Getting Work Experience in Canada as an International Student
Jaimin, a 3rd-year student from Kenya studying Biology and Environmental Studies, shares how the Career Centre helped him get a job in Canada.
This article was written by Jaimin Shah, a 3rd-year international student at Laurier completing a double major in Biology and Environmental Studies.
As a student from Nairobi (Kenya), it was my dream to explore my further education in a different country. My post-secondary institution hunt began in the final year at my high school. There was a Study in Canada university fair taking place and I made sure I attended it. I saw various university representatives present advertising about their university programs and success rate; however, one key university stood out to me, and that was Wilfrid Laurier University. I spoke with a representative from Wilfrid Laurier University and asked all the questions that were of relevance to me. This was it; I knew this is where my journey began.
Laurier welcomes and supports international students
One year later, here I was at Wilfrid Laurier University! My aim as an international student was to understand and learn the culture of a Canadian university along with gaining valuable experience by studying and working. The warm and graceful reception for international students during the first week was quite remarkable. There were multiple guest speakers and seminars that took me by surprise. All these informative seminars and events helped me feel appreciated and welcomed to a new country and university.
Lifetime access to Career Centre services
My favorite seminar was the Career Centre one. This seminar stood out to me because of all the various resources available at my fingertips. Co-op programs, cover letter and resumé workshops, certificate programs and LIFETIME access to – Laurier’s Career Centre services were the few resources that drew my attention from the wide range of available resources.
International student work experience program
Further down the road, I visited the career center to hear more about the International student work experience program (ISWEP). I was amazed by all the opportunities presented to students at Laurier, but specifically international students. The ISWEP job positions were specifically designed for international students only, to provide them with a realistic platform to gain valuable experience while enabling them to maintain focus on their education. I decided I wanted to participate in ISWEP because I realized this was a brilliant opportunity to gain crucial experience while not jeopardizing my education.
Resumé and cover letter workshops
From here, I increasingly got engaged with the Career Centre to help me gain some experience in the real world. I began by attending resumé and cover letter writing workshops. These workshops really enlightened me since I had an average cover letter and resumé. I significantly improved my cover letter and resumé through professional guidance.
One-on-one meetings with career specialists
Once I completed these workshops, I applied for an ISWEP position with the International Recruitment and Partnership department at Laurier. I was over the moon when I was asked for an interview. This was my first professional interview and I wanted to make sure it went well, so I decided to book an interview practice session at the Career Centre to help prepare me. This session was super insightful and gave me valuable tips and ideas which eventually made me confident for my interview. The session was one-on-one and was carried out by a career specialist. Two weeks later, I was jumping up and down because I got the job!
Continued support from Career Centre representatives
I thought my connection to the Career Centre was over since I got the job and there was nothing else left to do, but I was wrong. The Career Centre continued supporting me by providing me with various resources such as tips to succeed on a job, tips to create healthy professional connections and, to this day, continues to support me.
Students are usually unaware about the variety of resources available to them just by being a Laurier student. For me, the Career Centre at Laurier is the best place to engage yourself with the university and gain priceless experience.
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