Skip to main content

Ryan Schmidt

SFU Co-op Student; Masters Student
Arts + Social Sciences › School for International Studies

empty
Ryan Schmidt
Working here has really added depth to my understanding of international relations and development issues.

This article was originally published in the Arts Co-op Connect Newsletter in Spring 2011.

If you’d asked me back when I first joined the co-op program, I wouldn’t have predicted that I’d be working for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) [Now Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada]. I enrolled in the Master of Arts program in the School of International Studies at SFU because I was interested in international development. So when I joined the co-op program, I wanted a workterm with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

It became clear that CIDA postings were all in Ottawa and my circumstances made it too difficult for me to move there. My co-op advisor suggested that if I was interested in the federal service I should look at INAC, since they have an office in Vancouver and often had co-op postings. It didn’t seem to fit with my studies or career path in international development, but I recalled that one of my IS professors had challenged those of us interested in overseas work with the reality of developing world conditions for many Canadian First Nations.

The position I took was in the treaty negotiation office of INAC. One of my colleagues calls treaty negotiations “onshore international relations”, and it’s a good description. Working here has really added depth to my understanding of international relations and development issues. The interaction and struggle for understanding between different cultural, social and political systems takes place between federal and provincial governments and First Nations just as it does between developed and developing countries. Also, as in international development studies, there is a concern with economic development and how it may benefit and impact communities. At INAC, I’m getting a chance to work in a microcosm of international relations, right here in Canada, while contributing to a process that may change history. My co-op experience has opened my mind to new career possibilities, and even if international work is still on my horizon, there is no doubt that this INAC position has helped me shape many of the perspectives and skills I will use in the future.

About the Author

Ryan Schmidt

SFU Co-op Student; Masters Student
Arts + Social Sciences › School for International Studies

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.

 

Ryan Schmidt
library_books
Blog
Treaty Negotiations with INAC
Co-op Reflections, Graduate Students, Indigenous Career, Career Exploration, Professional Development, Indigenous Co-op

Being an arts and social sciences student means having a vast variety of career options open to us. One of them being a treaty negotiator at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)! Read Ryan's blog to find out more about what this position entails. 

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Mimi Tsai Portrait
Research and Design: Reflection and Learning with the City of Surrey

Mimi's co-op as a UX Designer at the City of Surrey provided opportunities to improve user experience by creating digital solutions for city services through user-centered design. Read her story, here. 

A hand holding up three fingers
If I Could Only Offer Three Pieces of Advice . . .

I would say to never give up, to really spend time tailoring the cover letter to the employer, and to apply for jobs that you may not initially like…because you never know what’s out there until you explore the opportunities!

A researcher's hand touching lab equipment
The Lowdown on Microplastics | Part Two

Graduate student, Stephen Chastain spent two co-op terms conducting research into microscopic pollution in our oceans. Here, he shares what he learned about this pressing issue and its global implications.