My name is Kehan Wang. I am currently completing my third co-op work term as a Special Projects Assistant with Dalhousie University’s Management Career Services (MCS). This is my first Canadian work experience and I have appreciated this opportunity to be a part of the MCS team.
Co-op work terms are very valuable for a student like me who is pursuing a better future, because they allow me to experience different roles, work methods and work environments before graduation. This is the reason why I decided to complete co-op work terms in both China and Canada before I launch my career post-graduation.
My first Canadian work experience has impressed me in two ways. The first positive impression was with regards to the work environment. My very first day at MCS was a team building day. During the day, I joined MCS office staff members for lunch and played team building games. This event gave me a better understanding of every staff member. I had a lot of fun on my first day and the feeling of nervousness faded away. In order to do my work each day, I usually ask some small questions to my colleagues, but they are patient and always happy to answer my questions.
The second positive impression I received was how much trust the team put in my ability. My supervisor put me in charge of a social media project and allowed me to contribute my own ideas. Sometimes she asked my opinions and suggestions before she assigned a project to me. This level of trust enabled me to contribute more and gain a greater work experience.
Now that I know what it is like to complete a work term in Canada. I have three pieces of advice for international students who are preparing for their first co-op work term in Canada:
1. This opportunity to gain a better understanding of culture and regional differences will not only expand your knowledge of what it is like to work in Canada but it will also make you more successful in your future career path.
2. Whenever you are searching for jobs or while you are at work, remember to always have confidence in yourself.
3. Appreciate and value every opportunity you have. Seize every day and make the most of every opportunity.
NOTE FROM MCS: If you would like to learn more about Canadian workplace culture and expectations, please refer to the Management Career Services Workplace Experience Program which helps international students who have little or no prior work experience in Canada. International students looking for immediate help with their Canadian job search are encouraged to check out the e-Learning webinar entitled Beginners Guide: The Job Search in Canada.