FROM THE SIX TO THE CITY OF LIGHT
Five months in Paris sounds like a pretty good gig, and for Constantina Varlokostas, her work term in France really got started during her local Co-op placement. “The Co-op, study and work term abroad were deciding factors as to why I chose to study Management & International Business at UTSC,” says Varlokostas.
The program requires students to complete two domestic work terms, an international study term and an international work term. She spent five months in fall and winter completing both her international study and work terms in France.
Her Co-op placement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) Canada, was instrumental to getting the international work term of her dreams.
“I was fortunate enough that one of my colleagues I had met had a predecessor working at MBFS France. She knew I was travelling to France for a study term and looking for an international work term,” says Varlokostas. Her colleague put in a good word to the Paris office,and after a series of interviews, she landed a contract.
Varlokostas worked alongside a team manager on a project called GET Ready, a complex operation aimed at unifying all MBFS companies through a single process.
Varlokostas was there the night of the November 2015 attacks, and University of Toronto’s Safety Abroad office was the first to contact her to make sure she was okay. “My coordinators were especially considerate of the situation, they had even skyped to me to see how I was feeling,” says Varlokostas. UTSC staff were quick to keep friends and family aware that she was safe and well.
Beyond building international work experience, Varlokostas also was able to improve her language skills.
“Paris was my top choice,” she says. “I’ve been studying French ever since I was young so I really wanted the opportunity to really strengthen my conversation skills. By immersing myself in the culture I was really able to grasp the language.”