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Co-operative Education Programme

Co-operative Education (Co-op) Programme at the University of Central Asia (UCA) is a unique work-integrated learning programme where students apply in-class learning to real-life professional experiences within their field of study across private, public, and community-based sectors. UCA is the first university in Central Asian region and Eastern Europe to implement Co-op.

It offers paid and unpaid internships and prepares students for both academic and career success beyond the university’s classrooms. UCA's Co-op Programme has been developed in partnership with the University of Victoria, Canada.

UCA's Co-operative Education Programme offers:

  • Experiential learning in the workplace
  • Application of knowledge and skills in practice
  • Networking with professionals
  • Professional Development courses
  • Full or part time summer and winter job placements
  • Nine months of work experience
  • On-campus employment

The work-integrated learning model allows the application of theoretical classroom knowledge in a professional environment and involves UCA faculty in program implementation to ensure educational continuity. Students have an opportunity to apply for placements in fields such as communications and marketing, monitoring and evaluation, business, finance, information technology, geographic information systems, project management, research, human resources, and education.


Co-operative Education Department conducts Employment Information Sessions on both campuses to provide students with internship placements and opportunities to give walk-in interviews.


Aigerim Dzhaanbaeva, Communications and Media student, attending the Asian World Film Festival in Los Angeles, California as part of the Co-operative Education Programme.

UCA Aidai

Aidai Maksatbekova, Communications and Media student, interns at Cultural Heritage Humanities Unit as part of the Cooperative Education Programme.

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Students share their internship experience to Senior Management and classmates.

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Nozigul Tirandozova spending her summer at Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Tajikistan as part of Co-operative Education Programme.

The programme is mandatory for all UCA undergraduate students. It is an innovative immersion initiative that creates opportunities for students to experience the working world, domestically and internationally, via structured job placements in three consecutive summers during the five-years of university education.

Learning takes place throughout the process, from seeking employment, to learning valuable interpersonal skills and on the job training, as well as participating in field studies and jointly conducting competency development evaluations.

An academic term integrated with Co-op programme comprises of:

  • A sequence of work and academic periods
  • Monetary compensation for the work done, which maintains both employer and student engagement
  • An evaluation of student's and employer's performance over the course of the work term; and
  • Faculty engagement in the Co-op programme, as the work of student is not only supervised by the employer but also monitored by the academic institution.

The work-integrated learning model allows the application of theoretical classroom knowledge in a professional environment and involves UCA faculty in programme implementation to ensure educational continuity.

Our Partners

Co-op partners are leading companies and organizations from all over the region and internationally, such as USAID, AKDN, AKF, AKAH, GIZ, Crowe, IWPR, Eurasia Foundation, Beeline, Coca Cola, OSCE Academy, American Chamber of Commerce and many others. They are engaged not only as internship hosts, but also as active participants in all Co-op department events, including employers’ information sessions, job fairs, workshops, and curriculum review sessions. 

More than 500 positions have been announced by the Co-op office in 2020/21 academic year.

Co-op Awards

Co-op Student of the Year Award

The award honours outstanding students who demonstrate a significant level of achievement during their Co-operative Education terms. The award is based on the work placement experience along with a strong academic record, volunteering activities, responsible attitude and contribution to the founding states of the university.


Suyuna Dadybaeva, Communications and Media, Co-op Students of the Year 2021


Arslan Younas, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Co-op Students of the Year 2021


Karlygash Kussainova, Computer Science, Co-op Students of the Year 2021


Dias Kabykenov, Global Economics, Co-op Students of the Year 2021

Co-op Employer of the Year Award

The award is a token of appreciation to the Co-op partners for their commitment to the Co-op programme offered at UCA, and for providing  positive and supportive environments to students. 

  • “Co-op Employers of the Year” in Kyrgyzstan: Aga Khan Foundation Kyrgyzstan, Good Neighbors International and Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • “Co-op Employers of the Year” in Tajikistan: Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Chemonics International and Pamir Energy
  • "Co-op Employer of the Year” in Kazakhstan: Beeline
Co Op Zarrina 2018

"I never imagined I’d be doing my internship in Prague, let alone with the Data Science team at Nielsen. My journey started with a simple desire to explore something unfamiliar and challenge my comfort zone. And what could have been more offbeat than data science for a media student, who knows how to juggle words than numbers? This is how I ended up doing an internship in one of the leading media research companies in the world."

Zarrina Gafurova - Internship at Nielsen Admosphere, 2019

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“Working with RSPN and GBTI was a true eye-opener for me, as I learnt about an entire network of Rural Support Programmes that target the socio-economic upliftment of rural communities. It was a great experience to work closely with organisations that are working for rural development in my home country on such an impressive scale."

Arslan Younas - Internship at the Aga Khan Rural Support Programmes Network, 2019

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“My job at the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat concentrated on the design of a new website. As one of their main communications projects, I was given a lot of responsibilities. I improved my skills in visual design, colour theory, and learnt how to work with Adobe Photoshop...All in all, the skills I gained will definitely benefit me in my professional life.”

Sear Ahmad - Internship at the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, 2018

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