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SFU Co-op Student

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Masood Abdinejad, a Master of Economics Co-op student
"My tip to [international] students is to stay resilient and positive. Try to avoid comparing yourself to other students and focus on what *you* are doing instead. Everyone has different experiences so just focus on yourself."

Today we’re talking with Masood Abdinejad, a master of economics student in his second year, who’s currently completing a co-op work term at Natural Resources Canada. Learn about his co-op experience as an international student working in a federal government role - a rare opportunity!

Q1: Tell us a bit about yourself

Originally from Iran, I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Fluid Mechanical Engineering and my master’s degree in Economics before coming to SFU.

Q2: What was your experience applying for jobs?

I was constantly applying to jobs. I was concerned at one point that I wouldn’t secure a work term, but focused on staying optimistic and eventually was fortunate enough to land a position with NR Can.

Q3. Q3. What were you looking most forward to in a co-op position before you started?

As an international student, my primary goal was to gain Canadian work experience. Coming from another country, I knew I had to improve my communication skills here in Canada, and that would be important to my success, especially when speaking with native English speakers. This co-op has allowed me to gain more self-confidence in my communication skills, and I feel much more comfortable speaking to others and asking questions if needed.

Q4: What advice would you give to other international students who are currently applying to co-op positions?

My tip to these students would be for them to stay resilient and positive. Try to avoid comparing yourself to other students and focus on what *you* are doing instead. Just because you don’t get an offer doesn’t mean you’re not intelligent, or talented or worthy. It's tough, but try not to think too much about what is beyond your control. While you may be able to control how much work and effort you put into an interview or cover letter, you ultimately can’t control who they will hire or if a job may go through. Everyone has different experiences so just focus on yourself.

Q5: Is there a big difference between the Canadian culture versus your home country? How has it been working here in Canada?

There is definitely a difference between here and my home country. It is interesting to see the range of nationalities of people that I work with. There are many people from different countries here. I’m not treated as if I am just an international student which is nice. My colleagues are all very supportive and it feels like I’ve known them forever. 

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