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International Experiences

Economies have become more interconnected and communities more diverse than ever. To remain competitive and relevant in today’s globalized world, employers in Canada and abroad across many industries and sectors are looking for employees who can function in multicultural and international work environments.

Whether you are a domestic student hoping to work outside of Canada, or you are an international student at Ryerson for whom working in Canada is your work-abroad experience, there are many challenges that you will need to overcome. Fortunately, there are also many resources on and off campus that will help you do just that.

What are some of the benefits of working abroad?

Personal Development

Build your character by experiencing the world first hand, and learn from new perspectives of its cultures and people. Learn to think more critically and be more adaptable, open-minded, independent, and mature.
 

Skills Development

Technical skills that you can hone from working abroad include foreign languages and your knowledge of a particular national/cultural context. You can also develop effective cross-cultural communication and interpersonal skills. These are all skills and qualities that many employers seek in their potential employees.
 

International Professional Network

You can connect your employer to your professional contacts overseas, and be the cultural bridge between your organization and its potential clients, partners, and/or collaborators. It will make you a great asset to your organization.

What are some of the challenges of working abroad?

Working abroad can be a great life experience if you are adequately prepared for it. To make your transition as smooth as possible, you should consider and be ready to address the following challenges:
 

Logistics

Depending on your destination and/or arrangement with your employer, living abroad can be costly and involve many challenges that require much planning to overcome (e.g. travelling, finding housing, securing health care coverage).
 

Culture Shock

Adjusting to new cultural practices can take a while, especially once the initial excitement of moving abroad has waned. Returning home after having lived abroad will also involve cultural adjustment.
 

Potential Biases and Discrimination

Certain groups (e.g. women, individuals from the LGBTT2SQQIA community, ethnic and/or religious minorities) may face discrimination in some parts of the world.
 

Adequate research and preparation are key in helping you deal with these challenges. Check out the resources available on campus that will help you do just that.

I’m interested in gaining some work experience abroad. Where should I begin?


Ryerson International
has many resources that help Ryerson students prepare for their adventures overseas. Please visit their website for more information on many of the following topics:
 

Attend a Pre-Departure Orientation

Ryerson International regularly hosts info sessions for students who are interested in studying or working abroad. These sessions will cover all the basics of travelling and moving abroad, and give you valuable tips.
 

Get the Proper Documentation

Check with the embassy or consulate of your destination to see if you require a visa and/or a work permit to visit and work in that country. Apply for them early as the process can take time. (Fact: A work permit may be required for unpaid internship and volunteering in some countries because they are considered “work”.)
 

Get Insured

Be prepared for any unexpected event in your travels. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for all the essential areas prior to your departure: medical care, travel, and loss/damage of personal belongings.
 

Apply for Funding

There are funding opportunities within and outside of Ryerson that can help supplement your expenses. Ryerson International is a great source of information for these opportunities. Make sure you start researching these options and apply for them early.
 

Research Your Destination Thoroughly

Use multiple sources (e.g. travel guides, social media forums, personal connections) to learn about your destination to manage expectations. The Hofstede Centre also has a research-based comparison tool to help you learn more about the workplace cultures of different countries.

Are there resources at Ryerson or elsewhere that can connect me to work-abroad opportunities?

Career Centre

The Career Centre regularly hosts career fairs and information sessions that connect students to further education opportunities and employers, some of whom are specifically recruiting students who are interested in working overseas (e.g. teaching abroad).
 

Ryerson International

In addition to the comprehensive pre-departure information, Ryerson International can point you to many sources that post work opportunities overseas.
 

MyWorldAbroad.com

Ryerson students have access to this online resource, which has a job board for different opportunities and provides great information on how to articulate your skills internationally.
 

International Student Support (ISS)

ISS provides many opportunities through its programming for you to meet students from diverse national and cultural backgrounds. This is a great way to expand your network.
 

Your Own Networks at Ryerson

Ask your professors, departmental staff, and fellow students — particularly international students — to see if they know of great opportunities abroad. There are also student groups (e.g. AIESEC, Engineers Without Borders) that can connect you to various international opportunities.

View Career Compass for more tips from career experts, industry professionals and alumni.