Gain some priceless experience in your industry of choice! Our Internship program can provide you with everything that you might want or need. You can gain real practical experience that will provide you with invaluable skills that can later be applied to your future career. North America’s thriving economic centers are the place to be and our program will provide you with a path towards specialized, professional tailor made opportunities.
• Specialized practicum opportunities based on your goals and university requirements.
• Placements either for university or post-secondary credit or with non-profit organizations
• Tailored around your background and the landscape of local industry in your area.
• Always unpaid to ensure we have flexibility of opportunities and control over the content.
• Opportunities are meaningful and industry relevant and are not focussed on basic tasks.
• The level and content of the opportunity is based on your experience, duration, and education.
• Opportunities are available in nearly every industry sector and tasks/projects are flexible.
The Practicum Program is intended to supplement education; it is meant to familiarize and acculturate a student or recent graduate to operational business practices in a local business setting. This program is designed to give students and recent graduates the chance to get real-world, hands-on specialized experience in nearly any industry. The quality and level of a placement will depend on university requirements, industry sector, relevant experience/education, the time of year and duration of practicum. Placements involve project work as well as participating in day-to-day operations to see how a local organization functions. Practicums are designed with the individual goals of the participant as well as in accordance with any requirements your university or faculty may have. Practicums are the best possible way for you to put theory learned in school into practice and to broaden ones business network. A practicum is composed of unremunerated (i.e. unpaid) participation in an operational business environment or occupation in order to gain a functional insight into the industry sector and business operations. All practicums are primarily for the benefit of the candidate and designed to give candidates the chance to both observe and participate in operational activities in order to better understand the whole work environment. Most tasks are project based but also include operational activities.
Host organizations may be large or small, in the private or public sector, not-for-profit or commercial; they may be locally, nationally or internationally recognized. They may be small dynamic start-ups or more established firms.... in all cases not only will the landscape of the local industry determine what options are available, but we also want to ensure that hosts are appropriately informed of program objectives and requirements and are able to offer an appropriate opportunity. Organizations that choose to host candidates are carefully screened to ensure they are aware of program objectives, the candidates’ professional background, and to be sure they have someone that can appropriately supervise.
• Ensuring organization staff is aware of objectives, requirements and restrictions of the practicum.
• Informing and instructing appropriate staff of the activities, processes and interactions the candidate is required to participate in and ensuring they have the opportunity to do so.
• Ensuring the candidate is engaged in appropriate activities based on the program goals.
• Providing ongoing support and feedback concerning the practicum activities.
• Based on the candidates final report, provide and evaluation of the practicum upon completion.
SC Study Centers partners with external providers whose role in the operation of the practicum program is to assist in identifying suitable tasks, ensuring the objectives and process of the program are clear to the candidate and host and to ensure objectives are met. Together with the candidate and host we determine activities the candidate can participate in given the program timeline, objectives of the participant and the possibilities given the operational structure of the host. Partnered external provider is responsible for informing all parties of what is to be expected, what kind of activities are engaged in and ensuing all parties are totally clear on the expectations and progress of the Practicum. Of course Partnered External provider and SC Study Centers is also available to assist in resolving issues or concerns as they arise. We ensure our participants will be taken care of from the beginning to the end of the program. We are there to make sure any ongoing issues or concerns can be resolved, whether on your own with our support or by us... usually with our support, issues can easily be resolved, whether this is concerning the projects/tasks, access to aspects of the organization, or if something more serious occurs (such as a company bankruptcy or termination of a supervisor).
• Initial Assessment – via Phone or Skype in home country
• Creation of a profile for prospective hosts based on your goals and interests
• Professional Resume Revision & Upgrade (may not always be required)
• Negotiation of activities with hosts
• Host Organization Interview (may not always be required)
• Tailor-made practicum placement aligned to the candidates capabilities and objectives
• Arrangement of a supervisor within host organization
• Assigned External Placement Provider Practicum Program Supervisor
• Support and guidance throughout the program
• Orientation – either face to face or digitally
• Feedback and end of Practicum review
• External Placement Provider Practicum Completion Certificate
• Opportunity to receive a reference letter
• Opportunity for academic credit – External Placement Provider can liaise with university representative where required
• Mail-holding service
• 24 hour emergency number
• Numerous events arranged exclusively for program participants with discounted or free participation
• Access to our low-cost travel desk and discount travel options
• Online social community for participants: Wordpress, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube
• Participate in local business culture
• Learn industry specific business practices
• Learn new interaction styles and techniques and how they differ from your own country
• Practice language skills (colloquialisms including slang, jargon and euphemisms).
• Put theoretical knowledge into practice
• Broaden your business network in your industry sector
• Get a competitive advantage
• Professionalized Language Skills
• Industry Knowledge
• Improve cross-cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity
• Must have at least GEOS Level 5 /6 English level
• Must be available for a telephone/Skype interview
• Must be a university/college student (post-secondary education) or recent graduate
• Must have valid travel insurance
• Must be: Flexible, Professional, Communicative, able to take Initiative
What documents does participant need?
• University requirements (if required)
• Application form
• Program Policies (signed)
• Resume (in Word document)
• Cover letter (in Word document)
• Most recent Educational transcripts
• 2 references from current or previous employers with company letterhead and signed by the employer, if no work experience, a character letter from a professor (see samples)
• Criminal Record Check (if the practicum requires working with children or seniors) – please ask participants to give you a copy of their CRC before they submit the original one to the Embassy
• Copy of passport (picture page)
• 3 pictures in color (hobbies, on vacation, with friends/family)
• Any copies of academic/professional certification
• A portfolio (only for those applying for a graphic design or architecture practicum)
We are looking for people who are mature, patient, easy-going, friendly, attentive, responsible, flexible, outgoing, and good at communicating with others.
Yes; all positions are secured prior to your arrival.
No: Positions are unpaid in order to ensure we have the chance to give you the best possible placement opportunity and that will comply with content and other university requirements. When we look at practicums we are looking mainly at what candidates will be doing for whom and how this is related to their background and their goals and of course the duration of the program..... all of these factors mean that in order for us to be able to assist candidates in securing the best opportunity we look for unpaid practicums. In most cases paid positions are considered “jobs” and unpaid positions are “practicums”. When a host organization pays a salary (or any kind of remuneration), the focus is not on the opportunity but on what the employee can do for them, making it primarily for their benefit and not for that of the participant. We try to ensure all of our practicums create a “win-win” situation where in exchange for the host giving candidates the chance to participate in meaningful activities based on their background they will not need to commit to a salary. Host organizations integrate our candidates into the team and daily operations and often create specialized projects based on personal or university goals and learning objectives. In any paid situation, even if this is minimal, we lose control over the content of the placement, which limits learning potential and breadth and depth of experiences. For an unpaid practicum, we have control over the placement, so we can focus on participants’ objectives and interests. This allows us to tailor-build each placement for each individual.
You will need a valid work permit for this program; for Canada this can be either the Working Holiday or International Coop Permit under the International Experience Canada program or the C-50 Registered Charitable Work Permit.
Although you can start any time of the year, it is best avoid starting your program near the holiday season (15th Dec – 10th January)
You can decide on the duration which can be anywhere from 4-24 weeks. (12-20 weeks recommended).
Placement location within a city is entirely at the discretion of Partnered External Provider Program Manager.
You will need to have sufficient funds for accommodation, food, public transportation, and spending money.
You should apply a minimum 12 weeks prior to your proposed program start date. Short notice applications MAY be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Applications will be processed only when all required documents are received. Once the applicant is accepted, a letter of confirmation (LOC) will be sent.
After the placement is confirmed, placement details will be sent.
Understanding your expectations is crucial. Practicum Program Participants and hosts need to be absolutely clear that this is not a work experience. Participants will have the chance to participate in and explore different aspects of the host organizations operations and different roles with in the organization. Activities and tasks will mostly be project-related but likely will include some operational day-to-day tasks as well. These may not always be engaging and exciting but are a necessary part of any practicum, but should not comprise more than 20-30% of practicum activities. Practicums are also non-supervisory in nature though candidates will be given some level of responsibility
and accountability for the tasks they undertake. Placements are designed for the benefit of the candidates but placements are in real, functioning organizations and due care, an understanding or processes, limitations and protocols as well as a professional attitude are critical. Ultimately this program requires a lot of flexibility and a participant that can adapt to the style, culture, processes and environment of a local organization.
Placements may be cancelled by the host organization or External Placement Provider at any time for CAUSE (which includes but is not limited to any of the following): engaging in activities outside the scope of the practicum misrepresentation of the host or program, demonstrating disruptive or inappropriate behaviour, breaching confidentiality, liability concerns, or any other area for legal recourse.
In order to secure the best possible opportunity, we have to determine your objectives, skills, personality and interests in the context of any university requirements. The more we learn about you, the better we can match you to appropriate organizations. It is our job to inform you what can be expected, what kind of people you will be placed with and what kind environment you will be in. We will give as much information as possible so that you feel as comfortable as possible with the placement opportunity and host.
You will be taken care of from the beginning to the end of your program. We are there to make sure any ongoing issues or concerns can be resolved, whether on your own with our support; usually issues can easily be resolved, whether this is concerning the projects/tasks you are undertaking, placement conditions, or if something more serious occurs (like a company bankruptcy or your supervisor gets fired).
In the worst case we will also assist you in securing an alternative placement if there is sufficient time remaining on your program. In contrast, if you were to organize your own opportunity and something goes wrong, there can be serious implications, not only must you go back to the search process which consumes time, energy and finances, you may lose university accreditation and ultimately the financing of your stay may be lost.
Although External Provider works with hundreds of companies internationally, they prefer to not list the specific names of the organizations they work with for a variety of reasons. Our host organizations trust our judgment in sending appropriate candidates to them after we have pre-screened them and found out about the candidates personality, language, educational background, compatibility and interests. Host organizations do not want to receive a lot of unsolicited placement requests due to their relationship with them and since they rely on us concerning the translation of educational certifications and immigration issues.
Though it is possible that we work with the host organization that you have requested, unless you are certain that the host organization is EXACTLY what you are looking for, it is better to work together with External Provider to find what you are really looking for based on several factors including their capacity to offer an appropriate project/tasks and supervision.
In our experience, the larger the company, the easier it is to get lost in their infrastructure. Though this is not always the case, many large companies are reluctant to offer candidates interesting projects due to inability to effectively manage the projects, internal bureaucracy and corporate liability. Smaller companies allow candidates to become more involved at the level that is required for the completion of your project.
Once we have confirmed the direction of your placement, we will then negotiate with host organizations on your behalf to “build” an opportunity for you. This will take some time, mainly because we assess our host organizations and placements on numerous factors such as: suitability of the industry/organization/project outline/personnel, timeframe of the placement, personality compatibility, necessary supervision and supervisory capacity/requirements, physical space, time of year, organization internal culture/dynamics, past experiences with the organization, and other factors. If required, we will then arrange a telephone, Skype, or in-person interview with the host organization, following which they will confirm placement. In some instances there may be more than one interview. Your representative or Partnered External Provider will then forward you the confirmation of placement.
The first week or two is always a challenge… your host organization is getting used to you and you are getting used to them. You will receive a general introduction to the organization on the first day as well as an introduction to the relevant staff and your supervisor, but don’t be afraid to introduce yourself… Remember it will take time for you to build up the necessary trust in order to really get the access you need for your project or practicum. Please document any issues and let your placement manager know what they are. We can assist you with some strategies to successfully complete your project.
Generally your placement manager can advise you on this, however, as a general rule, it is better to be overdressed rather than underdressed until you get familiar with the office. If you have formal meetings with partners or clients or are in a position that will involve exposure to clients or in a traditional office you will be required to wear a suit. One day per week, most companies have a “Casual” day where less formal clothing may be worn. If in doubt, ask the staff or your supervisor.
The organization’s employees have more than likely worked together for months or even years. You are new to their environment, and new to their corporate and regional culture. Take the initiative and speak with them and go to events the company has planned... Even invite them to lunch; or go if they invite you. You will be surprised at how receptive most people are to this.
Give the staff and your supervisor the benefit of the doubt… Maybe it is just your perception. Remember that you are living in another culture and workplace stresses and communication (including body language) are different here. Be aware of this and try to be sure there is a problem. The first step is to discuss the issue with the person directly… if this does not seem like a good option, contact your placement supervisor IMMEDIATELY.
How can I get time to speak with my host supervisor? Your supervisor has a job too. More than likely he or she is a manager or in a responsible position that also needs their attention. Talk to other staff or try to do some research on your own… or write down things you have found different in the host organizations environment. Host organizations reward initiative and an easy-going approach. You should be patient while your supervisor organizes time in their schedule for you. Your placement manager can also speak with the supervisor in the organization if you have difficulty arranging meeting times.
Your placement is YOURS. Remember your placement is determined based on a lot of individual factors including industry, organization, your professional background/experience, personality, language level…etc, etc, etc. Each situation and each host organization… just like each person is
FUNDAMENTALLY different. We place hundreds of participants each year… and this means we run hundreds of individual programs!
Depending upon your industry choice placements may be anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour (in some cases, more) to commute from your accommodation. Many people commute up to 3 hours per day. Although we try to keep travel time as short as possible, there is the chance that in order to do what you want you will have to commute.
You MUST contact your placement manager before you decide to cancel your program. The host organization has made arrangements for you which may have cost them substantial time
and money. If you don’t fulfill your obligations to their schedule and under the terms of your placement agreement you will not be supported for re-placement nor receive a refund of any fees.
BEFORE you make any decisions regarding the termination or change of your placement you MUST speak to your placement supervisor. This means you shouldn’t tell your supervisor in your host organization that you want to terminate or change your placement until you speak with Placement Provider. Usually issues are very easily resolved either with the indirect or in some cases direct involvement of your placement supervisor. Placement Provider is here to assist you but we can’t help if you don’t let us know what is going on. It is far better to resolve the issue with your existing host than to be replaced which may take a number of weeks, and there is no guarantee that the new situation is better. You also MUST have a concrete and well-documented reason to request a change or to prematurely terminate your placement.
Although we expect a weekly update on the status of your placement, you may also feel free to contact your supervisor by telephone, email, or in person. In fact if there
is ANY issue, even issues you feel you can resolve on your own, no matter how small, we require that you contact us to inform us of the situation. Since this program is for mature, independent self-directed individuals, if we don’t hear from you, we assume that everything is going well… We are here to make sure that you are having the best possible experience and to support you when you need our assistance. We won’t know unless you contact us.
Most host organizations are open from 9am until 5pm, and mirror the working week. Organizations do differ and the hours and/or schedule may be more or less depending upon the organization and their industry. If your organization expects you to be present longer then these hours or if you need more time in the organization per day to complete your projects/tasks please contact your placement supervisor after you have discussed the issue directly with your supervisor in the company.
Sometimes this can be difficult, particularly when you are dealing with a different culture and requesting private information about an organization you do not work for. This will take time and confidence which can only be created through mutual trust with the staff and your supervisor. Have patience, be flexible, and build their trust. It is important to get the staff’s “buy in” for your project and it is a good idea to explain to them at the earliest opportunity (informally as well as formally) what the benefits to the organization will be by completing your project.
Many organizations that have markets or partners in other cities are dealing with different time zones. This slows a lot of processes down. Also remember that the main people you are dealing with are managers that often have a limited amount of time to devote to your projects. Even other staff has full-time tasks that require their attention. There is a very real feeling that “time is money”, especially in some professions, so you will have to learn how to function in this environment. Be patient and try to collect other information while you wait.
Although it CAN be preferable to have a clear timeline for your project, it is often better for you and the host organization to take a flexible approach. Timelines may often change, and the type and extent of the information available to you may also alter over time as the project evolves. You may also find that items you thought were important when you began the original outline have become less important than other emerging factors and may not fit into the time you have to complete the project. You must be flexible and an acrobatic time/project manager.
Each host organization is different, and there are a lot of smaller organizations that may not have a tight infrastructure. This is partially due to the way business is done here and our “corporate culture”. Go with the flow, and see if it really is too difficult to deal with. It could just turn out to be another thing you learn from during your placement.
Although many of your activities and/or projects will be outlined prior to your practicum, often you will be given more responsibilities and tasks/projects as your practicum progresses. In addition to any required tasks/projects from your university, what you do will largely depend on the evolving situation within the host organization and “what comes up”; this is one of he main reasons companies tend to focus heavily on the traits flexibility and initiative for any successful practicum.
All host organizations are aware of the requirements of the program and that you will need sufficient space for you to complete your practicum. This however can mean that you may have to use a variety of desks/tables, and maybe even the conference room at times. You may also be required to undertake some of the activities at home or off-site. Generally we prefer that you spend as much time as possible in the organization in order to ensure you can observe all the day-to-day functioning’s of the organization to better complete your project, but this is not always the case since the host may have new employees or their own profit generation activities they must accommodate first.
This is not normally a problem, but if your placement is 8 weeks or less, you should inform the supervisor of this BEFORE you start your placement. If you are on a placement longer than 8 weeks, you must see if your planned vacation fits into the host organization schedule, and notify your supervisor at least 4 weeks in advance. Also let your placement manager know in case they need to contact you during your absence from work.
Under normal circumstances, all participants will get a letter of recommendation from their host organization. The only times where it may not be possible to get one is if you under-performed at the organization or if it is a policy not to issue such letters. You should let your host organization supervisor know that you would like a letter of recommendation at least 2 weeks before you finish your placement. You can also ask other staff if they could write one for you. This is probably the most valuable document that you will obtain from your placement so don’t forget to ask!
A week before you complete your practicum, you need to contact your placement supervisor and ask for a Practicum Completion Certificate. Before you pick up the certificate from the External Placement Provider office, you are required to write a page of testimonial. The testimonial should cover the description of your company, what you have done in the company, your general impression of the whole practicum experience and your feedback.