Journey around the world for a co-op job

Photo of Anoushka sitting on a sofa and smiling Hello! My name is Anoushka and I am a second-year Computer Science student. I have completed my first co-op work term as a Web Assistant for the Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) department at the University of Waterloo. 

During the four months, I had a chance to explore different websites, platforms and tools. I worked on some significant CEE websites such as Co-op, Hire, Future Ready Talent Framework and the recently launched Associate Provost site. But my journey of landing a co-op wasn't a smooth ride.

How was your experience landing your first co-op job?

Beginning with the recruiting term, I was still in India due to travel restrictions. Given the time difference of 10+ hours between India and Canada, the mornings in Canada were evenings in India. So, all my interviews would begin from seven in the evening and could last till two in the morning. Similarly, I had to schedule any appointments for résumé review or interview prep at night. After two rigorous cycles of late nights, I finally got an offer. But my journey of landing in Canada wasn't a smooth ride either.

In August 2021, they banned direct flights from India to Canada and my job requirement of in-person presence in Canada had me in a swirl. I took a journey around the globe to reach Canada. I commenced this expedition from Delhi, the capital of India, to the island of Maldives, where I stayed for a day to get a third-country RT-PCR test. I then had connecting flights via Turkey and Greece and, lastly, Canada. I finally reached my destination three continents, five countries, and three-time zones later.

How do you think working in Co-operative and Experiential Education (CEE) has helped you develop yourself? 

My journey of settling in Canada wasn't easy either. I had no previous experience of living alone or working and was diving straight into both situations simultaneously. And the problematic addition was the extreme temperatures for an Indian body. These all forced me to understand the public transport for travel, trails for shorter routes and Tim Hortons when I can. Concerning my work, apart from my technical skills, I developed my communication skills, primarily spoken, and how to put forth my view in a room full of people, present myself and network.

What projects were you a part of during your co-op term?

One of the projects I worked on was building data reports for all CEE websites, analyzing their audience engagement, geography and time, day of the week and dates of engagement to help improve posting time and better target advertisements. These reports aren't static or stuck in time. They are live reports that can pull data from the past and present, which will make a lasting impact for future reporting by reducing time doing analytical queries. 

Photo of Anoushka standing beside a Christmas tree and smiling

 

Also, the reports make it simple for those less versed in google analytics to access data, making it more accessible for units to make data-backed decisions when it comes to our websites.

Photo of Anoushka smiling

What is something you learned this co-op work term that you will take with you moving forward?

Every task I have done was in a three-fold process of building, maintaining and data-driven analyses. I have studied the complete cycles of CEE websites and tried to understand the impact of every action on these websites. 

 

This technique of analyzing every move is something I will carry forward with me, as one needs to understand the causes of each step and find solutions to move forward because life never is a smooth ride.

What's next for you?

I'll be returning to school and looking for my next co-op. I hope to broaden my horizons by experimenting with jobs outside of web. To achieve this, I am currently working on an ML model that allows users to search subtitles of lecture videos for quicker access to concepts and keywords. I also look forward to maintaining a work-life balance and focusing on my hobbies of photography and basketball.

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