How to Find an Internship in Canada

January 19, 2020
Posted in How To Guide, Student Internship

Are you looking at doing an internship abroad? Canada is a perfect place for your internship abroad experience. We have a strong economy and are culturally diverse. While in Canada, you will gain real-life work experience to boost your employability as you begin your career in today’s global marketplace. Imagine living in a beautiful Canadian city spending your days off exploring our magnificent landscapes. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime!

Guillaume at his marketing internship in Canada
Guillaume from the Netherlands completed a marketing internship in Canada. Check out his experience with Stepwest!

How to Find an Internship in Canada as an International Student

Many international students are required to complete professional work experience as part of their university or college program. If you are thinking about coming to Canada for your internship, there are a few things you should know.

The first, and most important point, is to see if your country of citizenship holds an agreement with Canada’s International Experience Canada program. This program provides the visas and work permits that international students need to do an internship in Canada. You cannot do an internship in Canada without the correct permit. Therefore, it is very important to find out if you are able to get one.

Once you know you can legally work in Canada, you may begin your search for an internship position. This can be done online by applying to postings on various job sites with your resume and cover letter. Try your best here, you are competing with all the students in Canada. We recommend checking out our tips for writing a good cv.

If you are selected for an interview, congrats! However, it is likely the company will not know how to host you as an international student. You should be ready to explain the process of hosting an international intern to the company. Below are the questions you should be prepared to answer:

Do I need a work permit to do my internship abroad in Canada?

If your country has an agreement with Canada, you know that you need a work permit to do an internship in Canada. But the employer may not know! You will need to explain to the host company how the application process works. This is because you will need their assistance when applying for the internship visa.

We understand this part can be very challenging. It is a complex process for international students seeking an internship in Canada, and for the host company too. This is why our Student Internship Program can help you find the internship you are looking for – without the stress.

We take care of the hard parts of coming to Canada on an internship. With our program, you can travel to Canada with everything arranged: your internship, visa, accommodation, insurance, and more! All your paperwork will be properly completed so you have nothing to worry about when you enter Canada.

Get complete support with your internship abroad in Canada:

Stepwest is a Recognized Organization of the Government of Canada. We have been helping international students find internships in Canada since 2010. We work with host companies in many different fields of study. These companies are ready to complete the process for the right international student. The challenge of explaining to your host company how to host you as an international intern is eliminated!

Christiane on her engineering internship in Canada
Christiane from Germany did an engineering internship in Canada on Stepwest’s Student Internship Program. Check out Christiane’s experience.

What are the requirements to complete an internship in Canada?

As previously mentioned, in order to come to Canada for your internship you must be from an eligible country. Each country has its own process and requirements for getting the internship visa. There are a few exceptions, but if you hold a valid passport from one of those countries, chances are we can help you!

The general requirements are:

  • Between 18 and 35 years old.
  • Hold a valid passport from one of the International Experience Canada countries. 
  • Being registered as a student during your internship period in Canada.
  • Have an intermediate level of English. This is necessary so you can complete your internship interview and communicate with coworkers. 

Can I do an internship in Canada with an ETA or as a visitor/tourist if my internship is unpaid?

This is the most common question, and the answer is no. Travelling to Canada with an ETA will not allow you to do an internship in Canada. Even if you think it’s a volunteer experience and is unpaid, it’s not legal. If you are planning to travel to Canada as a visitor, you may be stopped by immigration upon arrival.

Canada has signed agreements with many countries so international students can do an internship in Canada. It is important to use the right type of internship visa. If you decide to not follow the rules, you must understand that you are trying to do something that it’s not legal in Canada.

I already have an internship in Canada. Can I go with my ETA if my host company already sent me an internship offer letter?

No, even if you already have an internship offer, you should not enter Canada with an ETA. Companies in Canada might be eager to host you, but in many cases, they are not aware of the regulations for international interns. If they already sent you an internship offer, they are expecting that you complete the work permit process and follow the government’s regulations. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to find the right visa to enter Canada and complete your internship legally.

What are the risks of doing my internship in Canada with no internship work permit?

You can be sent back home upon arrival and risk being made inadmissible to Canada in the future. Canada’s regulations do not allow you to work in a paid or unpaid position without the proper work permit. You must follow the rules set by the Government of Canada when organizing your internship in Canada. Coming to Canada as a visitor and telling the officer that you will do an internship, or worse, hiding this information from them can get you into serious trouble. For this reason, be smart, and do not take the risk.

Getting the right visa for your internship in Canada will set you up for success on arrival.

How long in advance should I start the process to get an internship in Canada?

At Stepwest we recommend you to begin to prepare for your internship in Canada at least four months before you would like to arrive. This is because the visa application process can take up to eight weeks. And you can only start your visa process once you have an internship offer!

The same timeline applies if you come to Canada on our Student Internship Program. During this time, our team will work with you to polish your resume, prepare you for Canada-style interviews, and schedule your interviews with Canadian employers.

Get ahead with our support for your internship abroad in Canada:

What is the best time to apply for an internship in Canada?

It is important to note that the number of internship visas available to each country is limited. There is a risk that if you wait too long into the year, there will be no permits left.

At the end of each year, the International Experience Canada program opens for the following year. It makes the permits available throughout the spring and closes again by the end of the summer. Therefore, we recommend starting your application process between January and June.

Do I have to give biometrics to come to Canada on an internship?

Yes, biometrics is a mandatory step for everyone coming to complete an internship in Canada. You will need to schedule an appointment at a visa application center (VAC). Stepwest interns receive assistance with how to complete this part of the internship visa application.

Are there any paid internship positions in Canada?

Hosting an international intern in Canada requires a lot of work from the host company. In order to host you, they will need to go through a process with the Government of Canada. The company is also required to pay a fee to the Canadian Government so you can work for them. Additionally, they are making this investment to bring you to Canada and train you, only to then have you leave a few months later.

In some cases, a host company will be willing to do this entire process and also pay you. However, this might occur only if you have a highly qualified and technical background that they cannot find from a candidate in Canada.

Remember that your internship experience in Canada will be a great addition to your resume. You will make new professional connections and stand out to employers when you return home. Turn this investment into a growth plan for your career! Completing an internship in Canada during your studies will mean that when you graduate you will already have international experience. There is no better way to prepare for working in today’s global market!

We are confident the value you will gain will far exceed the cost of your internship program in Canada.

Claire on her digital marketing internship in Canada
Claire came from France for a digital marketing internship on our Student Internship Program in Canada. Check out Claire’s experience!

What type of internships can Stepwest guarantee for me in Canada?

We have a wide range of internships to choose from depending on your field of studies and previous experience:

  • Marketing, PR, Communications
  • Engineering (Chemical, Mechanical, Electrical, Environmental, Civil & more)
  • Accounting, Finance, Logistics, Human Resources
  • Tourism, Hospitality, Events
  • Gastronomy, Culinary Arts
  • Architecture
  • Computer Science, Software, IT
  • Paralegal, Law
  • Graphic Design
  • Among others….

Don’t see your field listed here? Contact us to see if we can help!

An internship in Canada is easier than you think with the help of Stepwest!

How do I start my process to secure my internship visa in Canada with Stepwest?

You can start your process with us for free, it’s super easy! The first step will be to send us:

  • Your most updated resume in English
  • Copy of your valid passport
  • Confirmation you are a registered student.

Once we have these documents, we will set up a free consultation with our internship placement specialist. They will get to know more about your goals during your internship in Canada to make sure we can match your expectations! They also will test your English level and ask you about your previous experiences and studies.

Can I choose the company for my internship or will the company choose me?

Remember that landing an internship is just like getting a job. Even though this is an unpaid internship, it doesn’t mean you get to choose the company. As an intern, you will need to go through all the stages of a regular hiring process and be chosen by the company.

On our Student Internship Program, our services facilitate the process of securing your internship in Canada. Our team will make sure your resume is given to companies that meet your professional goals. We also work with you to sharpen your resume and prepare for your interviews. Your success in your interview is our success!

Is my internship guaranteed if I register with Stepwest?

YES, your internship is guaranteed or your money back! In our consultation, we take time to learn about your previous experience, current studies, and level of English. If we feel we cannot assist you, you will not be accepted into the program. If for whatever reason we cannot secure your internship, we will refund you the money!

When do I have to pay Stepwest to start my internship process?

The first step is to submit your application. Once we receive your information, we will book an online consultation with you. During this call, we will learn about your career goals and what your expectations are for your internship in Canada. Once we are sure we can assist you in meeting your goals, that’s when you are ready to start!

We are fully committed to our participants. That’s why we only ask you to pay once you are ready to start working with us!

Do you want to know what our interns say about us? Check out their testimonials!


Click the link below to begin your free application. After we have received your information, you will recieve an email from us to book your free consulation. Here we can answer any questions you might have!

We hope to see you in Canada soon! 

Apply Now
Woman searching for an internship in Canada

Have a question about our Student Internship Program in Canada?

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