Internships in Vancouver


I am currently studying Product Design in California, and I am really looking forward to finding some internship opportunities in Vancouver, BC.

I am about half way through school, wanting to see what my abilities can benefit in a real workspace.

However, my problem right now is that I do not know which companies I should contact. I’ve look through the design firms section of core77, and pretty much e-mailed every single companies located in Vancouver. I understand that this is probably a bad idea, and a bad start to even getting an internship.

Has anyone had interns or product design jobs in the Vancouver area? If so, could you suggest some of the good companies or studios that takes product design interns? I heard a lot of the studios just doesn’t have the policy of hiring interns.

If anyone could help, thanks!

I would think most internship opportunities would be found in your current state. Going to Vancouver (or anywhere in Canada) will only decrease your chances. What city in CA are you at?

I am in Pasadena. In future interns, I wish to explore the L.A. areas, or even other countries if I ever have the luck for it.
For now, me spending the summer in Vancouver is almost a must, yet I don’t want to completely take a whole summer off from designing.

Working in Canada as an American can be tricky. Understandably, Canada is protective of their workforce in order to ensure there are enough jobs for Canadian citizens. A few years ago I was talking to a firm in Toronto about an internship, and this is what I remember of the process (anyone who has more knowledge on the subject, please correct me where my memory has failed):

You have to apply to the Canadian consulate or something, in order to obtain a work visa. You are then evaluated based on an objective point system to determine how much value you bring to Canada by working there. I have no idea how flexible this system is, but I vaguely remember looking at examples of the point system and thinking that I didn’t have a great chance as an American student/intern.

There are tons of opportunities domestically, especially in Cali. Vancouver is an awesome city, but don’t limit your chances for work by limiting your search area. A good internship is an invaluable experience, no matter where it happens to be.

haha, I never knew that. However, I am a Canadian citizen. In fact, I am from Vancouver. Working in California might be a bit trickier for me compare to most classmates.

tricky but not impossible… you can continue using F-1 student work visa and/or use TN-1 after you graduate… TN-1 is very easy since ID falls in the category of qualified workers… after that you have the option of H1B

i’m from vancouver too and understand the draw to live there, but the manufacturing infrastructure makes it very difficult for ID to thrive… you’ll be swimming upriver the whole time… you might be even better off in Toronto area if you really want to be in Canada… been there, done that too… still doesn’t compare to the US

I agree with dkorr- your chances of finding something in Vancouver are very slim.

I am Canadian and I have been told that if a company wants you, they want you and will do their best to make it happen. However, sponsorship can be hard to get and the company (depending on size etc) might not be able to support having someone international.

I think the best thing to do is target firms/studios etc. that you are super excited and passionate about, then try and see if you can go on info interviews/network, meet their designers and really understand how to cater your portfolio to them and show how you would fit into their studio culture.


If you have the talent they’ll acquire you regardless of company size. I’ve done this three times with US companies (size ranging from 7 employees to 6,000 employees). It comes down to you being better than the local talent pool. In California it’ll be tougher for obvious reasons. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely do-able because I’ve done it (and I’m no genius).

wrukawaw, you already have and advantage since you’re there locally. You have the pulse of the ID community there and companies don’t have to pay for relocation costs. H1B and TN1 is your friend and meal ticket.