Ottawa (CP) -- Growing up in small-town Manitoba, Alison Clement didn't imagine she would some day travel to Bosnia to study landmine issues and wind up working for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa.
But a federal internship helped pave her route and made Clement, 29, an advocate of work-study programs.
Budapest is just one of the many exciting locales Canadians from their late teens to mid-30s can travel to by visiting Youth . . . on the Move, a website sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs. The site pulls together lists of internships, exchange and co-op programs, as well as research opportunities and general travel advice.
It has also made her a strong supporter of Internet sites such as Youth . . . on the Move, which offers information about scholarships, apprenticeships and similar opportunities for foreign work and travel.
"It really changed the path I was on. I was working in a completely different field and this really opened me up to the whole human-security policy area," says Clement, who hails from Russell, Man.
"That's the real bonus of a website like this: You're opening up all these opportunities to youth across the country, no matter where they happen to live. Growing up in a small town, (internships) were just something you didn't hear a lot about."
Late teens to mid-30s
The site Youth . . . on the Move is sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs, targeting Canadians from their late teens to their mid-30s who are interested in opportunities in Europe.
Launched last November, the site pulls together lists of internships, exchange and co-op programs, as well as research opportunities and general travel advice.
It also offers similar advice for young Europeans interested in opportunities in Canada.
"It's really designed as a one-stop web shop for young Canadians looking for information," says Shana Davis, a Foreign Affairs program analyst who works on the site.
Clement, who now works at Foreign Affairs on issues related to Bosnia, was in a native studies program at the University of Manitoba and considering a career in aboriginal land claims before she signed up for a federal internship in 1998.
Working through the Red Cross, she travelled to Bosnia as an intern, experience that helped lead to her current job.
"Youth often get caught in a catch-22 where they don't have enough experience to get work and they don't have work to get experience," she says. "An internship plays a role in bridging that gap."
Besides job and study information, the website offers much broader travel advice, ranging from local conditions in regions around the globe to the documents necessary to get into specific countries.
"What we wanted to do was really provide young people with information they might need when they go abroad," Davis said.
Testimonials on the site give a flavour of opportunities that are out there.
A young journalist, Neil Horner, describes working with an English-language business magazine in Budapest.
Just how long does it take to achieve the coveted status of partner at today's law firms?
According to a recent survey of lawyers, the path to partner takes an average of eight years.
The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a leading staffing service specializing in lawyers, paralegals, law clerks and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 lawyers among the largest law firms and corporations in Canada and the United States.
Lawyers were asked, "What would you estimate is the average number of years it takes for an associate to make partner?" The mean response was an average of eight years.
"Lawyers who want to make partner should build their knowledge of the firm's business objectives and strategies, including key marketing, technology and management issues," said Sheron Hindley-Smith, executive director of Robert Half Legal.
"They must have an exceptional work history, the ability to develop and maintain client relationships, and strong interpersonal and mentoring skills."
Hindley-Smith added that some law firm attorneys are opting not to pursue the traditional partner track. "These lawyers are focused instead on other professional interests, from gaining experience in a particular practice area to exploring alternative career paths such as mediation, patent or non-profit work."
"Regardless of what their career goals may be, lawyers must stay abreast of developments in the legal field to be successful," said Adam Pekarsky, Calgary-based division director of Robert Half Legal. "Local bar association and business group activities are valuable ways to learn about the latest trends as well as potential employment opportunities."
"Because of the small foreign business and diplomatic community in Hungary and the strong reputation of the magazine, I was able to interview high-profile business and political figures in Hungary, despite the fact that I had very little journalism experience," Horner writes.
Rong David Dai, a computer science student at the University of British Columbia, took a co-op posting in Copenhagen through the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience.
"There is no doubt that a work placement abroad would be beneficial to one's growth," he writes on the website after the first four months of his one-year posting to Denmark.
People should plan ahead -- as much as a year or more -- before they intend to leave, and learn at least a bit of the language of the country they're headed to, suggests the site.
They should also learn as much as possible beforehand about the firm they'll be working for, and have it provide a contract with terms of employment that their lawyer vets before they leave.
Besides a Canadian passport, other documents may also be necessary to travel or work in abroad. The website offers advice on work permits and visas and whether vaccinations for disease might be required.
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