Adjusting To The Canadian Workplace
As an international student with limited Canadian work experience, you might feel uncertain about what the workplace is like in Canada, and how to prepare yourself for it. Canadian work culture has certain similarities to other cultures, however, it does help to get involved with your new community to try and learn all that Canada has to offer. Thankfully, Dalhousie and Halifax have great opportunities and resources to help students adjust to the Canadian culture and workplace. Here are some suggestions and opportunities we encourage you to take advantage of.
Getting To Know The Culture
Getting to know a place and understanding the culture and people is important. Try to dedicate some time to explore and learn about Halifax, its culture, and its people. This will help you with your transition into the workplace. Remember these key tips:
-Ask questions when you don’t know something
-Ask questions in a polite way and explain why you are asking
Dalhousie International Centre: There is an International Centre located on the Studley, Sexton, and Truro campuses. These are great places to practice your communication skills with others. Try joining a club like the International Centre’s English as a Second Language Club to help improve your overall communication skills.
Contact the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia. This agency helps new immigrants with their settlement and integration in Nova Scotia. Contact them to ask for any resources or services they may have for international students.
Confidence is important in the workplace. Students with confidence are more attractive candidates for prospective employers and are more successful employees. Here are some key things you can do to build your confidence:
Dress for success: This does not mean that you must wear expensive clothes, it simply means that you should take pride in how you dress and establish a professional appearance, which will help you feel good about your self-image.
Practice talking to people: Challenge yourself to try talking to people who are from Canada. The more you practice, the more you will feel comfortable talking to new people. To practice your communication skills with others, join a conversation circle or participate in the International Centre’s English Corner every Tuesday night, or use resources like the Dalhousie Accent Clinic.
Improve your communication: An important part of success in Canada or anywhere else is strong communication skills. Try to find time to practice your reading, speaking, writing and listening skills in English. Take advantage of resources like the Dalhousie Writing Centre to get help with and improve your writing.
International Student Success Program: The International Student Success Program offers a variety of assistance to international and exchange students in the Faculty of Management. ISSP also hosts weekly sessions for international students to help with job searches and courses.
Gaining experience is one of the best ways to adjust to the Canadian work culture. If you’re an international student and you want to work in Canada, you need to follow certain regulations and depending on the type of work, you may need to apply for a work permit. Once you have received your work permit, you can use the following steps to become more familiar with the Canadian workplace.
Building Professional Networks
Professional networking is very important for any student or professional, as it helps you learn new things and increases your chances of success in finding a job. Here are a few resources which may be helpful for you:
Halifax Connector Program: If you are graduating soon, contact Halifax Partnership and ask them about the Connector Program. They can connect you to professionals in your industry for networking. The Connector Program’s goal is to match new residents and international graduates in Halifax with local employers.
NetWorkIt: NetWorkIt has everything that young business professionals need for seeking information on professional development, career development and entrepreneurship. They look to help young professionals get ahead by providing information and tools to assist them in their career.
Eventbrite: Check Eventbrite regularly to see local networking events to go to. This will help you get comfortable meeting new people and talking to them.
Fusion Halifax: Fusion is a not for profit organization which helps young professionals as well as students. Fusion organizes regular networking events, presentations by business leaders and other opportunities for students to benefit from.
Directory of Online Resources: Research some of the organizations listed in the Online Directory. Contacting these organizations provides a chance to work on your networking skills, language skills, and learn more about your industry.
Management Career Services: Attend the networking events and workshops that MCS arranges during the year. You can see a list of these events and register for free through the myCareer events calendar.
Exploring Ways to Develop Your Skills and Knowledge
Developing your skills and knowledge will not only increase your comfort level in the workplace but will also boost your resume and help you secure future employment. Here are some resources that can help you achieve this:
E-Learning Webinar: Beginner’s Guide: The Job Search in Canada: Watch this short presentation for all the information you will need to start your job search in Canada.
DalConnects: DalConnects is a free student leadership program offered to all Dalhousie students. The program combines exciting and informative workshops, events, leadership retreats and conferences with valuable volunteer work experience.
Access job postings through myCareer > Career Services – Summer Job and Part-Time postings: myCareer posts the available summer jobs and part-time postings under the Career Services tab. A summer or part-time job is one of the best ways to become more comfortable with the Canadian work culture while also building your resume and making money.
Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship: The Norman Newman Centre offers assistance to students who are interested in pursuing business ideas and for students in the Faculties of Management and Commerce completing majors in entrepreneurship.
Enactus: Enactus a group for students that are passionate about using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and create a better tomorrow. Enactus members apply business concepts to develop outreach projects in the local and global community.
DSU: The DSU website lets you see all the student societies at Dalhousie. Student societies are a great way to get involved at Dalhousie and gain valuable work and communication experience with students who share your interests.
While entering a new workplace culture may be a challenge at first, if you use the resources that Dalhousie and Halifax have to offer, you can help make your adjustment to the Canadian workplace much easier and increase your value as a prospective employee.