By their nature graduation ceremonies are emotional events. They are a mix of joy, excitement, fear of the future and even the bittersweet sadness of the changes they represent. It’s even more poignant, though, when that graduation represents a notable milestone on the road to settling permanently in a new country.
Forty-seven such students graduated from EduNova’s Stay in Nova Scotia program on an incredibly warm July 5th, 2018. After a rousing welcome by EduNova’s President and CEO Wendy Luther, MP Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament for Halifax, shared Ottawa’s thanks to the graduates for making their home in Canada – and in Nova Scotia in particular. His message: “Immigration is key to building a strong province.”
MP Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions and Member of Parliament for Halifax
This feeling was reiterated by Tracey Taweel, Deputy Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage; CEO of Immigration, Nova Scotia Office of Immigration. She warmly thanked the graduates for choosing Nova Scotia. “The truth is, we need you,” she said, honestly sharing the gratitude that the province feels to those international students who choose to stay in Nova Scotia after graduation. She went on to congratulate EduNova and its members on the success of the Stay in Nova Scotia program, “This program is unique and it’s working,” she concluded.
Tracey Taweel, Deputy Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage; CEO of Immigration, Nova Scotia Office of Immigration
“International students enrich our campuses and our province,” said Anne Forrestall, Senior Assistant Vice‑Provost, Student Affairs, Dalhousie University in her welcoming remarks. She added that it is a privilege to hear the perspectives of international students.
Anne Forrestall, Senior Assistant Vice‑Provost, Student Affairs, Dalhousie University
Once the official welcome had concluded the success of the program was emphasized by Jennifer Wesman, Retention Co-ordinator from EduNova, and Chantal Brine, Vice President of Youth Employment from Venor; CEO of En Point. Jennifer noted that students and mentors across urban and rural Nova Scotia were involved in the second cohort of the Stay in Nova Scotia program. The impact across the province would, according to Chantal, have a ripple effect as these new Nova Scotians share their stories with their families and friends in their home countries and let the world know about our province’s potential.
Jennifer Wesman, Retention Co-ordinator from EduNova, and Chantal Brine, Vice President of Youth Employment from Venor; CEO of En Point
Growing potential was an emotional theme as students and mentors shared the impact of the program on their lives. More than business relationships, graduates shared that, through the mentorship program, they have built lasting friendships that are truly only beginning. The importance of these relationships was emphasized by Halifax entrepreneur and founder of My Halifax Experience, Ifeanyi Emesih, who added that networking is key to success in Atlantic Canada. He congratulated the graduates on their achievement and advised them to make the most of the resources available to them in the province, a suggestion that was turned into an invitation by Jennifer Watts, CEO of the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS).
Ifeanyi Emesih, Halifax entrepreneur and founder of My Halifax Experience and Jennifer Watts, CEO of the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)
How could the feeling be anything but joyful when the resounding message is that you are welcome and we want you to stay. For these graduates, 23 of whom are already working in Nova Scotia, anything is possible.
Graduates of Stay in Nova Scotia 2017-18 with Chantal Brine, Jennifer Wesman, Wendy Luther and Ausin Zhang (Retention Co-ordinator from EduNova)