Student packing suitcase while referencing laptop

Now that you’ve secured your co-op job abroad it's time to get ready to go!

Download our work abroad checklist to help you pack the essentials and get prepared for a safe and successful work term abroad.

Don't forget to complete the co-op requirements to ensure you receive credit for your work term outside of Canada.


1. Ensure your travel documents are valid

You must have a valid passport to travel outside of Canada. A valid passport means your passport expiration date is at least six months after your planned date of return to Canada.

Before you go, scan copies of the front and back of your important documents (passport, visa, etc.) to keep for yourself and for your emergency contact. If you are a Canadian going on a work term in the U.S., your passport needs to be valid for 30 days after your planned date of return to Canada.

2. Obtain the required visa/permits

Apply and obtain the legal authorizations (visa and/or permits) required to work abroad. You will need to research which permits allow you to stay and work in your destination country.

For the U.S., it's important to ensure your employer is eligible to sponsor a Waterloo co-op student. Please review the host company requirements from our preferred sponsors, Cultural Vistas and Intrax. Find more information about visa sponsors and U.S. work permits/J-1 visas.

Keep in mind that applying for visas/permits takes time, so get the process started as soon as possible. If you have any questions, reach out to our international employment specialists for support.

3. Comply with vaccination requirements

Research any inoculations and vaccinations you might need for your destination. The Government of Canada maintains a travel vaccinations database that you can search by destination. 

You should also review the most recent COVID-19 travel regulations for your destination including COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements.

4. Confirm your employment and destination details

Confirm all details about your employment and destination including:

  • The start and end dates of your work term.
  • Whether your job is in-person, remote or hybrid.
  • Your salary/pay.
  • Your housing options – whether your employer arranges for housing and/or covers relocation costs.

To help you prepare, you should:

  • Make a budget that includes your salary and expenses.
  • Research banking options at your destination.
  • Learn about the local area such as public transit, groceries and laundry.

5. Secure health insurance 

If you require medical assistance while you are in your country of employment, contact your medical insurance provider.

6. Monitor safety precautions

7. Check for updates

Regularly check your WaterlooWorks dashboard and your UWaterloo email for important updates. Important updates could include visa processing issues, delayed start dates, risk management requirements and more.

If you need assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to your co-op advisor via WaterlooWorks.