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SFU Co-op Student

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The main concept here is networking - get out there in the world and get to know your international peers

Feeling your resume is lacking in international experience as you search for work internationally? 

If you feel unsure about your international and/or travel experience, there are some things you can do to improve your chances at securing opportunities abroad, while keeping travel-related anxiety at bay. These types of activities can boost the international section on your resume and help you feel more confident when applying for international postings.

Study Abroad

Participate in an academic exchange to one of SFU's partner institutions. This is a great way to have a structured international experience. While you are abroad, you can make friends with other exchange students, as well as students from your host country, and make international connections. These connections are great for future travel - you can always call up your old friend from when you studied abroad to visit. These connections can also provide you with first-hand knowledge about an area you may be traveling to,  and the tips and tricks can prove beneficial to a successful experience. Many students also practice, improve, or learn foreign languages - which can be invaluable when applying for international work placements.

Take Part in an International Field School

Like studying abroad, participating in a  field school through one of SFU's programs is a structured way to see the world. You will be living with and learning from a variety of students and likely have the opportunity to travel before, during, and after your experience.  Field schools are a great way for you to get your bearings abroad and learn about international travel.

Volunteer Abroad

For the adventurous and independent, volunteering abroad can be a great way to gain some international experience. Volunteering shows huge initiative in those involved and a strong sense of travel, passion for social participation, and adventure.  Once again, the connections you make while volunteering abroad may prove to be invaluable for future international experiences. Your supervisor or co-volunteer might connect you with a friend whose company is hiring interns, or your new friend might know a cheap place you can crash for a few nights or even offer up their own home for you to stay in. For a unique volunteer experience, visit Work Away and Idealist, to find opportunities around the world.

Internationalize Yourself in Canada

Become an International Student Mentor and get to know international students who are studying at SFU. This program gives you the opportunity to make friends with international students, and to gain an appreciation for things like culture shock, budget living, and making friends abroad. You can also join the Global Partnering System to help incoming international students transition to life in Canada.
Join an international student group - browse the tables during club days. You could also hang out at the International  Student Lounge and make new, international friends.
Another great intercultural experience is to live in Residence at SFU. This will allow you to get a  sense of how you do living away from home for a semester or two. The residence is also a great place to meet and network with international students who are studying at SFU - you can have some great study break chats over dining hall food or a midnight coffee run.


Simple and traditional - the easiest way to gain international experience tailored to your personal interests is to upfront travel to your chosen destination. The main concept here is networking - get out there in the world and get to know your international peers.  Having a contact in a country you've never been to can be extremely comforting (for both you and your parents) when you arrive at the airport or train station. International contacts can also help immensely with trip and internship planning. Go ahead and get started!

Beyond the Blog

SFU Co-op Student
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Feb 5, 2012

You Might Like These... International, Co-op Reflections, During the Work Term, Intercultural Communication, Professional Development, Culture, Intercultural Awareness, International Student Life, International Students

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Working Abroad: Overcoming a Language Barrier in the Work Place

Learning how to effectively communicate in a new work environment can be difficult enough, but add a language barrier and things get even more complicated. Here are Julia's top tips for overcoming language barriers in the workplace.