\u201cExperience is what you get when you didn\u2019t get what you want.\u201d This is the favourite saying of Rafael Lopez. Rafael was recently interviewed by Benefits by Design (BBD), where I work, when we spoke with our team members who are working in Canada from abroad. We wanted to get an international perspective on what it\u2019s like to work at a Canadian small business, as well as what avenues companies can pursue to grow their team with international talent. The benefits of working in Canada Rafael is originally from Mexico. He came to Canada to study at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario \u2014 a choice partially influenced by the fact that its Computer Programmer Analyst diploma program included a work placement. He wanted a chance to study and work in another language \u2014 and to get to know what work is like in a different country. \u201cThe thing I value the most about working in Canada is the trust my employer has in me,\u201d Rafael says. \u201cIn Mexico many companies have their employees sign in and sign out \u2014 their time is tracked and how people come and go is very controlled. In Canada, I have found people have more flexibility and freedom, which really equals respect.\u201d Respect is something Tiago Dantas feels sets Canada apart \u2014 and it extends beyond the workplace. Originally from Brazil, Tiago always dreamed of moving to live and work in a diverse, cosmopolitan country like Canada, which he felt would provide exciting opportunities for work and for travel. Now that he is working in Canada, he finds the respect people show for each other at work and beyond makes him feel safe and secure. \u201cIt is easy to live a comfortable life in Canada \u2026 and I don\u2019t have to worry about my personal security like I used to.\u201d Rafael and Tiago also value what they see as \u201cCanadian\u201d management methods. They appreciate how their manager touches base with them on a regular basis and how their interactions are not just about work. Ricardo Lopez is also from Mexico and feels his Canadian employer genuinely cares about how he is doing, citing mental health training as an example. Having an employer care whether he is mentally and physically well wasn\u2019t something he experienced before coming to Canada, but he hopes more organizations around the world can see value in having a people-focused work culture. What we learned about recruiting international talent Canadian employers have an impressive array of resources available to help them connect with international talent. Prior to landing his role at BBD, Tiago had never heard of Kingston, Ontario. BBD hired him through AIESEC, which connects youth with opportunity and helps organizations recruit skilled, emerging leaders. It is the largest youth-run organization in the world, established after World War II by youth who dreamed of building cross-cultural understanding across nations. Another easily accessed, but often overlooked, source of international talent for small businesses is local colleges. Rafael and Ricardo would not be in Canada had it not been for their Canadian college education. BBD was able to host them on placements that turned into ongoing roles. Many college programs include practical placements that provide students with transferable skills and experience. It is a great way to connect with and develop international talent while participating in your local community. Finally, local employment centres provide job boards, host hiring fairs and counsel job seekers to help them find a career. Often such centres are linked with service agencies helping immigrants integrate into their new community, and employers can benefit from the support of the employment centre in finding international staff for key positions. Advice for individuals considering working abroad Asked to advise anyone considering working abroad, Tiago says, \u201cYou don\u2019t have roots on your body \u2014 people should go for it.\u201d While it can seem difficult to arrange, the experience of exploring options and preparing an applicant file is in itself valuable. "If at the end, it doesn\u2019t work out and you don\u2019t find a position, there will still have been something learned,\u201d says Rafael. Organizations like AIESEC, and educational institutions, are terrific places to start. The only drawbacks Tiago, Ricardo and Rafael cited to being in Canada was the length of winter and how expensive it is to see all of the country. Otherwise, they are having very positive experiences and hope to continue growing as employees of a Canadian small business. BBD intends to continue enriching its culture with fresh perspectives by drawing on the international talent pool.