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Co-operative Education Programme

The 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, preparing 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:

  • Preparation for professional development courses
  • Full-time/part-time summer and winter job placements
  • On Campus Employment
  • Networking sessions, guest lectures, info sessions and workshops with professionals
  • Work Site Visits
  • Debriefing Sessions
  • Industrial Visits
  • Co-op Networking Events
  • Participation in WACE Global Challenge
  • Alumni Activities
  • Alumni Association

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.

Photo 1. WFP Internship (1)

Students and Alumni of UCA are Gaining Experience with One of the World's Leading International Organizations – WFP Internships.

Photo 2. AA Workshop

Alumni Association workshop in Khorog Campus

Photo 3. Networking Event

Co-op Networking Event in Bishkek

Photo 5. Industrial Visit (2)

Industrial Visit to partner company, Coca –Cola Tajikistan

Photo 2021 08 16 03 00 46

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

The Co-operative Education program is mandatory for all UCA undergraduate students, and each student must complete at least one work term, accumulating 480 hours per year. 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 in the internship placement, as well as participating in field studies and jointly conducting competency development evaluations.

An academic term integrated with Co-op programme comprises:

  • A sequence of work and academic periods
  • Monetary compensation for the work done, maintaining both employer and student engagement
  • Evaluation of student and employer performance over the course of the work term;
  • Faculty engagement in the Co-op programme, as the work of students 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.

Co-op Partners

Co-op partners comprise leading companies and organizations from across the region and internationally, including USAID, AKDN, AKF, AKAH, GIZ, IWPR, Eurasia Foundation, 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.

In 2023, over 500 positions were announced for students.

Co-op Student Award

The Best Co-op Student Award is a highlight among Co-op activities, recognizes outstanding students for their exceptional co-op experiences. The award aims to recognize and celebrate students who have demonstrated outstanding performance and dedication during their Co-op experiences. This award seeks to acknowledge the exemplary efforts, achievements, and commitment of students within the Co-op program, fostering a culture of excellence and motivating students to excel in their professional development through practical work experiences.

Photo 7. Anusher Khumorikov

Anusher Khumorikov, Global Economics, Co-op Student of the Year 2023

Photo 8. Darika Urgazieva

Darika Urgazieva, Communication and Media, Co-op Student of the Year 2023

Photo 9. Rabia Faqir (1)

Rabia Faqir, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Co-op Student of the Year 2023

Photo 10. Bashir Alam

Bashir Alam, Computer Science, Co-op Student of the Year

Post about the student

“As a Software Engineering Intern at Yandex, I delved into mastering the Go Programming Language. Throughout this internship, I was able to develop a microservice aimed at optimizing payment processes, resulting in reduced transaction costs for customers in African markets. The best thing is a team with skilled professionals. I loved solving challenging problems and helping the team. I liked how Yandex cared so much about its workers giving competitive salaries, and other bonuses for relocation”.

Photo 11. Ilkhomzhon Sidikov

Ilknomzhon Sidikov, Computer Science student is interning as Software Engineer at Yandex.

Alumni Association

The University of Central Asia’s Alumni Association was founded in 2021 by proactive members of the inaugural class of 2021. Operating within the umbrella of the UCA Co-operative Education Program, the mission of the Alumni Association is to cultivate lifelong connections, foster alumni engagement, and uphold the university’s mission. The Association provides a dynamic platform for alumni to stay connected, contribute to UCA’s advancement, and inspire future generations of students.

The mission of the Alumni Association is to connect, engage, and support both alumni and current UCA students. Through sustainable connections and meaningful interactions, the Association aims to provide professional development opportunities and foster a spirit of camaraderie among members. By serving as a resourceful platform for continuous learning, collaboration, and loyalty to UCA, the Association seeks to enrich the university experience for all members of the community.

Led by a dedicated team of eight members, the Alumni Association operates with precision, with each member fulfilling specific roles and responsibilities. The organization is structured into four key departments - PR, Finance & Administration, Community Affairs, and Content & Communication - ensuring efficient coordination and execution of initiatives. Mr. Ozar Aini, a 2021 UCA graduate in Computer Science, currently serves as the President of the Alumni Association, leading efforts towards realizing the vision and mission.

For more information on Alumni Association activities and opportunities to get involved, please visit the website