As international job postings pop up on myExperience, SFU's Co-op, Volunteer and Career Services job site, many wonder whether to go abroad as part of a Co-op or on their own. The question is a common one. As students contemplate the warm waters of Africa and India or the cultural hubs of Europe and Asia, the benefits of counting a trip overseas as a Co-op can be overlooked.
So before you begin your international exploration, uncover the treasures lurking behind an international Co-op with our five quick benefits of going internationally...with Co-op.
Safety and Security
Last November the world watched as India's financial capital experienced inner turmoil resulting in airport closures, structural damage and civil casualties. While no where near the capital, three SFU students were on Co-op work terms in India at the time. Because the students were on an official Co-op with SFU, International Coordinator, Amy Lee was able to contact them regarding any travel plans to the capital, their overall safety and provide open lines of communication. As all of the students were vast distances away from the questionable area, the threat to their safety was relatively low, but the situation highlights the safety and security SFU International Co-op provides.
Prior to departure, International Co-op collects information about your location. This combined with an emergency card to be filled out by students and a pre departure session, ensures SFU knows where their students are at all times. As a large institution, SFU also has unique resources should students find themselves needing to get out of a sticky situation.
Part of the Co-op department's focus is to make partnerships with international employers. By agreeing to this partnership, employers commit to work guidelines regarding training, supervision, salary, etc. set out by SFU. These guidelines enhance the employee/employer relationship help make the students overall work experience a learning success.
For self-directed International Co-ops, SFU provides contract forms and guidelines for the soon-to-be employer. On the student side of the tracks, Coordinators encourage students to develop smart business skills such as having written information on salary, hours of work and learning objectives to ensure both employer and student are on the same page.
"Oh no, I just found out my visa will take two months and I leave in four weeks, help!"Anyone who has traveled overseas understands the above very real situation. Medical and travel documents, visas and passports are an array of forms and unknown turnaround times to the untrained eye. Luckily, the International Co-op office will help guide you through all these.
Going to school, and working and preparing to go abroad is tough and international travel can be expensive, no doubt about it. But there are ways to supplement those living and traveling expenses when traveling with Co-op. The following awards are available to Co-op students going internationally. You can find out more at:
SFU International Co-op Award
SFU International Co-op Education Bursary
C.A.R.E. SFU Global Travel Award
BC Bearing Engineers Limited Award (for students working in Latin America and Mexico)
Hong Kong University BC Alumni Award (students working in Hong Kong)
Student International Mobility Fund
Check with your own home Co-op program for support they may provide to students working in specific areas.
International Permanent Jobs
Meet Tiffany Glover. A former SFU student, Tiffany worked in Vancouver as a recruiter for CIBT, a company located in China, after graduation. Tiffany started with CIBT as a student on an International Co-op work term in China. Once graduated, Tiffany heard about the Vancouver position and went for it. This experience is not uncommon, similar to Co-ops in Canada; International Co-ops give student access to post graduate jobs overseas. Having a resume marked with international work experience primes students for full time, permanent positions around the world.
So whether it's Greece, Greenland or Ghana, go abroad with Co-op to travel, earn and learn.