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Co-op opportunities for newcomer students in Canada


Parampreet Kaur is taking part in a co-op program in Lethbridge, Alberta

One compelling reason to choose Canada for higher studies is the co-operative work/study program commonly known as ‘co-op’.

Canadian universities and colleges offer co-op programs which allow for students to gain experience in the Canadian work force, earn a good income and really figure out their career paths.

Parampreet Kaur is one of those students who have come a long way in two years, thanks to her co-op program.

Parampreet left Ludhiana, a city in the state of Punjab, India, to study biochemistry and microbiology at the University of Victoria on the island of Victoria, in British Colombia.

“When I moved it was hard. It was a challenge to get used to the new Canadian system. Here you are responsible for your own courses and timetable. In India, it’s fixed and I think the change can be hard at first, but it’s something I’ve gotten used to,” she says.

Her experience has been both challenging and rewarding. Overall, she’s glad she chose to complete her degree in Canada.

“I really like studying in Canada,” she says. “There really isn’t much discrimination here, especially when it comes to job availability.”

Adjusting to life in Canada as a student is much easier with a group of friends and with academic support close by.

Prampreet chose to live on campus for her first year in Victoria.

Of her experience she says, “Living on campus was the best decision I made! I wasn’t familiar with how things worked over here but I knew I had a room, and I always knew I could find out what was going on.”

Now in her third year, the 21-year-old is taking part in a co-op placement with the Canadian Department of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada in Lethbridge.

She began her co-op placement last summer, which has given her the chance to earn valuable work experience as well as some extra money to help pay for tuition.

She works eight hours a day and at the end of her co-op placement she will have written a report about her experience.

“It’s hard work, but the experience is great and I receive a good wage for a student, which will help with tuition next year,”.

Being able to travel in Canada has also given Parampreet a broader perspective of the country she now calls home.

This summer Parampreet and her friend visited Waterton Lakes National Park in southwest Alberta.

“It was amazing,” she says. “It was so beautiful and we actually saw some bears while hiking in the mountains.”

Parampreet has one more year left at the University of Victoria to complete her degree. She plans to spend a year doing lab work after graduation, after which she will apply to a Master’s program.

She already states that she’s one hundred per cent sure she’ll be continuing her studies – right here in Canada.

“I knew that if I came to Canada to study I’d be able to get a good job and a nice atmosphere to study. I have already found that... and I plan to stay.”
Ann Alexander

• To find out more about studying in Canada, applying for Canadian universities as an international student and for more information on academic career in Canada, visit www.canada123.org.

Posted: Dec 4, 2012

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