How to find an internship in Canada – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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

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How to find an internship in Canada as an international student

Completing an internship in Canada is the best way to develop your skills and increase your employability, gaining real-life work experience at a Canadian company. Many international students must complete a professional experience as part of their university or college studies, so Canada is a perfect destination if your country of citizenship holds an agreement with Canada!

Finding that internship from your home country is completely possible, but there are a few important things that you have to be ready to explain to your potential host company in Canada if you do the search on your own.

You can approach companies in Canada with your resume and cover letter explaining all the reasons why they should consider you for an internship at their company. If everything goes well, after the interview you must be ready for when the most important the question comes:

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

This is when you will have to explain to your host company how the process works, what they need to do in order for you to apply for your internship work permit for Canada.

We understand that this part is very challenging, not only for the international students seeking an internship in Canada but also for a host company planning to bring an international intern to join their team. This is why our Student Internship program can help you find the internship you are looking for from home and also eliminate the challenge of explaining your host company the process they need to do through the Government of Canada in order to host you as an international intern.

We take care of the hard part, so you will travel to Canada with everything secured: internship, visa, accommodation, insurance… nothing to worry about when you enter Canada, as everything has been properly done and completed. 

As we are a Recognized Organization by the Government of Canada and we have been offering student internship programs since 2010 we have a lot of host companies in different fields of study that are ready to complete the process for the right international student eager to be part of their in Canada and completing their internship in Canada.

What are the requirements to complete an internship in Canada?

Very simple! Canada has created a Youth Mobility Agreement (International Experience Canada) with several countries, you can check the whole list of countries here in this link. Each country has it’s own process and requirements, so there might exceptions, but if you hold a valid passport from one of those countries, chances are we can help!

The requirements are:

  • Being between 18 and 35 years old
  • Holding a valid passport from one of the International Experience Canada countries. 
  • Being registered as a student during your internship period in Canada
  • Having an intermediate level of English, so you can communicate and complete your internship interview with a potential host company in Canada. 

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How long in advance should I start the process to secure my internship in Canada?

At Stepwest we recommend you to begin at least 4 months in advance since the visa process can take up to 8 weeks and you can only start your visa process once you have an internship offer! We will need time to secure your internship, as you have to do interviews with potential host companies, so we highly recommend you to have at least 4 months so you don’t have to rush everything! The sooner you start to plan your internship in Canada, the better!

For example: If you are a Business Management student in France that wants to do an internship in Vancouver from September until December, we recommend you to start your process no later than May to get ready for your internship interviews in Canada and your internship work permit application process. 

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 unpaid, this is just not legal, so if you are planning to travel as a visitor you might have a hard time with immigration upon arrival to Canada.

Canada has signed an agreement with so many countries, so students will be allowed to do an internship in Canada following the regulations, so it is important to use the right type of internship work permit. 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 just go with my ETA if my host company sent me already an internship offer letter?

NO, companies in Canada might be eager to host you as an international intern but in many cases, they are not aware of the regulations of your country of citizenship. If they already sent you an internship offer, they are expecting that you complete the process following the regulation. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to find the right permit to enter Canada to be able to 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 to Canada. Even though your internship will be unpaid for a few months, Canada’s regulations do not allow this, so you need to 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 even worse, hiding that information from them can get you into serious trouble and can make you inadmissible to Canada. For this reason, be smart, do not take the risk and do things in the right away so you do not waste your time and money. 

Ok! I get it! So how do I start my process to secure my internship permit in Canada?

You will be able to start your process for free and it is super easy! The first step will be to send in:

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

Once we have the documents, we will be able to set up a FREE consultation with our internship placement specialist. They will be more than happy to meet you to get to know more about what you are looking for during your internship in Canada to make sure that we can match your expectations! They also will test your English level and ask you about your previous experiences and studies.

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

We do have a wide range of internships depending on your field of studies and experience:

  • Marketing
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Advertising
  • Accounting
  • Tourism
  • Logistics
  • Architect
  • Civil Engineer
  • Computer Scientist, Software Developer, IT
  • Paralegal, Law
  • Gastronomy and Culinary Arts
  • Hospitality
  • Among others….


internship canada stepwest

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

Remember that securing an internship is similar to securing a job – for sure you will apply to the companies you like the most, but that doesn’t mean that you will get hired! Same with an internship, even though this is an unpaid internship, it doesn’t mean that you will choose the company you will work with. An intern will need to go through all the stages of a regular interview, so to secure your internship in Canada you will first need to be selected by the company to organize an interview and second, be selected by the company to join their team to do your internship.

You will pay for our services to facilitate the process and make sure your resume is available to a lot of companies, so you can secure an internship that matches your goals in Canada. We will also work with you by providing interview preparation, resume revision, etc… we want to set you up for success!

Can I also do an internship with a friend at the same company in Canada?

This is something that we can for sure try, but we cannot guarantee that the same company will be eager to host two interns. Hosting an intern is a lot of responsibility for the company, so most companies or departments will host one intern at a time, to make sure your experience is also great working with them! We can guarantee that both of you will be doing your internship in the same city! That’s for sure! This would be great, so you will be speaking English all day with your co-workers, so the result of your internship experience in Canada will be even better!


Is my internship guaranteed if I register with Stepwest?

YES, or your money back! We ensure that during your FREE meeting with us, we get to know all about your previous experiences, your current studies and your level of English so that we will be able to help you secure your internship in Canada. If for whatever reason we cannot, we will refund you the money! 

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

You should start your process between January – June every year, even when you want to start your internship later on in September or October. Remember that the number of internship permits is limited for Canada, so you want to make sure that you secure yours before they run out of permits! For every year, the season to secure your internship permits called International Experience Canada opens late in the year and closes again by the end of the summer. That’s why it is so important to start checking options in advance for Canada, that way you will secure your internship permit!

Do I have to give biometrics to come to Canada?

Yes, this is a mandatory step for everyone coming to complete an internship in Canada.  This is something you can do directly from your home country: you need to schedule an appointment at a visa application centre (VAC). We highly recommend booking your appointment in advance as it can take some time to get processed!

If you need more information about the biometrics process, check out this blog entry where we explain everything you need to know!

Are there any paid internship positions in Canada?

The internships we can offer are unpaid, the reasons are because hosting an international student in Canada requires a lot of work for the host company. They will need to do a process with the Government of Canada to host you and also pay a fee to the Government for you to be able to travel and work with them, so there are few cases where a host company will be eager to do this entire process and also pay an international student for an internship of 2 or 3 months only.

Remember that your internship experience in Canada will be a great addition to resume, is the best way to begin your journey towards finding your dream career. 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 have already international experience. This is a great value and will set you apart from other graduates, you will gain international references, so we are confident that the value you will get will be higher than the cost of your student internship program in Canada. 

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

Righter after we meet with you, know everything about what kind of internship you are looking for and you approve your consultation report with us. That’s when you are ready to start! We want to make sure we can match your expectations, we want to know as much as possible about you, your career goals and how we can help you secure your internship in Canada. We are fully committed to our participants, that’s why we will only ask you to pay once you are ready to start working with us! 

Do you want to know what other participants say about us? Check our link here where you will read about their experiences!

Ready? Let’s connect today, click on apply now below, complete your details and we will be connecting with you to book a FREE meeting to know more about you, we will send you all the details about our student internship program and we will answer all the questions you might have! See you in Canada soon! let’s secure your internship! 

Apply Now

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