International students improve English language skills with Canadian work experience
International students can advance their careers by improving their English through the Business Internship Program (BIP), designed by the Queen's School of English (QSoE). Since 2007, the program has welcomed a steady flow of students, particularly from Kwansei Gakuin University (KGU) in Japan, to practice their language skills in a Canadian work environment.
“I really enjoyed the workplace,” says Masato Ueno, a second-year business student at KGU who worked at the Kingston Employment and Youth Services (KEYS) Job Centre as a program participant last term. “I wanted to know what the difference was between Japanese workplaces and Canadian workplaces. I do have lots of things to improve, but I’ve noticed that I am able to work in English-speaking settings and that has given me a lot of confidence.”
The BIP creates strong ties between international universities and local businesses. Other organizations which have supported the BIP and hired international students include Coffeeco, Odyssey Travel, the Campus Computer Store, the Donald Gordon Conference Centre, Pan Chancho Bakery, the Grand Theatre, Four Points by Sheraton, and H’art School of Smiles.
“The BIP is a great opportunity for international students, Kingston businesses and QSoE,” says Elaine Armstrong, Director, QSoE. “The program has done a great deal toward fostering very positive town/gown relations.”
The 12-week program begins with a month-long classroom session. The second four-week period is a transitional phase as the students divide their time between class and work. The students work full time during the final four weeks.