Volunteer and Work Abroad

Your global experience is what you make of it. Getting involved in a volunteer or work opportunity abroad is a great way to develop skills and gain unique experience while working toward your professional goals.

Why work or volunteer abroad?

Do you want to build intercultural skills and gain international experience? You can do this by working or volunteering abroad. Or, you can embark on a virtual global experience from home. Browse our global opportunities — getting involved is easier than you might think.

The Global Experience Program can help you explore various types of work and volunteer opportunities, including:

  • Co-ops and internships
  • Academic placements, field trips and practicums
  • Research projects
  • Summer work opportunities
  • Volunteering
  • Leadership and course-related conferences
  • Virtual opportunities
  • Intercultural peer mentorship programs
  • And more!

Have questions?

  • McCall MacBain International Fellowship: A year-long opportunity divided into three terms (language, academics and work/internship). Fellows can receive up to $23,500 toward their international opportunity.
  • AIESEC Canada: An international, youth-led organization that connects students with volunteering, working and teaching positions abroad.
  • International Experience Canada (IEC): Canadian citizens, ages 18 to 35, get the opportunity to work and travel abroad (working holiday). Through IEC, get a permit or visa to work and explore abroad (more than 30 countries and territories to choose from).
  • International Youth Internship Program (IYIP): The Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to help Canadian students between 19 and 30 gain diverse industry experience with organizations across 45 countries.
  • Mitacs Globalink Research Award: If you’re an undergraduate student, you could get support to go on a 12-week research internship at an international partner university.
  • Fiji Virtual Internships: Apply for a 4-, 8- or 12-week virtual internship with Think Pacific. There are nine career sectors to choose from, and program partners include Fijian government departments, charities, social enterprises and start-ups. This is an unpaid, not-for-credit internship opportunity.

For external programs, please review the individual program website for deadlines, costs and relevant application information.

Need help?

Applying to work or volunteer abroad

Are you starting your international career or job search? We recommend you check out these resources to learn how we can support your global work and volunteer goals.

Information sessions and appointments

Attend a Global Experience Program information session or make an appointment to discuss:

  • Exploring global opportunities or job searching
  • Ways to fund your experience
  • How to make the most of your global experience
  • How other SSC services can support your opportunity
  • Tools and resources that can help you prepare for a global career

Note: You must attend a pre-departure training session before travelling. When you return, you must submit a reflection on the experience and participate in a re-entry session.

Information sessions are posted on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Events. If you need support, you can book a global experience appointment on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Appointments > Global Opportunities.

Scholarships and awards

Learn about scholarships and funding opportunities like the Global Experience Award, which can help make your dream a reality.

International careers

In addition to Global Experience Program information sessions and appointments, you may also participate in events to explore volunteer and work abroad opportunities. Global events are posted on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Events.

Career counselling

Do you feel stuck in your career exploration, career development or job search? There are a lot of career and education options out there — almost too many to count. Make an appointment with the SSC careers team to get one-on-one support.

Career Access Professional Services (CAPS)

Career Access Professional Services (CAPS) support students and alumni who identify as a member of an equity-seeking group or have barriers to employment. The CAPS team provides individualized support to assist with all aspects of career development including exploration, preparation and the building of skills and confidence.


OSCARplus is McMaster’s online career portal for employers and students. Browse job postings on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Employment > Job Postings > Search Job Postings > Position Type > Global Opportunities.

Plus, access valuable tools, GoingGlobal and MyWorldAbroad. Request access through the OSCARplus dashboard under Take It Global.


Features include:

  • Customized job search
  • Country career guides
  • Employer directory and embassy listings
  • Industry and employment trends
  • On-demand and live training webinars
  • Virtual and freelance opportunities


Features include:

  • Job boards
  • Articles and student stories
  • Volunteer and internship opportunities
  • Opportunities to teach English abroad
  • Language learning
  • Virtual internships

View the McMaster Terms of Use (“Links to other sites”)

Valuable information

If you’re applying for a work permit or visa, there are resources and services to support you.

One-on-one support for international students

Immigration advising services are available for international students in Canada. For support, email immigration@mcmaster.ca.

Going abroad

Going abroad often means getting outside of your comfort zone, which can require some adjustments. We have resources to help you feel confident and ready to explore.

Pre-departure sessions

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed about your international opportunity, the Global Experience Program has developed a pre-departure session to help you get prepared and stay safe during your experience. Pre-departure sessions are posted on OSCARplus > Student Success Centre > Events.

Note: All Global Experience Award (GEA) recipients must attend a pre-departure session before they leave for their global opportunity.

Budgeting and finances

A global experience can be expensive, regardless if it’s a paid or an unpaid opportunity. Before applying, be sure to reflect on your financial situation and responsibilities.

Mac’s Money Centre can help.

  • One-on-one appointments: Connect with a money coach to create a budget and saving plan. Book a one-on-one appointment on OSCARplus > Student Success > Appointments > Mac’s Money Centre.
  • Budgeting and financial resources: Get valuable tips and information, including a global budget template, on the Mac’s Money Centre website.


Searching for housing in a new country can be stressful. We recommend that you begin your search early.

Health and safety abroad

Before you embark on your travels, it’s important to consult any travel advisories from the Canadian Government. You can register to receive updates from the Government of Canada or from your home country.

In addition, you have access to country-specific information and can register for email alerts through International SOS. We recommend registering for email alerts. Access International SOS with McMaster’s membership number: 27ACAS542132.

Cultural adjustments

Getting adjusted to a new environment and culture abroad isn’t always easy. Learning as much as you can about your destination is a great way to inform your expectations and set yourself up for success! Here are some resources to help you adapt and overcome any challenges you may experience in your global opportunity:

  • MyWorldAbroad: Learn about country-specific opportunities and get guidance. (Access via OSCARplus > Taking It Global)
  • GoinGlobal: Receive regularly updated country and city guides exploring cultural insights in social and professional environments. (Access via OSCARplus > Taking It Global)
  • Global Graduates: Receive advice, get answers and learn about opportunities for young people with global skills.
  • The World Factbook: Learn about cultures, traditions and norms around the world
  • Travel Advice and Advisories: Review important government information to support your global experience and transition.

View the McMaster Terms of Use (“Links to other sites”)


During your global opportunity, you may travel to some places where communicating with your family or friends back home may not be as easy as you’re used to. Before you leave home, make a plan and identify alternative forms of communication. Keep important numbers documented and easily accessible.

Remember to update your co-op advisor, career or Faculty office and the Global Experience Program if anything changes during your stay. Also, pay attention to announcements and events offered by our office to support your experience while abroad.

Emergency resources

  • International SOS: Access supports and assistance that are catered to your needs as a student abroad. (McMaster’s membership number: 27ACAS542132)
  • Government of Canada emergency phone line: Call 613-996-8885 (outside of Canada) or 1-800-267-6788 (in Canada) for emergency supports.
  • Canadian embassies and consulates: Review a list of contacts for Canadian embassies and consulates that can support you when you’re abroad.
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA): We’re required to adhere to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). Please let us know if you want our office to release information about you to your parents (particularly in an emergency).

Student wellness

Maintaining your emotional and mental health is just as important as your physical well-being. Adapting to an unfamiliar environment can introduce a range of emotions and attitudes. Sometimes, it’s helpful to share these experiences with friends, family members or peers who have travelled abroad; however, it’s important to know about services and supports that can help you navigate difficult transitions.

Visit the Student Wellness Centre (SWC)’s website for valuable resources you can access from outside of the province or country.

Submit a reflection

We want to know about your experience! You’re required to submit a reflection after you return.


You are required to attend a re-entry session after you return. This event is mandatory for all returning Global Experience Award applicants.

Become a global ambassador

Volunteer and inspire others with your story! Become a global ambassador and share your meaningful international journey with your peers and the McMaster community.

Contact us at globalcareers@mcmaster.ca to discuss volunteer opportunities.

Other ways to get involved