyle, and aspirations.

International co-op

Many students in our MAIS program gain valuable work experience with government agencies and organizations through Co-op, an optional program where students alternate between study semesters and paid work in real-world organzations.   

Our Masters students have held co-op positions with the following organizations:

  • Canadian International Development Agency
  • Embassy of Canada
  • Global Affairs Canada
  • International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
  • BC Ministry of Finance
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Department of National Defence
  • Joint Advocacy Initiative – YMCA of East Jerusalem
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Peacegeeks
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
  • Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
  • BC Ministry of Finance

And many more…

Alumni Stories

  • Daniel uses his expertise in project management and stakeholder engagement gained through an internship in his role with the Mastercard Foundation, supporting initiatives and programs that aim to address youth unemployment in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • After building on her interest and expertise in Latin America as an undergraduate and graduate student at SFU’s School for International Studies, Jenna now works for the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia.

  • During the last year of her MAIS, Leanne worked in a co-op position that was later extended into ongoing employment as a Gender Equality Policy Analyst with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA, now Global Affairs Canada) in Ottawa.

  • Tori used her co-op experience to "bridge" a position with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, conducting policy analysis and research relating to improving Canada’s environmental assessment and regulatory regime.