Business Administration Co-op student Ben Carson decided to pursue an International Co-op work term last summer and fall because he "wanted a big challenge and to experience something entirely new."Ben applied, interviewed for, and secured a position with CIBT School of Business and Technology Corp. in Weifang, China and spent eight months teaching English to local students, editing, conducting foreign recruitment and executing promotions.
Ben's interview process was typical of many international interviews as it was conducted via web conferencing with Ben in Vancouver and the CIBT interview panel in China. After completing the interview and being offered the position, Ben attended the International Co-op pre-departure session with Co-op Coordinator Amy Lee. Ben says, "Amy was very helpful in giving me suggestions as to what to bring and how to deal with living in a new place."Ben also went to a travel medical doctor to make sure he had all the proper vaccinations.
As some of you may remember, summer 2008 was the time of the Beijing Olympics. Ben's parents "were worried about (him) going to Beijing during the Olympics because of all the political issues...", but with support from in his employer and with the International Co-op office looking out for his best interests, Ben was able to confidently fly out of Vancouver to begin his adventure in China.
An important skill that Ben learned while working at CIBT was to "be patient when working with people from a different culture and take the time to make sure that communication is clear...."-an outlook that will certainly help in future positions and within our increasingly globalized workplace. With regards to teaching style, Ben learned that taking his time and "making it fun"for his students was key to success on his work term.
One fantastic aspect of international work terms is the opportunity to travel. Ben "traveled to Beijing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Guilin, Yangshuo and Hong Kong. China is truly an amazing, beautiful place,"he said. Along with all the travel and work experiences comes self discovery and for Ben, although the skills learned on the job were valuable, it was the "cultural skills"he learned that he found most useful. When asked what advice he would pass along to students considering pursuing an International Co-op work term, he said that "At times, (adjusting to the local culture) can be exhausting so be easy on yourself".
Beyond the Blog
How much do you know about International Co-op? Take the International Co-op Nuts & Bolts Quiz, visit the International Co-op website or attend the International Co-op Information Session.