Working in Canada as an international student

One factor I know a lot of students like to take into account when choosing where to pursue their university studies is the amount of work opportunities on and off campus that they’ll have access to.

That being said, you might be wondering whether international students also have the opportunity to work while they study in Canada. I’ll answer that for you today, and also share some of my favourite opportunities I’ve had on campus. 

Before I go into some details, a really great resource to find out more about your eligibility to work on and off campus is Ryerson’s International Student Support.

Working on campus

At Ryerson, we have something called Career Boost. This is a work-study program that is also available to international students and helps connect students to a wide range of work opportunities on campus.

Currently, I’m working part time as International Student Ambassador under the Career Boost International (CBI) program. It’s my second year working under the CBI program, and I can’t recommend it enough. One of the main reasons I recommend taking advantage of CBI and on campus opportunities is because your work schedule can be flexible to fit your school workload. I came to Canada with my studies as my top priority, so I’m grateful to be able to gain that work experience without having to worry about compromising the work I put into my studies.

In addition to working under the CBI program, I’m also working as Teaching Assistant (TA) for professors in my program. This is another way to gain valuable work experience on campus. Once you get to the upper years of your program, you have the opportunity to assist professors in teaching courses that you successfully completed in your first year. Even though you will not qualify for this position in first year, this might be good for you to know if you’re interested in working as a TA later on – maybe even already set that goal for the courses you want to achieve high grades in!

By the way, did I mention these positions are all currently virtual due to the pandemic?

Working off campus

 So, that was some of my experience working on campus. What about off campus?

 International students are eligible to work up to 20 hours per week during their academic year. A great resource for finding off campus work opportunities is our Career & Co-Op Centre, who help you with every step of the way.

Speaking of co-op, depending on which program you decide to go into, you may have a mandatory or optional co-op. Co-op enables you to gain up to 20 months of full-time professional work experience before you graduate. As an international student, you can  apply for a co-op work permit – so it might be something worth looking into if you want to gain that valuable experience before graduating.

Now, those were all paid opportunities I talked about. I also wanted to point out that Ryerson students have access to plenty of volunteer opportunities both on and off campus. I think one of the great things about Ryerson being at the heart of Toronto is that we’re at the centre of so many great events and opportunities – one of which is the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). I had the most amazing experience volunteering for the 2019 festival. Stay tuned for a blog post on the process I went through and my experience working for TIFF!


That’s it from me for this week, but if you’re interested in hearing more about my international student experience, you can book a one-on-one meeting with me!

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