By: Matt McTavish, guest writer and co-op student
If you love travelling, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, diversifying your skills or simply need a change of scenery, an international co-op term may be the right choice for you! You can experience a work term in your field of study in countless countries across the globe. This past year at Waterloo there were more than 2,600 co-op students on work terms abroad!
There are many advantages to pursuing an international work term. You can gain diverse, international, career experiences that may be different from the traditional way of doing things, become more marketable and employable in the global job market, leading to an increase in future job opportunities and must deal with real life situations and take the initiative to pursue an international opportunity.
If you are considering going abroad for your co-op term, don’t forget to plan where you are going to live, leave yourself lots of time to get a travel visa, and plan ahead for flights. Remember that at every step, the international co-op team is available to guide you and provide help, as needed. You just have to reach out to your Work Term Support contact or Student Advisor with your questions, and they will point you to the right person on the team.
The large majority of international work terms take place in the United States, however there are also a large number of opportunities in Countries like China, Germany, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, among many others! 80% of those working in the US were employed through WaterlooWorks, while 50-55% of students working internationally found their own employment opportunity.
If you feel like an international work term may be for you, I encourage you to reach out to the Centre for Career Action and make a ‘Working Abroad’ appointment. You can also learn about other Waterloo students international experiences on the Student Perspectives site. If an international work term sounds like something that you would like to do speak to someone on the Co-operative Education team as soon as possible for more information!