Skip to main content

Imran Kanji

SFU Co-op Student
Applied Sciences › Engineering Science › Systems Engineering

empty
Imran Kanji at Blackberry
If you’ve only been looking for co-op placements in the Greater Vancouver area, here’s why you should definitely reconsider.

As a fourth-year Systems Engineering and Business Minor student at SFU, I was having a difficult experience finding a co-op placement. I was forced to look outside Vancouver and eventually received a 16-month contract with BlackBerry in Waterloo, Ontario. My job title was Regulatory Compliance Student, and I would be performing radiated Electromagnetic Compliance testing in a semi-anechoic test chamber, along with writing reports and other administrative work of that nature. I will not be focusing this post on job details, as technical experience is available wherever your placement will be, instead, this article will cover the benefits of doing a co-op outside of Vancouver.  Although I didn’t want to originally move away, I later found it to be a fantastic opportunity. Here’s why:

1. Grow Your Professional Network

One of the first things you will realize when you move away and start your job is that you don’t know anybody! But don’t worry- it’s okay! This is the perfect opportunity to develop your network before you finish your program and enter the workplace as a professional. For example, at my job I’ve met numerous students from various universities in Ontario, as well as other students from SFU I may never have talked to. I also developed relationships with the professionals at BlackBerry.  The thing about developing your professional network is you never know where these students and professionals will end up in the future and you may once again cross paths. Having connections at different companies can only help your career.

TIP: Don’t be shy, no one bites!

2. Experience A Land Far, Far Away

Who knows where Waterloo, Ontario is? I didn’t know, and I probably would never have gone there in my whole life. Living in one of the largest countries in the whole world makes it extremely difficult to see it all. Thanks to co-op, I’m spending 16-months in a completely different climate. I’m moving away from rainy Vancouver, which had a day of snow last year, to Waterloo, which experienced sub-zero temperatures for the entire month of February. I went to the largest Oktoberfest in the world outside of Munich and shopped for fresh produce from some of the prominent Mennonite community at St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market. I skipped off to Toronto and Montreal and relaxed at some of the local cafes. I became a beast in the east and made memories that will last a lifetime.

TIP: Ditch your map and get out there!

3. Grow

So far I have written about what you will gain and experience when moving away for co-op, but it’s important to remember what you will be leaving behind. Gone will be the landscape, skyline, and familiar faces of friends and family. It won’t be for everyone, but I encourage people who like to explore and experience new things to give it a try. Getting outside of your comfort zone isn’t only an opportunity to grow your professional network and explore, as mentioned earlier. It’s also a chance to focus on yourself, to self-reflect, to develop ideas for life after graduation; it’s a chance to pursue other hobbies or interests that you would be too busy or preoccupied to do at home; it’s a chance to be responsible and develop skills in budgeting and time-management. We won’t all have the privilege of working where and for whom we desire, but these are life skills that will help you no matter what your future will offer.

TIP: Cut your own path!

I hope this post offers another perspective on what a co-op placement may entail. It’s definitely worth considering not only the nature of your placement’s company and responsibilities but also the experience as a whole.

    About the Author

    Imran Kanji

    SFU Co-op Student
    Applied Sciences › Engineering Science › Systems Engineering
    Imran is a Systems Engineering student at SFU. Connect with Imran on LinkedIn

    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.

     

    Imran Kanji at Blackberry
    library_books
    Blog
    Heading Out East: Why You Should Go Away For Co-op
    Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Networking

    If you’ve only been looking for co-op placements in the Greater Vancouver area, here’s why you should definitely reconsider.

    You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

    Nick in Barcelona
    Teaching English Abroad: Skill Improvements for Any Career

    Have you ever wanted to live and work abroad but could “never” find something career related? Well, in my opinion, what you “could not find” might actually be right in front of your eyes. There are countless opportunities for students to live abroad while teaching English. You just might be surprised at what occupational skills you might be able to extract from such a position. Have a read of my article to find out.

    image of Thailand's temples
    Carlie's Adventures in Thailand

    She has travelled and worked in countries around the world. Now, follow Carlie as she reflects on her experience teaching English in Thailand and as she begins her work term at CIBT School of Business and Technology in China.

    A photo of the author and friends on a hike
    Looking for Culture in Catalonia, Spain: Expectation Versus Reality

    Going to Spain for co-op, I felt I would be immersed in a single culture. Read on to discover how this opportunity allowed me to develop a more intricate understanding of culture, communities, and families and to build lifelong friendships and family-like relationships across linguistic and cultural barriers.