From China to Canada, Yiming Han discovers Co-op is key to acclimating to a new culture.
Yiming Han has faced a world of change. Not only has she navigated a new culture in her time as an international student at UBC’s Okanagan campus, she is exploring career options and the Canadian work force.
“I was afraid to be rejected because I don’t have any connections here and I don’t have any working experience in the field. The culture shock can be a big thing,” she says.
UBC Okanagan Co-op Education is particularly popular among international students. More than half of international students have indicated on surveys they are considering Co-op, as it provides a critical link that introduces students to Canadian employers.
“It’s basically a test-drive for your career options,” she explains. “It’s an opportunity for students to work at different companies while still registered as a full-time student.”
After being accepted into the program, Han had access to the Co-op Office services, which supported her cover letter and résumé development and provided tips on interviewing and other vital elements for a successful job search. She was ready for the right opportunity to come up.
INhouse Video, a local production company had been looking for a Co-op student to supplement their client services. Han had developed a strong foundation from the Bachelor of Management program, making her a great fit with the company’s goals. They hired her to join the team last summer.
“These students that are coming out, they’re full of knowledge, they know how to learn,” says Peter Matejcek, founder and CEO of INhouse. “She was making an impact by day two.”
The experience helped continue Han’s progression of integrating into a new culture, and also provided valuable professional skills for her résumé. Along with her work providing social media content and making client videos easier to find on the internet, Han also played a key role in maintaining the company’s new website.
“I was heavily involved in the website redesign and I was really proud of the site,” she explains. “We had a developer to help transfer all the old content and set up the initial site, and I pretty much took over the website after that.”
By matching enthusiastic students with employers looking to expand their capacity, Co-op Education proves to be a win-win for local organizations and for students like Han, who discovered she could handle a new culture and career just fine.
“It’s an awesome opportunity. You gain so many practical skills and you get to know so many new people, plus you’re getting paid at the same time. You just have to reach out, do your best and you will surprise yourself.”