Immigration

Stay in Nova Scotia seeks mentors for international students

EduNova is trying to breach the gap between employers and students

Aristidis Psaltidis Hernandez on the right with the premier and other international students
Aristidis Psaltidis Hernandez, right, with the premier and other international students.   EduNova

The province is looking for mentors to work with 50 international students in its Stay in Nova Scotia program.

The program, run by EduNova, is designed to encourage international students to stay in the province after graduation by helping them in their final year of university. It was launched last month with 50 student participants.

EduNova has completed a needs assessment of the students and is now seeking mentors from a range of backgrounds, from the arts to the manufacturing industry.

“We think this is a win-win situation,” said Jennifer Wesman, the retention co-ordinator of EduNova. “It’s beneficial to the international students who would like to stay in Nova Scotia and for Nova Scotia to retain young people.”

Nova Scotia has seen a growth in international students, but still has a tough time keeping them.

According to the 2014 Report of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy, international student enrolment increased by 122 per cent from 2002-03 to 2012-13. On the flip side, the retention rate was around two to three per cent.

“We are getting feedback from the employers saying that they can’t find the talents here in Nova Scotia, (so) they had to look from other provinces trying to fill the job,” said Justine Somogyi, program manager.

“But then we’re hearing on the student side that they are having trouble navigating the Canadian work culture and networking and so on.”

The idea is to match students with eligible professionals. Mentors are required to meet with their matches at least six times between now and next September.

Aristidis Psaltidis Hernandez is glad he’s in the program. He’s from Mexico and is studying business administration at Mount Saint Vincent University.

“One of the reasons I like the program is that they are giving personal help,” he said. “Everyone has different needs and a different picture of what they want to accomplish.”

Anyone interested in becoming a mentor can sign up through the Stay in Nova Scotia website before Nov. 25.