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How international students work in Canada : Co-op placement and internship

Studying in Canada offers newcomers a vast array of opportunities, not just from an academic perspective, but also to prepare them for future professional success.

As an international student in Canada, you may be allowed to get some hands-on work experience alongside your study program. Depending on your course of study, completing an internship or co-op placement might even be a necessary part of your curriculum

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If you are in an academic, professional or vocational training program at a designated learning institution that requires work experience, such as a co-op or internship placement, you will need a work permit as well as a study permit.

 

To get a work permit, you must prove that the work experience is essential to completing your program. Acceptable proof could include a letter from the school you are attending or a copy of the school curriculum.

 

The work experience cannot be more than 50% of your total program of study.

 

If you are studying English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL), or participating in general interest or preparatory courses, you are not eligible for a co-op work permit.

Eligibility to get a co-op or intern work permit for international students

  • Some study programs include work experience as part of their curriculum. International students can apply for a co-op or intern work permit if:

    • you have a valid study permit
    • work is required to complete your study program in Canada
    • you have a letter from your school that confirms all students in your program need to complete work placements to get their degree, and
    • your co-op placement or internship totals 50% or less of your study program

What is the difference between internship and co-op placement?

Both internships and co-op placements provide you with work experience that aligns with your academic program. These work opportunities allow you to put your academic learnings into practice and get introduced to the Canadian work environment.

Both internships and co-op placements provide you with work experience that aligns with your academic program. These work opportunities allow you to put your academic learnings into practice and get introduced to the Canadian work environment.

Internship Co-op placement
How it works
The internship agreement is between the student and the employer
A three-way partnership between the academic institution, students, and employers
Duration of the work period
Usually lasts one term or one summer
Typically runs over multiple semesters, alternating with academic terms
Structure
Your academic calendar may or may not have a separate period for an internship
Clearly defined terms for co-op work in your academic schedule
Paid or unpaid
Internships in Canada can be paid or unpaid
Co-op opportunities are generally paid
Full-time or part-time
Flexible conditions can be full-time or part-time depending on your agreement with the employer
Generally full-time, as there is no overlap with your academic semester

Benefits of getting an internship or co-op placement in Canada

Internships or co-op placements are a course requirement for many academic programs. This means that for these programs, students must successfully complete the required work placements to get their degrees.

Regardless of whether or not a co-op placement is mandatory for your degree, getting an internship or co-op placement in Canada is beneficial for international students in several ways:

  • Extra income to cover your living expenses while you study in Canada
  • Get Canadian work experience in your area of study
  • Apply classroom learning in a professional work setting
  • Develop necessary skills for career success, including interpersonal and communication skills
  • Build connections and grow your network
  • Create a portfolio or work samples to supplement future work applications
  • Get references from your employer or manager for job applications
  • Opportunity to identify your professional strengths and weaknesses, and identify career interest
  • Secure a full-time employment offer, based on your performance during the internship or co-op role
Co-op placement and internship for international students in canada

Tips for applying for an internship or co-op placement in Canada

Identify potential employers based on your career interests

Start researching potential employers that you’d like to work with based on your academic program and area of interest. Check if your university has a list of past employers and see which organizations hire students from your institution. Keep track of internship or co-op opportunities you see on online job portals or on company websites, and make a list of prospective employers. Don’t hesitate to contact your target organizations or people in your network to ask if they recruit summer interns or co-op students.

Keep application timelines in mind

Most co-op and internship positions get filled months in advance, so be sure to apply well ahead of time. Typically, for co-ops, you should start looking for opportunities at least one semester before your scheduled work term. For summer internships, application deadlines are often in the spring months, so you should start researching prospective employers as early as the previous fall. Make a note of all the positions you are interested in, along with their application deadlines, so you don’t miss any opportunities.

Leverage resources provided by your university

Most co-op and internship positions get filled months in advance, so be sure to apply well ahead of time. Typically, for co-ops, you should start looking for opportunities at least one semester before your scheduled work term. For summer internships, application deadlines are often in the spring months, so you should start researching prospective employers as early as the previous fall. Make a note of all the positions you are interested in, along with their application deadlines, so you don’t miss any opportunities.

Create your resume and cover letter

A good resume and cover letter can position you as the top candidate for any co-op or internship position. As an international student, you may be unfamiliar with the Canadian-style resume format. Check if your university can provide tips and templates for building your resume. You will need to customize your resume for each position you apply to, so be sure to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and strengths. 

 

Tips: Prepped, a digital career platform, offers tools to help you optimize your resume and tailor it to a job description to boost your chances of success.

 

While a cover letter is not always required as part of the application, it can help you stand out as a strong candidate. Use the cover letter to tell your story and highlight why you are an ideal fit for the role.

Update your LinkedIn profile

Whether you are using LinkedIn to search for jobs or for professional networking, it is important to keep your profile up to date. Your LinkedIn profile is a great way of publicly showcasing your experience, skills, certifications, and qualifications to prospective employers. 

About Canada Admission Hub

Admission Hub is one of the largest International Student Immigration Firm based in Toronto & Vancouver. Currently, it operates in the following markets: Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Europe, Vietnam, and India.

 

Our parent company CVH Immigration Ltd. Admission Hub is helping and supporting International Students around the world to Study, Work, and Immigrate to Canada. We are proud to partner with over +150 Canadian Institutions.

 

If you want to apply to the above colleges , the first step is to complete a FREE CONSULTATION with Admission Hub’s Consultant, our consultant will reach out to provide you with as much assistance as possible.

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