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New project extends hallmarks of previous pilot to include international students at any point in their education, not just the final year

Nova Scotia education cooperative EduNova has announced the creation of a new project that will incorporate and expand upon its signature program, Study and Stay.

EduNova saw major success with its Study and Stay pilot program, launched in 2016. The programming focused on connecting final-year international students to post-graduate support and mentorship, and saw an average of about 100 students connected annually.

The new project, called CONNECT, “combines our capstone Study and Stay program, along with our new Study and Stay Foundations program that allows us to impact students in all years of studies, not just in their final year,” says Jennifer Wesman, senior manager of student success and retention for Edunova. “As part of the CONNECT Project, we are also launching our app, icent, where students will be able to access many of our resources virtually, as well as register for our events.”

EduNova’s CEO, Shawna Garrett, also announced other exciting projects, such as a pilot program to clarify pathways to immigration for international graduates. Through this program, also funded by the provincial government, students can access immigration lawyers and consultants free of charge. Previously, this would have cost international students thousands of dollars.

The launch event featured Raquel Buckton and Elder Koch, both alumni of Edunova’s Study and Stay program and both Brazilian nationals and graduates of NSCC. They share the same mentor, Mark Kotzer, who was able to connect them to their past and current employers, allowing them to gain valuable Canadian experience.

“We have a lot of uncertainty [as students],” Buckton says. “We don’t have connections, we don’t know where to go. The Study and Stay program helped me to know where to go and where to ask for help. My mentor helped me understand that the skills I had were valuable, didn’t matter if I had an accent. It doesn’t matter where you come from, you are valuable to the workforce in Nova Scotia.”

EduNova’s programing advances are being made possible via financial support from the Nova Scotia provincial government. Jill Balser, minister of Labour Skills and Immigration, and Nancy MacLellan, deputy minister of Advanced Education, joined Chuck Maillet, vice president of ACOA-APECA, and MP Lena Diab from Halifax West, at the announcement.

MacLellan announced $400,000 in funding to support the 2,000 plus students that are going to go through the new Study and Stay CONNECT Program.

“This investment is a testament to how much Nova Scotia supports international students. They contribute to our culture, diversity, and economy. They enrich our province, our educational institutions, and our workplaces with unique thoughts, perspectives, and ideas,” MacLellan says.

“The province is proud to support Edunova’s programming because it allows international students to envision success for themselves and choose Nova Scotia as a place to work, grow, and build their careers and lives,” Balser says.

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