Finding co-op success beyond Canada

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Picture of the view from inside an airplane looking at blue sky and an airplanes' wing

By Krista Henry

Amid the uncertainty of the global pandemic, Ayman Mahin Gostar and Marco Lamothe’s co-op journey led them to international success.
Lockdowns and travel restrictions made securing co-op roles a challenge. These two University of Waterloo students were resilient and landed jobs in Europe and the Middle East.

Gostar was a second-year Environment and Business student at the time. He was determined to find a remote opportunity in the field of renewable energy and looked to his home country of the United Arab Emirates for his dream role.

Gostar was hired as a marketing intern at Yellow Door Energy. It is a leading sustainable energy partner for commercial and industrial businesses in the Middle East and South Asia. “Going to a Canadian university I know I will have experiences in Canada, so it was important to me to gain experience at 
home to see how the corporate world works here,” he said.

Exploring new spaces

As a marketing intern, Gostar learned about the challenges and opportunities in different business environments. “I worked with five countries in my first co-op term, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!” he said.

Gostar applied his academic knowledge and personal network to introduce prospective customers to his employer, and even helped to propose a multi-million-dollar solar project.

“I approached the business development manager to work on a proposal recommending potential companies. I was trained on how to answer questions and assess customer needs. I met the customers and introduced our company.”

 - Ayman Gostar, second-year Environment and Business student

Overall, his internship taught him valuable skills that he can apply in Canada.

 Building a reputation internationally

Marco Lamothe headshotFourth-year Data Science student, Marco Lamothe, also looked to roads less traveled. Which led him to two work terms in Europe. His first was in Hamburg, Germany doing research. More recently Lamothe worked at Capula Investment Management in the United Kingdom as a trading intern. “A lot of companies overseas, especially in Europe and the United States, are very prestigious with great job opportunities,” he explains.

“I’ve found that when you work for companies that hire internationally, they hire from the best all over the world. So you meet some cool and smart people from all over the world. I’ve really enjoyed my current role which is a mix of academia and software. You’re making tools that can help in the real world,” he said.

Lamothe was able to work in person for his role in Germany. He also found value in working remotely for his second role.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to interact with and learn from people across the world. If you see roles overseas, apply for the job even if it pays less, as you get an experience that is unlike any other.”

 - Marco Lamothe, fourth-year Data Science student

Tips on finding international opportunities

With two very different journeys, here are some tips from Gostar and Lamothe about working internationally:

1. Networking is key

Make connections with alum and other groups and organizations.

“Networking is a really great tool which was handier than applying to job postings. I reached out to a Waterloo alum in my country and they included me in their university group, so I was exposed to different and talented people,” says Gostar.

“My most recent job was extremely competitive and gets most interns from Ivy League Universities in the States. Thanks to a former Waterloo grad and the recruiting team they hired two interns from Waterloo, which was amazing” says Lamothe.

2. Apply outside of the box

Consider applying for positions that others might overlook – you may be surprised at the opportunities that are available.

“When I applied for the role in Germany, there were only seven applicants, so definitely go for those different opportunities,” says Lamothe.

3. Let your personality shine

Employers are looking for more than grades and qualifications.

“If it’s a big company remember you need to have those good grades to get the interview and when you do, show your personality. Whomever they hire will be chosen based on personality. Ask questions during the interview, show you are interested and try to learn something from your interviewer. Show you’ll be a good fit,” adds Lamothe.

Learn how to showcase your skills with these tips on acing an interview.