Working Abroad and Relocation

There are several things to consider when doing a work term in a new city or in a different country. Here are some tips to make this experience as successful as it can be.

Placements in Canada but Outside of British Columbia

An out-of-town placement is a fantastic opportunity to step out on your own, explore a new city, make new friends, and learn about yourself. It will help you build confidence and independence. Out-of-town placements also provide students with valuable work experience and a new professional network.

Get Organized

Confirm offer details with your employer. Confirm start date and time, end date, hours of employment and your salary.


Learn about different transit options in your new location. What’s the best way to get to work? Public transit, car, bike? Check local public transit route maps and service schedules before finalizing accommodations. You may also be eligible for student discounts on monthly transit passes; contact the local transit authority for more information. For placements in smaller cities, carpooling with other students or co-workers may also be a good option--our Coordinators will connect students who are relocating to the same area.

Purchase your plane ticket, train ticket, bus ticket or calculate how long it will take you to drive to where you are going. Once you have your placement details, you're ready to coordinate the rest of your travel plans. For students who are working outside of Canada, book airfare after work permit is approved.

If you’re moving away from BC and taking your car, you'll need to register and insure your vehicle in the province you’re moving to. Learn from the local drivers licensing office about requirements in your new provincey. Contact ICBC for more information.


Search local housing websites such as Craigslist and Kijiji and ask your supervisor to recommend neighbourhoods. Universities and colleges in the local area can also be good resources--check their student housing websites for on-campus housing (during the summer) as well as off-campus listings. You can review information for specific cities on the Science Co-op Wiki.

Connect with UBC Housing if you're currently living on campus and need to withdraw from UBC Housing. Review UBC's UBC’s housing withdrawal policy.

Travel and Health Insurance

Students covered under the AMS Student Health and Dental Plan must confirm their medical coverage prior to leaving BC by contacting the Member Services Centre at 1-877-795-4421. Review the benefits and terms of your policy while living outside of BC and what to do in case of a health emergency. If you're covered under a different insurance policy (your parents' plan) please confirm with your provider what steps are needed to maintain your coverage for the duration of your placement. Some countries may require additional coverage.

If you're going out of the province for four months, you need to update your address with the BC Medical Services Plan. For placements six months or longer, you need to speak to an MSP enrollment specialist. They'll provide information on health coverage and advice on how to proceed. Call MSP Vancouver at 604-683-7151 or view this brochure for more information. 

International Placements

  • Ensure you have a passport that is valid at least 6 months after your expected return date
  • You may need to apply for a work permit.  See more tips under the “I need a visa” section

If you're placed outside of Canada, you are also required to complete the UBC Safety Abroad Registry

Go to Registry

  • Check in with your Co-op Coordinator when you arrive in your new town/city. If you encounter any obstacles, challenges or have any concerns, please communicate these to your Coordinator in a timely manner.
  • In case of emergency, contact UBC Campus Security at +1 604-822-2222 available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Identify yourself as a student conducting university activity out of province and leave your name and student ID. Campus security will contact the appropriate personnel to provide assistance. Collect calls are accepted. Please ensure to also email or call your Co-op Coordinator about the emergency.
  • Get to know your city by going to the local tourism websites, discover cultural events and tourist sites with other Co-op students and get engaged in community activities through volunteering or local sports leagues.  The Co-op office can connect you with other students on placement in the same city and your co-workers may have suggestions for extracurricular activities outside of work. If you’re working at a local university, consider getting involved in some of their on-campus activities through the institution’s Student Union or Rec leagues.
  • During your out of town placement, update the Science Co-op Wiki page with your experience and provide future students with helpful resources for finding accommodations, transportation, and other things of interest.

Congratulations on your Co-op placement! Now, it’s time to test the skills you learned in the classroom, and expand your knowledge through work experience. We wish you all the best during this exciting time! See also additional resources on working outside of Canada.



For information on getting a Visa, please see I Need A Visa!.

For information on work abroad programs, please see Work Abroad Programs.

For information on Max Planck Institute, please see MPI.