Skip to main content
Arts + Social Sciences › International Studies
SFU Co-op Student

Ryan Kitching
Being able to effectively work in a team environment, consulting with others on multiple projects at once, is an important skill that will help me in all my future endeavours.

Walking through the lobby of the Lester B. Pearson building in Ottawa this morning, I paused to reflect on how important SFU’s Co-op program has been to me. Through Arts Co-op, I landed a position which has helped me bridge the gap between education and the workforce, and has also provided me with valuable experience working in the Canadian public service.

During my time at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) [now Global Affairs Canada], I’ve been involved in everything from writing speeches and researching business opportunities, to planning and organizing summit meetings. The wide variety of tasks I’ve undertaken and the experience I’ve gained from completing them has enriched my abilities in ways that would not have been possible without co-op.

Much of the work I do centers around several core skills: research and writing, analyzing and synthesizing information, and most important, communication. Examples of my more regular tasks include: researching and composing briefing notes for meetings or events, and following the news in order to maintain and distribute an information tracking database.

While I have gained valuable training from these tasks, my communication skills have definitely benefitted the most from working at DFAIT. Being able to effectively work in a team environment, consulting with others on multiple projects at once, is an important skill that will help me in all my future endeavours. As an International Studies MA student focusing on China, my background and education are directly related to the work I am doing, and my previous knowledge and experience have proven to be great assets while working at DFAIT. At the same time, I chose DFAIT because the position was a perfect opportunity to test my career plans; prior to co-op, this is where I saw myself working in the future, and I wanted to make sure that vision had merit. As I walk out of my workplace into the latest Ottawa snowstorm, I am happy to say the test was a complete success.

Beyond the Blog

SFU Co-op Student
visibility  151
Jan 1, 2011

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.

 

You Might Like These... Workplace Success

Photo of Helen Sofia Pahou
Embracing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Through Co-op

One of the most important lessons fourth-year student and aspiring lawyer, Helen Sofia Pahou, has learned at SFU is to “always lean into new experiences.” This realization drove the political science major and double minor in international studies and legal studies to sign up for SFU’s Co-operative Education (co-op) program.

A picture of the author in front of the health clinic
Spring “Camping” in Nepal

On placement with Partnership for Sustainable Development in Kathmandu, Nepal, Health Sciences students Marie Purificacion and Tessa Leyland decided to extend their contribution to a community in need and enrich their learning experience, by raising resources for a Free Health Camp. 

Yin Teng Ho and her coworkers posing for a team photo
A Day in My Life Working from Home

Yin Teng Ho shares what a typical day in the life looks like as a coop student working in the Information Technical Solutions department at home. She gives a brief overview of what her day looks like now since starting remote working, some of the challenges she personally faced, and how she is dealing with them.