Skip to main content
Arts + Social Sciences › International Studies
SFU Co-op Student

Ryan Kitching
Being able to effectively work in a team environment, consulting with others on multiple projects at once, is an important skill that will help me in all my future endeavours.

Walking through the lobby of the Lester B. Pearson building in Ottawa this morning, I paused to reflect on how important SFU’s Co-op program has been to me. Through Arts Co-op, I landed a position which has helped me bridge the gap between education and the workforce, and has also provided me with valuable experience working in the Canadian public service.

During my time at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) [now Global Affairs Canada], I’ve been involved in everything from writing speeches and researching business opportunities, to planning and organizing summit meetings. The wide variety of tasks I’ve undertaken and the experience I’ve gained from completing them has enriched my abilities in ways that would not have been possible without co-op.

Much of the work I do centers around several core skills: research and writing, analyzing and synthesizing information, and most important, communication. Examples of my more regular tasks include: researching and composing briefing notes for meetings or events, and following the news in order to maintain and distribute an information tracking database.

While I have gained valuable training from these tasks, my communication skills have definitely benefitted the most from working at DFAIT. Being able to effectively work in a team environment, consulting with others on multiple projects at once, is an important skill that will help me in all my future endeavours. As an International Studies MA student focusing on China, my background and education are directly related to the work I am doing, and my previous knowledge and experience have proven to be great assets while working at DFAIT. At the same time, I chose DFAIT because the position was a perfect opportunity to test my career plans; prior to co-op, this is where I saw myself working in the future, and I wanted to make sure that vision had merit. As I walk out of my workplace into the latest Ottawa snowstorm, I am happy to say the test was a complete success.

Beyond the Blog

SFU Co-op Student
visibility  114
Jan 1, 2011

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

IAT 499 Graduation Project
Dream Internship Follows Less-than-glamorous Co-op Placement

Nick Doering was not looking for a co-op job at SFU, but soon discovered that his work at SFU’s SIAT department was a great first step to landing a position at a high profile company.

Christy at the balcony looking over the city at the TELUS location
More Than Just Marketing: Pursuing my Passion at Telus

Don’t limit yourself and be active in asking to take on projects beyond the job description. Here are some insights from Christy’s co-op at TELUS.

Science equipment
Five Things the Average Science Co-op Applicant Doesn’t Know

"It’s normal to not hear back from interviewers." Wait, what?! Science student, Richard Hsia has some sage advice to ease your mind and sharpen your competitive edge in your co-op job search.