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Steven Kwon

SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Marketing

A fully immersed work experience at a young and growing company full of exciting new challenges and unknowns.
Experience Details
Application and Interview Tips


  • The application asks about how you connect with nature and what you love most about it. 


  • My interview was a bit different from the usual in that I wasn't asked any of the typical interview questions, the questions were tailored to my resume and experiences 
  • The interview was collaborative - the interviewer explained details on the day-to-day including challenges of the job. I responded by drawing from my experiences and sharing how they prepared me for the role 
  • Culture is important at Arc'teryx so I would definitely talk about how you resonate with the core values of the company. Specifically, "Live it" which just means getting out into the world/nature and experiencing cool things 
Introduction + Preparation
Previous Experience

My first co-op was at Blackberry, as a technical editor, in Waterloo. While I valued my time and experience there, I wasn't excited by the work I did and it was hard to stay engaged working there. I also knew that for my next co-op, I wanted to work near home so I wouldn't have to move away. 

I also worked part-time at the SFSS as a communications assistant. Surprisingly, I got the most relevant experience for my current role here. As the communications assistant, I worked with the constituency groups, clubs, and student groups which were all very different from each other, becoming familiar with them as part of my job was helpful. 

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

In the first week, there was an onboarding program called Base Camp which took place over 3 days. It’s a program that every employee goes through to align us with the values and direction of the company (which also gets you fired up and excited). Here I was able to meet a diverse range of staff from fellow co-op students to directors and managers with these introductions blossoming into meaningful connections.  

After Base Camp, I worked directly with my manager to learn the ins and outs of my day-to-day job. I was walked through how to do my main tasks and from then on, I eased into working independently. I asked lots of questions as new challenges came up. I made plenty of mistakes and my manager did a fantastic job of turning each mistake into a learning opportunity that challenged me to think critically. 

Day to Day

My work day changes from day to day but one thing that remains consistent is the project management for translations. I receive translation requests for marketing campaigns, website copy, and retail assets just to name a few. Upon receiving a request, the first step is to review the source copy. This review step is where I consider what challenges may come up in translations such as: how much time is needed to complete this? will gendered pronouns in the Roman languages be an issue? will the translated version likely be too long to fit into the design? will the linguists understand the jargon? what is the tone of the message? These are a few of the things I would brief the linguists on to ensure they understand which allows them to deliver their best work. 

Learning and Adaptation

I would say the greatest challenge I faced in adaptation was just throwing myself into a group of completely new people where I didn't know anyone. It's also a group of people who are slightly older than me which felt more intimidating(?) for some reason. I guess just getting used to not being surrounded by people the same age as you like in school was a new experience, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my team and found there was nothing to be scared of. 

Accomplishments and Challenges

The accomplishment I am most proud of during my time at Arc'teryx was when my manager went away on holiday, allowing me the opportunity to test my abilities and work independently. I was very lucky that my manager checked in frequently to see if needed any help and assisted where required. Being alone meant that it was entirely on me to check all the minute details and make sure the translation process was done correctly without having the fallback of my manager to catch things that I may miss. Work started to get quite busy around the time my manager went away so there were a lot of projects and timelines to juggle. I survived the madness of working alone but in the following weeks after my manager came back and it was time to deliver the projects I started, I realized I missed some things here and there. I'm glad I had the chance to try working independently and it was a great reminder that there is always more to learn and improve upon. 

Cultural and Environmental Observations

The work environment is incredibly chill and has a youthful energy. The company strongly encourages its employees to get outside and be in the mountains through a multitude of initiatives that promote that lifestyle. This cohesion of the culture of the workplace, the products we create and sell, and the brand that breathes life into it all makes the experience feel incredibly holistic and meaningful. Also being in North Vancouver, we are located close to the local ski mountains so during the winter season it's quite common for employees to head to the slopes during lunch breaks or after work. 

Social and Extracurricular Activities

There are a couple of events for co-ops and their leaders to get outside and get to know each other (usually somewhere in the mountains for a hike or outdoor activity). Beyond these welcoming activities, there are events like the Arc'teryx Backcountry Academy Kick-off party. It's a big party for all employees and many people stay for the night or even the whole weekend to ski. Bevvy and Story are events held at the office and online where a speaker (usually an employee) will come in to talk about something and the beer kegs are opened for everyone to have a drink. At the recent Bevvy and Story, the CEO Stuart Haselden spoke about the recent IPO and his experience seeing it through. Lastly, there are a lot of opportunities to just go outside on a nice day with your team and go skiing or an activity instead of working! 

Reflection & Tips
Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience
  • Buying all the Arc'teryx gear one could ever dream of having with the discount 
  • Networking with people who have worked for years in an industry you are passionate about 
  • There is no division between co-op students and full-time employees. My last co-op had the students sitting together in our own area and had a lot of social activities but being a regular member of the team was a new experience I never had before.