Moving to a new city can be a big decision and a bit of a daunting task, but it also offers a wide variety of benefits. We spoke with a few co-op students who chose to venture beyond the GTA for their work terms and collected some of their advice on why you should consider it too.
It’s a temporary way to try something new
“It’s important to try new things and not restrict yourself: you’re not moving away permanently, so at the very least, it will be a learning experience. In my mind, the most important part about co-op is to develop important skills and get experience you wouldn’t in a classroom; living on your own is a part of that. So I feel like it’s important to step out of your GTA comfort zone because that could mean missing out on valuable work experience.”
Read more about Julia's life in Ottawa at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities »
You’ll have a tangible example of being independent + responsible
“It’s definitely a big change in lifestyle. I’ve really come to realize how much my parents help me in my everyday life. Now that I’m not living at home, I have to take responsibility for every little aspect of life. I think it’s definitely changed me for the better, I feel a lot more like an adult now that I’ve settled in. So I guess the freedom you get of living away from home is both the best and the worst part.
Read more about Daniel's work at Blackberry in Ottawa »
You’ll get to know a new city
“In order to make the most of it, you need to get to know the people you're working with and go out. Make some friends. Otherwise you'll be sat doing nothing but work and chilling and won't be able to make the most of the city.”
Read more about Sebastian's Winnipeg work term at the Public Health Agency of Canada »
You’ll meet new friends – and maybe even practice your French
Computer Science student Edgar Sarkisian went to Quebec City to work as a C#/dot NET developer, but also had a chance to dust off his francais while he was there. Thanks to new connections developed through staying in residence in Laval University, Edgar now has a whole new circle of friends not only from Quebec, but from France, Belgium, and beyond.
Learn more about Edgar's work and life in la belle province »
You could escape the commuter grind
After commuting to downtown Toronto for his 2 previous work terms, Computer Science specialist Sol Han knew that he wanted to try a change of pace. Applying for a job with the Kativik Regional Government in Kuujjuaq, Quebec was just the ticket: his commute to work is now a 5-minute walk, and – thanks to slower satellite internet – he’s found new hobbies to fill his time including pleasure reading, cooking, and going to the gym.
Learn more about Sol’s adventures in the sub-arctic »
You’ll grow (a lot)
It’s easy to be complacent and stay within the confines of what you know, but venturing into unfamiliar territory will change how you approach the rest of your undergraduate degree. I’ve made lifelong friends in Vancouver and faced as many downs as I have ups. But I think it was worth it because I now know where I want to direct my career, the steps I must take to get there, the liberties and fallbacks of living alone, have expanded my technical lab experiences, and have explored another part of the world!
Read more about neuroscience student Sanjay Jeyakumaran's time in Vancouver »
Considering a work term outside of the GTA?
The Co-op Relocation Grant is a financial award of $250 available to Arts & Science Co-op students who secure a work term outside of the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area (GTHA).
Considering working abroad while finishing your degree? Here are some guidelines to keep in mind at least one year before you begin your work term.