Waterloo’s home to the largest co-operative education (co-op) program in the world and allows students the opportunity to test out different employers and career areas. It’s what attracted Amy, a fourth-year student, to study Honours Arts and Business Co-op with a double major in English and Economics. With the flexibility of the Honours Arts and Business Co-op program, Amy was able to study her passion of English and Economics while receiving a business background and gaining paid work experience.
“Being able to test out potential jobs with the varying and wide-ranging amount of jobs at Waterloo before I finish my degree was a big reason why I decided to study at Waterloo.”
For Amy’s first co-op job, she worked at Industry Canada as a Junior Economist. As a Junior Economist, Amy gathered information and wrote articles for their internal newsletter as well as performed short-term policy analysis on news articles and reports from organizations like Statistics Canada. During her first co-op term, she gained technical skills such as how to work with Excel and databases as well as learned the difference between being a full-time student and a full-time employee.
“At my first co-op job, I learned how workplace culture works and how a 9am-5pm desk job is different from school and the temporary, seasonal jobs I’ve had. And, how to adjust to working a full-time job.”
Amy also worked at the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), which is an organization that advocates policies on behalf of the interests of over 140,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students across Ontario. While working there, Amy conducted research for upcoming areas of focus for the upcoming year. From her co-op experience with OUSA, she has gained a deeper understanding of research, which has helped her with her studies as a full-time student.
“From OUSA, I learned a lot about research. I’d done some research while I was in school but my experience as a research assistant was a good precursor for all the research I would do later on in university.”
Amy’s last co-op placement was at Microsoft as a Marketing Associate for small and medium businesses. At Microsoft, she focused on marketing specific campaigns and worked on email newsletters and in-store events. At her last co-op placement, Amy was able to see how her work had an impact at the workplace.
In addition to all of her co-op experience, Amy has been an active member in the University of Waterloo community throughout her undergraduate career by getting involved with organizations like the Improv Club as co-president, the Arts and Business Society as co-president, the Entrepreneurship Society as the Vice-President of Marketing and as a Federation Orientation Committee member for Arts Orientation.
Having gone through co-op through the Honours Arts and Business program at Waterloo, Amy was able to get real work experience at three different organizations as well as learn work skills such as marketing, research and Excel.
“Arts is a faculty with so many wide-ranging majors and minors so something you’re studying now might not be what you’ll do later on. And because of the foundational nature of an arts degree, we can adapt to take on many challenges. Having that experiential learning experience will help give you real world context for whatever it is you want to do.”
Find out more about co-op at Waterloo and the Honours Arts and Business program. Or visit the University of Waterloo’s undergraduate admission site.