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06 Aug

This blog post is about Study and Work in Canada and programs offered to international students.


The majority of colleges and universities in Canada are publicly funded and offer 2-yr diploma programs and 3yr degree programs. It’s hard for international students to commit for such a long period, unless you want to become a new Canadian through the Canada Experience Class or International Graduate option as part of the Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP).


However, private colleges offer Study and work (co-op) programs for international students. Honestly, if you choose the right program and have realistic expectations about the work experience, this can be a great opportunity for you. There are number of benefits. You get to upgrade your education in Canada, learn and work in an English speaking setting, gain work experience related to your career and also development new professional network and become a friend with students from abroad and locals. 


Private Colleges: Length and structure of Programs

Private colleges offer programs that are shorter than a year long. Some programs are longer and can reach up to 2 years. But if you are going to study for such a long period, it may be better to consider public institutions or private institutions that can give you access to a post graduate work permit after completion of study. Study and co-op programs of 6 or 12 months are the most popular and they are structured with 50% of academic study and 50% of practical work experience component.


Study options


Business management
The majority of students study this category. Depending on the length of your program, your courses usually include business writing, communication, business presentation, some basic level accounting, finance and banking knowledge, effective sales, marketing, e-commerce, social media marketing, introduction to human resource management, purchasing, branding etc. 


Hospitality, Hotel or Tourism Management
This is the second most popular option students look for. Vancouver, BC is a great destination to study this subject and look for a paid co-op opportunity. Some of the courses will have more weight on overall hospitality knowledge, understanding and management while other courses put more emphasis on hotel management or tourism operation, sales and management. You will often see the term AHLA in the program description: American Hotel and Lodging Association. AHLA certificate courses are recognized across Canada and North America.


International trade
International trade is also popular. Anyone interested in working for a multinational company, international business development, import & export, logistics and supply chain management should look into this type of program. Both public and private colleges in Canada use FITT certified course contents. FITT (Forum of international trade and training) is federally recognized in Canada.


Early Childhood Education (ECE)
A lot of students from Asia choose this study option. Business, international trade and hospitality industry may not be attractive fields for everyone. Early Childhood Education delivered in English is one of the well established trends in Asia and it’s expanding to Latin American countries at the same time. Study ECE and gain practicum experience while you are in Canada. Upon completion of study and practicum you will have the provincially recognized ECE instructor license.


2D, 3D animation, Web design & development
While Business and hospitality management study & co-op programs are much easier to find, 2D, 3D and Wed design & development courses with quality co-op placement are a bit harder. There are few private colleges in Vancouver offering these certificate and diploma programs and the quality of the co-op experience isn’t always guaranteed. We will be adding a new Web design & development program to our web site in a few months for which Springboard Agency will be looking after the co-op experience for international students.


Ability to work


If you are enrolled in a vocational program (Business, international trade, hospitality etc) for longer than 6 months, you will be legally allowed to work off campus. You are limited to working 20 hours a week.


How your college will help you with your co-op placement (very important !)


For any private college offering Study and Work programs, it is big commitment and they need to invest in supporting students continually to make the experience successful. Some private colleges offering co-op program won’t find you a placement but they provide basic support (resume, interview tips and how to find your own co-op).



From our experience helping hundreds of international students finding co-op opportunities in Vancouver, this type of basic support isn’t sufficient enough to make the most out of your investment. You need someone that’s responsible for your co-op placement and knows the local job market very well. If you try to find your own co-op placement, it’s easy to waste time looking for something that’s not easily found locally, seasonality may not work in your favour or you may not be completely ready for the hard earned interview opportunity presented.


When you choose to study and work in Canada, you should ask detailed questions about how the college will manage your co-op placement, help you with that and also check if the co-op placement is guaranteed by the college.


Paid VS Unpaid Co-op


Publicly funded colleges & universities seem to have better access to paid co-op placements. This is because they often have long term relationships with companies in Vancouver who have tax credits available for hiring young Canadians. Also, companies offering paid co-op spots may prefer students with a high or fluent level of English communication.


While the majority of co-op placements for international students are offered as unpaid co-op, we still provide paid co-op opportunities for selected students. If you are interested in knowing more about our co-op service for students you can visit our website and read about it.


We recently updated our website with Study & Co-op programs selected by Springboard Agency. Anyone enrolled through us will have our placement guarantee! Have a look at our Study & co-op program overview page pages.