Want to work abroad? Here’s your first point of contact

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Co-op photo contest 2012 3rd place winner International, by Roksena Nikolova

Photo by Roksena Nikolova, "Where in the World?!" Photo Contest 2012 3rd place winner.

By: Tiffany Liu

Have you ever wanted to do a co-op term abroad? Worried about how to get your visa? Unsure about how the process works?

The co-operative education international employment team is there to help!

The international employment specialists, Cathy Stein and Sandra Shantz, are your main point of contact when you are matched for an international co-op. While Cathy looks after students that are heading to the United States, Sandra supports students working internationally.

Give yourself lots of time and plan ahead if you want to experience an international work term.

CAthy Stein, IES

What can they do for you?

Cathy and Sandra ensure students are on the path of acquiring proper authorization for their international work terms, prepare the students pre-departure online course, as well as follow up with students on their arrival to their co-op sites. 

Students working the U.S.

Cathy helps students of all academic levels on the process of acquiring J1 visas. She serves as the liaison between the student, the employer and the visa sponsor (a third party authorized by U.S. immigration to issue visas on behalf of the consulate). Once a student is matched, Cathy contacts the employer and the student to let them know to start working on the visa application. She also contacts the visa sponsors to let them know which employers hired which students.

Students working outside of North America

Sandra ensures students contact the correct visa authority. The consulate lets students know what visas to get depending on personal circumstances such as which country’s passport they hold. She does not give visa type advice since it depends on the country’s issuing authority to give students visa information. Instead, she provides students with the correct consulate’s contact information so that students know where to go to get their international visas. She also provides students with a ‘Letter of Support’ that attests to the work experience being an academic requirement of their co-op degree, and that the University encourages international experiences as part of the institution’s strategic mandate.

International students working in Canada

The team also supports international visa students in co-op at Waterloo get their co-op work permits for a work term in Canada.

The world seems like a much smaller place when I see where students have their work terms and can connect with them almost instantly.

Sandra Shantz, IES

When should students contact IES? And for what?

The best way to contact IES is through email or WW as the team is not on campus. Students should feel free to reach out to them if they have questions on how to do a work term in the U.S., when they’ve been matched with a job or arranged their own job abroad. All questions regarding international work terms are welcome! To allow for job share cover, please email:

  • cecainties@uwaterloo.ca for visa info, risk management, and pre-departure prep for all international outbound work terms
  • cecausaies@uwaterloo.ca for visa info, risk management, and pre-departure prep for all USA outbound work terms
  • cecaint1@uwaterloo.ca for all inquiries about co-op work permits for international visa co-op students working in Canada

If you are planning to go on a work term abroad, you can find other Waterloo co-op students in your city through co-op connections and the ‘Student Connection Sheet’ regularly maintained per term by Cathy and Sandra, which is part of the pre-departure course. As well, you can enter the Co-op Photo Contest for a chance to have your photo printed on a postcard!