Have you ever wondered what it would be like to do a co-op workterm away from home? This term I had the opportunity to do a co-op term at Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) in Ottawa. It all started with a dream of working in another province, followed by applications, interviews and finally a call from HR at ALU offering me a Business co-op position. Excitement filled every inch of my body when I heard the amazing news! Next, there came the logistic of moving away from home and since this was my first time leaving my family, I had many things I had to take into consideration: accommodation, transportation, meal planning, laundry and making new friends. I think the biggest challenge was packing the things I would need for four months into one suitcase, especially knowing that Ottawa had extremely cold winters. Luckily finding accommodation close to work was easy, thanks to help from my co-op advisor.
Everything worked out better than I could have ever imagined and the home sick feeling I had when I arrived disappeared within a few weeks as I was able to settle into my new environment rather quickly. I stayed with a wonderful couple and three other roommates that always kept me company. Their constant presence definitely helped contribute to making my adjustment of living away from home much easier.
As a Program and Operations Coordinator, my responsibilities at work included preparing PDF courseware and the rest of the necessary documents for candidates enrolled in ALU University. I also completed large auditing tasks, editing activities and updated database content regularly. All in all, it was a very rewarding workterm because I got to expand my technical skills, as well as learn new tools to help me stay efficient and organized.
As a General Studies major, I thought that my co-op opportunities would be limited to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. However, to my surprise, I have successfully obtained and completed two Business Co-op positions. My experience within the world of business reminds me daily that I should always keep an open mind because I know if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have experienced either of the workterms I have now completed. So to anyone considering a co-op away from home, I say go for it! It is a unique, life changing opportunity and a good way to enter the workforce and gain valuable life and work skills.