New York, San Francisco, where to next?

Yuvika Khardenavis, a fourth-year Computer Engineering student, shares her pursuit of travel through the exchange program and international co-ops.


A picture of Yuvika standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, wearing a UWaterloo Shirt.

How many co-op work terms have you done and where?

Work term 1: Ford Motors as a software infrastructure intern in their Oakville office. Implemented new features for the Infotainment system in the next model of Ford vehicles and resolved bugs and code smells.

Work term 2: Nielsen, a market-research research company, as a software developer based out of their office in Markham. Implemented mathematical models on their internal application to understand market trends.


Work term 3: University of Waterloo as an undergraduate research assistant. Built an open-source tool to intelligently apply security patches.

Work term 4: Infinera, a telecommunication company, as a digital signal processing firmware intern. She worked on the firmware for their connectivity solutions.

Work term 5: LinkedIn in New York as a backend systems and infrastructure engineering intern, working on an internal tool used to monitor infrastructure usage.

Work term 6: Cruise in San Francisco, an autonomous ride-hail and delivery service as an embedded software engineering intern on the Embedded Devices (Cameras) team. Built a diagnostic tool for debugging camera-related issues on the robo-taxi.

Where did you find your co-ops?

Yuvika got her first few jobs on WaterlooWorks. During the pandemic, Yuvika emailed many Waterloo professors in order to secure a research position that term.

She found her two international jobs by applying externally through their respective websites. “I just applied to a lot of places online and got lucky that someone got back to me.”

First co-op experience:

Yuvika got her first co-op through WaterlooWorks at Ford Motors, as a software infrastructure intern.

“I was a stream four student, so I had to apply to jobs only one month in university, which was a lot.”

“My first co-op was a steep learning curve because I've never worked before, and I had to learn the basics and the terminology.”

“Then I started my co-op and had a really nice mentor and team. It was a really fun experience even though there was definitely a lot for me to learn.”

“At the beginning, I was very nervous. I didn't know what kind of questions to ask, if it was okay to ask, but after all these co-op experiences, I feel better prepared and more confident about future challenges and workplaces.”

Learning the basics of the workforce helped Yuvika in her future work terms as she adapted faster.

Travel experience: Study abroad to work abroad

Yuvika had the opportunity to study abroad before she found two different work opportunities abroad. Unfortunately, her exchange got canceled a few times due to the pandemic but once travel opened again, Yuvika jumped at the many opportunities to travel.

“I'm an international student from Mumbai, so coming to Canada was like a study abroad, but for a longer time. It was still very different when I went to study in Ireland for my exchange.”

“Then I continued travelling by choosing my co-ops in New York and San Francisco

What inspired you to go international?

“I traveled a lot as when I was younger, when I lived in Mumbai with my parents who love to travel. We used to travel twice a year and would go somewhere within India or abroad as well. That's just something I enjoyed.”

“Coming to Canada for university, I was able to seek out some more opportunities to pursue my passion for travel through study abroad and my co-ops.”

Yuvika chose to go to Europe for her exchange and the United States for her co-ops so she could figure out if she wanted to do grad school there and to experience the culture beforehand.

“It was an opportunity for me to see how the city was and ask myself if I wanted to work there at some point in the future.”

“I wanted to go to an English-speaking country because I'm only there for four months and it would be a bit challenging with a language barrier.”

The struggles of moving around the world.

“Especially this year, I've been moving so much.” “In the beginning, I was really excited. I like to explore new places, different cultures, try different food, all of that. I really enjoy it.”

“Moving every four months, being in a different place with different people, finding an apartment, making a new group of friends, being in a different culture, it sometimes gets a bit tiring.”

“I really enjoyed being able to have this opportunity. I feel like once I graduate, it will become harder for me to do something like this.”

“Co-op helped me figure out what kind of city I want to live in and gave me the chance to explore. That was 100% worth it all the moving.”

A picture of Yuvika standing in front of the a street with buildings in the background


“Everything I've learned in this whole year has been amazing! I've met people from everywhere and got to explore so much.”

“It's just funny how all of this lined up. I only planned to go on exchange to Ireland. Both my internships were supposed to be in California, but then because of the pandemic, my fifth co-op at LinkedIn let us choose our location because it was hybrid. And I was like, ‘I'm going to New York!’”

How did co-op help you towards your future goals?

“International co-ops helped my personal development because practicing moving to different cities gave me the confidence that I can always figure things out.”

“Logistics are hard but starting from the ground up in a new place with new people, a new apartment and a new workplace gives you the confidence to say ‘Oh, yeah, I can do this!”

“Professionally, I've always tried to do my co-ops in different industries, places and different kinds of roles to gives me a better perspective on jobs I might want to pursue once I graduate and widen my skill set.”

“I think that co-op helped me learn what I liked doing and most importantly what I don't like doing.”

What were the highlights of working at LinkedIn in New York?

  • Hybrid work term with a start time of 10 a.m. due to the team being in different time zones.
  • Office in the Empire State Building.
  • LinkedIn would provide free breakfast, lunch and had a barista coffee bar.
  • There were yoga and boxing classes provided after work.
  • Had a really supportive mentor. Yuvika really appreciated the time and effort her manager regularly gave her.
  • Social coworkers who were always open to help her when she was stuck with her coding and promoted a collaborative work culture.

A picture of Yuvika standing, people in the background

Making friends in new places

“It's a bit daunting in the beginning because you don’t know anyone, and you wonder how You’re going to make friends.”

“Making friends in school is very different than making friends when you're working in school you just run into people and there's a lot of events to meet new people.”

“What I have done in the past is start with people at work, talk to them and try to build a relationship with them."

“Facebook groups are a great tool to meet people in the city you’re in. And you can search for meetup groups who have similar interests and hobbies as you.”


Do you have any advice for other co-op students?

“Especially when you're applying in the beginning, there's this pressure of taking whatever job you get because you think you won't get a job. But it's so important to wait and be selective in what you want.”

“I only took a job if I liked it, even if it was in the last few rounds. There are some amazing jobs there.”

“As much you don’t believe me, you can be selective. I know it’s very, very scary but don't take something you don’t like just because you get it. It's okay to take your time.”

What’s next for you?

“I graduate next spring and I'm happy about my experience at Waterloo. I got to do most of the jobs I wanted to try and everything I wanted in university.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do after, work maybe or go to grad school.”

“I'm just going to take my time and see what I want to do. Now knowing my likes and dislikes in the workforce will help me make a better decision, whatever that is.”

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