Internship Opportunities for International Students in Canada

Internships offer students the opportunity to gain practical experience which can help them find a job or develop contacts which can get them started in their dream career. International students can find internship opportunities in Canada which can help them grow professionally and personally.

Basic Information About Internships

• Interns work for a company or organization to learn about what they do. Some of these opportunities are paid, while others are unpaid.
• International students enrolled in programs at Canadian colleges or universities can inquire about available internships at the school’s Student Services center. Instructors may also know of internships which may be a good fit for a particular student and can even help to get someone hired for an opportunity.
• Professional associations are another good source of information about internships for international students in Canada. Go online to find ones connected with a student’s area of study to find companies offering an internship program.

Internships for International Students as Part of a Degree Program

Some degree programs require students to complete a practical component as part of their course of study. International students must apply for a Co-op Work Permit before they can accept an offer of employment. The internship or co-op program cannot count for more than 50 percent of the program of study.

International students who are interested in applying for a Co-op Work Permit will need to obtain a letter from the faculty of the school they are attending indicating that the work term is a required part of the program. When the Work Permit is issued, it will list the school as the student’s employer. It will also list an expiry date, which will be the same as the one on the Study Permit.

Post-Graduation Work Program

International students who have completed their program at a college or university lasting at least eight months are eligible to participate in the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. This Program was put in place to allow students to gain practical experience. Students accepted into the Program will be issued a work permit for up to three years.

The exact time the international student will be allowed to work in Canada will depend on the length of the academic program he or she completed. International students who are interested in being considered for this program must apply within 90 days of the release of their final grades.

This is a guest article by Colin Cooper. He is an in-house content writer at PlagiarismDetect.com an online plagiarism detection tool for writers.

International student recruitment & the power of agents

At the internationally active University of Nottingham in the UK, Vicenzo Raimo, Director of the International Office, shares his views:

“In an ever more competitive international student recruitment market, UK universities are increasingly relying on the use of student recruitment agents to meet targets. Not only are universities failing to appreciate the full costs of international student recruitment but some are also in danger of failing to meet ethical standards in their work overseas.

Despite the significant increase in international students coming to the UK in recent years I am concerned that as a result of increasing competition and the more difficult environment resulting from the UK government’s changes to visa requirements, recruitment agents have become too powerful and the balance of power between universities and agents has shifted increasingly towards agents.
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Federal Recognition of AIRC – Reflections by Mitch Leventhal

“As someone who was there at the birth of the American International Recruitment Council, I want to share some reflections about the role of federal recognition of standards development organizations in the international student recruitment debate.

By the mid-1990s, globalization of higher education had resulted in an international student recruitment environment significantly different than what had evolved during the prior post-WWII period. A vast industry of international student recruitment agencies had emerged; an industry nurtured by America’s Anglophone competitors in higher education – in particular, the United Kingdom and Australia – which fueled their rapid growth in their higher education exports, while eroding American market share.

American competition for international students was hampered internally by a lack of consensus-based industry standards governing the field of agency-based recruitment.

Institutions had difficulty differentiating good operators from bad, were concerned both with their own reputational risk, and need to provide greater assurance that the interests of student were being protected.

American competition for international students was hampered internally by a lack of consensus-based industry standards

In addition, federal agencies appeared to be badly confused regarding the development of agency recruitment channels – with the State Department opposing the use of educational consultants for recruitment while the Commerce Department actively encouraged the same activity.

It was within this context that the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) was established by US accredited post-secondary institutions, led by several state research universities. The founders of AIRC noted an emerging body of federal legislation which encouraged the creation of industry-based, consensus standards organizations, and which required federal agencies to work with such bodies.

AIRC was modeled on US higher education accreditation, as a federally recognized consensus-based standards which would implement a stringent certification process capable of identifying good actors, and penalizing the bad.

All federal agencies should be aware of the legal standing that AIRC has achieved

The US Congress provided the impetus for the creation of the AIRC. The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 not only recognized the importance of consensus standards bodies to the national economy, but it also required the use of such standards by Federal agencies.

It also explicitly encouraged Federal agency representatives to participate in ongoing standards development activities. In a 1998 policy Circular, President Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget directed heads of executive departments and agencies “to use voluntary consensus standards in lieu of government-unique standards except where inconsistent with law or otherwise impractical.”

Immediately upon incorporating as a 501c3 in 2008, AIRC officially registered as a Standards Development Organization (SDO) with the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. AIRC’s founding institutions invested in this consensus-based standards development effort with the full expectation that these efforts would be recognized by relevant federal agencies.

AIRC has fully observed the intent of the law and resulting policy. AIRC member institutions firmly believe that industry standards in the area of international student recruitment will provide a basis for better coordination among federal agencies and dramatically increase higher education exports, while providing greater protections for students.

International recruitment agencies which have successfully achieved AIRC certification did so with the expectation that AIRC standards and certification would be federally recognized. Investments have been made on the basis of this understanding.

Many of AIRC’s members have been disappointed that some US federal agencies have continued to issued ill-informed and misguided policy statements and directives which have directly undermined AIRC’s efforts while doing significant harm to the higher education industry.

All federal agencies should be aware of the legal standing that AIRC has achieved as an SDO, as well as their obligation to work with AIRC to ensure that consensus-based industry standards for international student recruitment are adopted as a means to strengthen US higher education exports, while providing enhanced consumer protections for students.”

Mitch Leventhal is Vice President at AIRC and Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs at State University of New York, USA.

Online and Abroad: Getting the Most Out of Your Online Educational Experience

As youngster high school students, we create all kinds of images and expectations for our college experience. Whether it’s influenced by lofty books we’ve read, silly comedic movies we’ve see, or stories we’ve heard from friends and siblings, there are certain anticipations we have for our colligate experience. We envision late night study sessions, copious amounts of coffee, dorm rooms filled with Christmas lights and band posters, semesters abroad in Greece or Rome, inspiring professors, and early morning classes. These images aren’t necessarily wrong—but they are seemingly limited to the more “traditional” college experience. However, as online education gains in popularity among students, universities, and employers, the “traditional” student is no longer necessarily the only college student to consider.

While some staples of college learning are somewhat limited to “traditional” brick and mortar schools—dorm rooms, cold college classrooms, and campus dining halls—, online learning is becoming more and more mainstream in today’s society. Online students have all the same social and academic possibilities and opportunities that traditional students have. For the online students who has dreamt of taking a semester abroad during their collegiate years to explore new cultures and create new experiences, don’t count it out of the plan. Semesters abroad are also available for students who are completing degree programs online.

Just as online students take a new route for their educational experiences, studying abroad as an online student can look different as well. The whole point of “online learning” is that students can complete degree requirements and classes from a flexible location. Education is accessible from any location with reliable internet access. In this way, online learning abroad can be just that. If you are an online student and wish to take a “semester abroad”, you have the freedom to do so without conflicting with your educational pursuits. Of course, this is not what most students mean or envision when they think about studying abroad in college, but it is one option.

In a more traditional way, online students are also able to join official study abroad programs. Because online learning is relatively new, researching study abroad programs that are supported by your online institution may take slightly more research than a traditional student might encounter. Many online students choose the online route because they are not necessarily enticed by some of the frills and features of campus-based learning. However, this is not to say that some of the “frills” that college offers, such as study abroad opportunities, are not available to the online learner. Online students have access to the exact same study abroad opportunities that other students are allotted. Speak with your online institution’s admissions or student relations representative about the idea.

If you are an online student at an institution that has a physical location (as many online schools today do), finding study abroad opportunities should be fairly simple. Of course, it all depends on the school, but studying abroad has become such a commonplace among college students that most schools have study abroad coordinators to assist interested students. In this case, you can earn credits toward your degree while you study abroad through either online classes, traditional classes, or a mixture of the two. On the other hand, if the college you attend does not offer study abroad programs to their students, you can likely work out some alternative options. Many schools will allow students to participate in another college’s study abroad opportunity and then transfer those credits when the semester is complete. Situations like this will take some discussions with school representatives, but should not be ruled out.

Studying abroad can be an extremely rewarding and worthwhile experience for any student. Travel and new life experiences are important steps to take for any individual, but especially young adults struggling to find their purpose. Online students can particularly benefit from a study abroad experience both personally and from a professional standpoint. While online degrees have gained widespread acceptance among employers at an academic level, they can be looked down upon as an indication that the holder has minimal “real life” experience. This experience can show employers that you have hands-on experience in new and different situations and circumstances. Hands-on cultural experience alongside your online studies can make for a better rounded resume.

Author Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about many topics in education including online colleges and online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Ten great reasons to study in the UK

Carla Stanton, International Manager of UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), sets out her top 10 pointers on why the UK remains a great study destination:

ONE: British higher education and qualifications have an impressive international reputation, with students in the United Kingdom encouraged to develop their potential while enjoying a full social life.

TWO: It’s easy to research the right course for you by visiting the UCAS website. Everyone who goes to UCAS.com has access to the Course Search database containing details of around 38,000 courses from archaeology to zoology.

THREE: Students who register are guided, step-by-step, through the process and use the online application system, Apply. It’s not too late to apply this year – UCAS will still send applications to universities and colleges up until June 30.

FOUR: Studying in the UK will help you develop excellent language skills. The English language is of crucial importance in today’s global business arena. (Most UK universities offer language support to international students but institutions have their own criteria for the level of English that students need to master.)

FIVE: You’ll be in good company. The UK has a long history of welcoming international students to study in its universities and colleges. In Britain last year there were 1.8 million full-time undergraduate students in higher education, which included over 104,000 international students.

SIX: UK universities are inspected regularly to ensure that they uphold the high standards of teaching, learning and research set by the Government. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) is the key body charged with maintaining these standards.

SEVEN: The cultural diversity of life in British higher education is unrivalled. From cosmopolitan cities like London, Cardiff, Belfast and Glasgow, to historic counties like Warwickshire and Yorkshire, the UK is a place of contrasts and culture, where ancient buildings sit alongside contemporary architecture.

EIGHT: Undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the UK tend to be shorter than in other countries which can help to keep the cost of tuition fees and living expenses down. Most undergraduate courses take three years to complete, although in Scotland it would be typically four years and postgraduate courses can be from one year upwards.

NINE: Typically, international students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during holidays. If you are from an EU country, there will be even more flexibility. Full details about the conditions for working are on the UK Border Agency website and also on the UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) website.

TEN: EU students may be eligible for financial help with tuition fees, and possibly some extra help, depending on family circumstances. Find out here.

Last year over 110,000 people from outside the UK applied through UCAS to study in Britain. UCAS is the central body which has managed admissions to higher education in Britain for over 50 years. Carla Stanton is the International Manager of UCAS. 

Interview visa applicants and let them work

The idea of interviewing the candidates in the countries of their origin is good [to be introduced in Pakistan by UKBA]. This will help, although is not guaranteed, to assess the intentions of the students. The major incentive of interviewing the candidates back home is that the Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) would be able to assess the English language competency of students, especially in the event of many students producing fake IELTS or other SELT (Secured English Language Test) result.

One counter-argument could be that ECOs are not trained or qualified to assess somebody’s English competency. In response to this, I would like to say that even a non-native speaker of proficient English communicating with somebody can assess whether the person in front is able to speak English or not.

Therefore, one does not need a qualification to assess somebody’s English. Ideally, having trained personnel is excellent but not mandatory. If we talk about idealism, one must also be assessed in their English writing capability. Universities do include a section in their application forms which requires the candidate to summarise their profile, past experience and future ambitions. This must help in the assessment but should be taken as an additional step and not the only tool.

Proficiency in English language is vital if you are coming to study in an English-speaking country to study. Once these measures are implemented strictly, there is no harm in providing work opportunities to international students as work experience will help them to enhance their learning.

While on their course of study, students have to submit assignments based on their experiential curve. Work experience can help the students to implement what they have learnt at the workplace in their course work and vice versa. Work is coherent to their studies and international students must not be deprived of that.

Post-study work will help the international students to gain vital experience and apply what they have learnt. They will enrich themselves by learning work practices different from their home countries and will transport the experience back home.

Curtailing work experience and post-study work could be likened to depriving the students from gaining valuable experience which is an integral part of learning process.

What the government can do, in order to discourage the students from staying in UK permanently is to remove the post-study work visa from contributing towards the residency and permanent settlement.

These measures can ensure that only genuine students come to UK to study and work and leave the country after their purpose is achieved.

Murad Ali.

Murad Ali works as an Operations Manager for a private independent college in the UK.  He has been in this industry for five years and started as a lecturer. 

The rise of luxury student accommodation – at a price

An email notification just popped up on my screen from our Directors office. Subject: “Important – Please read”. It was a link to a Tripadvisor rating of a student accommodation and a scandalous, business-harming report on the standards of trading and accommodation offered.

The post was actually written by a new user but just the negativity of the report shone a dark light on the operations of said agency.

There is a plethora of options available to university and language students in terms of living in London – some of which will be as dire as described by the student rating their experience online. Others will be in a different league, as we know from experience.

Private landlords, estate agents, private residences, homestay (accommodation with families), house shares and university halls all have something to offer to suit any budget.

There is however a new deluxe standard of accommodation emerging in London – “luxury student halls”. The rise of this ultra-modern, ultra chic accommodation has caused the cost of studying in London to increase exponentially over the last few years. The introduction of foreign developers, investors and property management companies has allowed the industry to flourish and offer their wares in a competitive market.

I recently went to see a new building in Aldgate that is being built. For a weekly cost of £225.00 a student will get a bed, desk, bathroom and cupboard in an area that is a little bigger than the cells in Alcatraz. Not to say the quality is bad, but the price per square metre is definitely on the increase.

Prices for quality accommodation in London can go from £15,000.00 per year upwards, and with  university fees increasing, students might be facing a cost of over £20,000 per year for their education. Without support from the government to increase jobs and future employment potentials, I do not see many wanting to come out of university with a £60,000.00 debt! Will they end up choosing other UK cities or will the luxury accommodation providers be forced to lower their exorbitant rates? One this is for sure, agencies offering variety rather than single accommodation options will definitely benefit with superstar cross-sellers in their team!

Nikesh Ashar is Groups Coordinator for Britannia Student Services in the UK.

When GPS doesn’t cut it

“Today I was 25 minutes late for an appointment with an agent. I arrived, apologised and clocked my reflection: straggly hair, red face and a sweat moustache – yep, I was rocking my “visiting agents in Bangkok” look. My lateness wasn’t my fault. Well, not really. It was 35 degrees outside and after I stepped out from the icy Skytrain, I was at the mercy of a Google map, my own sense of direction and the elements.

Finding agent’s offices are, for me, often a hit and miss affair, made worse by the fact that I have no sense of direction. If there are two ways to go, I will choose the wrong one. It’s got so bad that I’ve actually started to second guess myself and if my instincts say “left”, I will go right. Admittedly my lack of self-belief hasn’t helped me come to any life-changing conclusions, except that perhaps I spend a bit too much time alone on these trips…

Girl Guide map reading skills aside, it’s the weather that often proves most problematic to many of us, hindering our success in getting to our appointments on time. I have almost face-planted on the icy streets of Seoul, my colleague John has complained of trench-foot schlepping around rainy autumnal Moscow and on one occasion I had to call a Ukrainian agent from a metro station apologising that I couldn’t make the appointment as I couldn’t see the other side of the road because of the blizzard that had descended on Kiev.

Some cities are just not designed for anyone to find any address. Tokyo, for example, foxes even the canniest local due to the lack of visible street names.  But sometimes I visit a city that is dream to get around, where taxis are cheap and plentiful and the cabbie knows where he’s going and doesn’t add a “stupid foreigner tax” to the fare. Where there are logical street patterns, addresses close to metro stations, temperate climates… But where’s the fun in that?

For all this, the often epic quest of finding the agent’s office is very much part of the fun, the challenge of my job. These are the stories I tell my friends to make my job sound like I am an international woman of mystery (or confusion). I regale friends and family with methods of finding the offices, from my ingenious problem solving (“so I remembered the Italian word for ‘church’ and hoped it was similar in Romanian”) to my damn right ballsy  (“so I just opened the unmarked door, hoping I was right…”).

My most recent success in averting the disaster of missing a meeting was in Tokyo.  I had the right building at the right time but hadn’t written down which floor the office was on or (very unusually for me) hadn’t made a note of their phone number.

So I went to the company directory at the front of the building.  Everything was in Japanese.  I tried to pick up my emails on my phone but it wouldn’t sync.  I tried Google on my phone but it wouldn’t work.  I could have gone back to my hotel, booted up my laptop and found their address but it would have made me unforgivably late.  Then it came to me. I walked up to the directory, grabbed a passer by and said the name of the agency in my best Japanese accent while pointing at the directory and shrugging.  The passerby pointed to a company name which had a number “6” by it.  I got the lift to the sixth floor and there was my agent.

When I eventually arrive at an agent’s office after an experience that would test Jason Bourne, I (rather un-coolly) feel the need to explain my journey to my agent, either as an explanation of my lateness, or because I just want to share it with someone. “You asked for a receipt in Mandarin?!”, they say, “You asked a passerby for directions in your elementary Spanish?”, “You found our office which is opposite your hotel, with a map and GPS on your phone? All by yourself?!”  Yes, I did!

One of my agents in Bangkok didn’t even flinch when I exclaimed, ridiculously, “it’s hot out there”. No, I guess I don’t expect a round of applause when I arrive at an agent’s office (it would be great though) but a little appreciation would be nice. Or possibly even a cup of tea and digestive biscuit?

Maybe the challenges we face finding the office makes our meetings more productive? Perhaps. More likely though is that us international marketers love an adventure… and isn’t it all about the journey, not the destination?”

Hannah Alexander works for a UK university and is based in Hong Kong for the moment.

Bringing Hosting Home

At Mackenzie School of English, we are firm believers in the mantra ‘why get someone else to do something that we can do ourselves? Surely we can do it bigger, better and smarter!’

Therefore, this winter we decided to bring the homestay operation in-house. We had found in the past that homestay (living with a family), for some reason, was the part of the business that gave us the most consternation.

Not because we didn’t have good hosts, or because we didn’t approach it with the same attention to detail as we do to other key areas but because the communication never seemed to quite flow. We felt our relationships with the hosts and our capacity for dealing with situations would improve greatly by having a dedicated Accommodation Officer who was based at the school.

Of course there was some concern – where would we find a suitable candidate (or anyone brave enough) for the newly created role of Accommodation Officer? Could we cope with the extra duties involved, would our ‘out of hours’ phone ever stop ringing and would any hosts actually want to work with us?

Thus began our marketing drive – a bout of flyering, a post on an advertising website and an advert on local radio station Leith FM started a slow trickle of interest among local people.

Luckily the good old Scottish ‘gift of the gab’ then took over and we found, to our great delight, that not only was there interest from enthusiastic new recruits but that the fantastic hosts who had hosted for Mackenzie School before were still out there and still interested in working with us. Although this time, they would be working directly with Mackenzie School and that is key to the success of the operation.

The trust and two-way partnership between school and host is invaluable to the student experience and ultimately, to our success. So we make life easier for our hosts. We take away the headache of having to make packed lunches during the week by providing students with lunch at the school.

We prevent students from hanging around bored in the evenings by keeping the school open until 10pm every night. We provide peace of mind by arranging taxis home for our students after evening activities.

And now, we offer the added peace of mind of clear communication with a dedicated person within the school. That is why we are confident that approaching home-stay operations our way – the Mackenzie way – might just be the best way.

Laura Hutchinson on behalf of Mackenzie School of English, Edinburgh, Scotland.

The UK is caught in a ‘perfect storm’

“Having spent the last two years working with leading Australian universities to support their international student recruitment, coming back to the UK to see the challenges being faced by universities here brings a fresh perspective to the issues.

In my experience and that of my colleagues at Hobsons, the feeling within the sector is that the new visa regime recently implemented by the UK Border Agency means that, in effect, UK universities have been closed for business from international students.

This is far from the case but perception counts for a lot and perception amongst the press, foreign agents, prospective international students and indeed within some universities is that the UK is no longer such an attractive proposition.

It’s true, UKBA reforms and the ongoing economic crisis have brought fresh challenges but the fundamental reasons for the UK being the destination of choice for countless thousands of international students and their families over the past half a century have not changed. Institutions need to start focussing on what makes our education system so appealing and stop worrying about what our competitors are doing; especially Australia.

The simple fact is that the implementation of the recommendations from the Knight review in Australia has made the visa process for oversees students more straightforward, it has made the cost of studying financially less burdensome and it has increased potential career opportunities post graduation.

The Australian Government has risen to the challenge of promoting openness and you can be sure that the universities will hold up their end of the bargain; maximising the opportunities created through responsible recruitment. In the meantime, the UK is caught in a ‘perfect storm’ – and one that is partially of our own making.

We cannot control what other countries do however we haven’t done enough to affect those elements within our control: our brand, our offering, our message. We need to manage perception otherwise someone else, with a very different agenda to our own, will do it for us.

Putting aside perception for a minute, the reality for UK universities is that we provide a world class education system in one of the most culturally diverse and welcoming countries in the world. This reality is at risk of getting lost amongst the negative press surrounding student fees, English language requirements and opportunity to work; it is the responsibility of the sector as a whole to address this disparity between perception and reality.

There is a logic behind the UK visa reforms, even if the government has taken a rather heavy handed approach to the solution for the existing gaps in the system. It is up to us to work within this changing landscape and re-focus our efforts. Universities must get specific; they must use what they know of their current and past international student cohorts to determine what message they need to get to market and then they must ensure that message is received loud and clear.

As a sector and as individual institutions, we need to make sure that we are absolutely clear about our aim, our message and our medium. You cannot buy what is unique about British higher education – its history, quality and prestige. You certainly cannot buy what is unique about your institution. In an increasingly competitive market, the universities that thrive will be those that are able to differentiate themselves.”

Duncan Findlater, Head of Client Services at Hobsons, has recently returned from Australia. Find out more about Hobsons: http://www.hobsons.com/europe/