When I started engineering, I was excited about the prospect of completing co-op placements where I could get the opportunity to explore and test drive my career options. At first my preference was similar to a lot of people, which is to focus on getting a position within the city or country without really thinking about or realizing the possibility of taking on an International Co-op placement.
In my case, it was about a year into my university career that I discovered the opportunity to do Co-op placements internationally, and more specifically in Japan through the Canada Japan Co-op Program (CJCP). One of the benefits of applying early is that you need to be accepted into the Co-op program before you can apply to any job postings in Japan. The Co-op Program provides many opportunities to apply as there are postings several times a year. This past fall I had an opportunity to do a placement in Japan. Even though I had already completed all three required work term semesters, I was granted permission to do an additional three terms in Japan as international work experiences are very unique opportunities invaluable for my professional and personal growth.
While initially my desire to go to Japan was because I wanted to visit the country, I later realized the importance of having international work experience in my resume, given that engineering is a global profession. Having recently met the Canadian Minister of International Trade at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, that point was made even more clear when he mentioned that Canada is the 4th largest exporter of Engineering services in the world.
This is a reminder that an international experience is not only great for your resume but also an excellent opportunity to learn foreign languages and experience different cultural environments that will help shape you into a better global citizen.
Beyond the Blog
Learn more about the Engineering Co-op Program.