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1. Are you an international student interested in joining Co-op?
Moving away from your home country and studying in a foreign place an exciting and challenging time for you. Many international students are eager to immerse themselves in their new environment by studying and by securing employment.
For many international students, joining Co-op is the best way to assist with the transition of integrating work/study balance. Co-op helps to connect students to the Canadian labour market and also can help offset educational expenses, while enhancing your academic studies with relevant professional work experience.
2. What is Co-operative Education at StFX?
Co-operative Education is integrated paid employment experience with academic studying. The purpose of Co-op is to prepare students with the skills and tools necessary to be successful in obtaining meaningful employment when they graduate. Students participate by rotating work and study throughout the duration of the degree. In Co-op, students earn, learn and experience.
Students earn between 10-24 dollars an hour while on work term, and can work locally, nationally or internationally, for 4, 8, 12 or 16 months. Successful students receive 3 units of credit toward their degree when they complete all Co-op requirements, and 12 months of professional experience.
If you are interested in completing an international work placement, please notify the Co-op Staff at least 8 months in advance.
3. What are the program requirements?
Co-op 110, 120, and 130 are mandatory non-credit courses known as Professional Development Sessions (PDS). The PDS are designed to help you secure a work term and be successful while working. PDS are prerequisites to your work terms. They are billed at 600.00 upon registration.
Once you begin the PDS, you can start to accumulate your 12 months of paid professional experience. When all of your PDS and work terms are completed students return to classes and enroll in Co-op 405. In this course students debrief about their work terms, reflect on their experiences and relate experience to their peers, as well they deliver a presentation and submit a final report to the Co-op Manager for an academic grade and 3 units of credit.
4. What do international students need to know before joining Co-op?
- The Co-op Program costs $3300. This cost is in addition to your tuition. Each PDS is $600 and each work term is $500.
- Students must have a 65% average to join and have a 70% to go out on work term.
- Students complete the program’s application form online. The Co-op staff reviews the application and accepts/rejects the application. Once a student is accepted into the program, s/he is can begin the co-op non credit courses, have access to the job board, and begin applying to Co-op positions.
- Transfer students should join Co-op in their 1st semester of study at StFX to receive maximum benefits of the program.
5. What do you need to know about working in Canada?
The StFX International Student Advising Office is there to help you navigate work permits and documentation. Students must obtain a Co-op work permit to be eligible to work in the program. Students, who obtain a permit and leave the Co-op Program for any reason, must return this permit immediately to the Co-op Staff.
For more information about work permits, make an appointment with your International Student Advisor and see the applications and regulations and supporting documents at the following website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/work-students.asp
6. Important information to keep in mind early in the Co-op Process
- Canada has a welcoming culture that appreciates and values diversity of its habitants and workforce. You can be proud of your diversity and culture while learning and working here and still learn and enjoy the Canadian way of life and culture.
- Canadian ‘norms’ such as how to greet and take leave appropriately, how to approach a professional for employment opportunities and how to interact with university staff, can be learned by observing university staff, local students, and your employers in the work term.
- International students are valued for their high degree of technical skills. However, you also need to work on your soft skills which includes; proper formal and informal communication, both written and verbal, as well as understanding the culture of the Canadian work place.
- You Co-op Staff are your best resource to find out answers to questions you may have before work term and your supervisors can assist you with your concerns on the job.
7. Tips to help integrate into Canadian Work place
A common barrier to successful entry into our force or success on the job can be communication abilities.
8. Enhance your communication skills by:
- Participating in conversation labs with Co-op Advisor, Faculty, Staff and Students.
- Talking with groups and take the opportunity to speak in class, and by interacting with domestic students.
- Engaging with the Students’ Union Societies
- Taking communication and English grammar courses
- Attending optional workshops through the Co-op Program
- Reading newspapers and academic publications