It’s fall again, and students from all over the globe are settling into New Brunswick communities to pursue their education in our province. As these students are thinking about their long-term goals, we hope that they consider making New Brunswick home.  We will all benefit.

Nicole Grechi joined ONB’s Population Growth Team as a Program Officer in February 2021. Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Grechi knows what it’s like to arrive in Canada as an international student and make the transition from student newcomer to permanent resident.

“Arriving as an international student can be challenging at first. However, it allowed me to test the province, and see if it was a place I wanted to settle and stay,” she says. “I had time to pursue my education, meet people, find mentors, and build a professional network which is easier in a smaller city. It made all the difference.”

The Road to New Brunswick

Nicole Grechi Opportunities New Brunswick Grechi says in the early 2010s as she considered her move to Canada, New Brunswick was not on her radar. “I actually learned a lot about New Brunswick just from the post-secondary school’s websites – NBCC, UNB, STU. Tuition was very affordable, so I researched the cities and fell in love with the look of Fredericton.”

A teacher since age 13, Grechi is also a life-long learner. She previously studied international trades and ICT, before enrolling in NBCC Fredericton’s bilingual Office Administration course in hopes of learning French (she now speaks it along with English, Portuguese, and Spanish). “I was the first international student in my NBCC program; there’s been huge growth in international students in the years since, which is great. That’s thanks to an embrace of international talent by both the private and public sectors.”

Newcomers and New Brunswick Businesses

Opportunities NB (ONB) understands that access to great international talent is crucial for companies of every size. With the province’s Population Growth Division now under the ONB umbrella, our business clients are even better served on this front than ever before.

Grechi says some companies may still consider hiring international talent tricky, but they should not be discouraged. “It’s just a matter of being informed. There are several benefits to hiring international talent, including students,” she says. “Newcomers are highly motivated. They’re just starting out in a new place and are eager to learn new things, solidify a career, prove themselves, and build a great life here.”

She notes that many international arrivals are still undervalued. “Many want Canadian work experience and need money right away; you’ll have people with engineering degrees working retail. Employers should take the time to really investigate a newcomer’s background, and their pre-Canadian education and experience.”

For a great example of international talent helping New Brunswick companies reach new export markets, read our chat with Corey Nutrition’s Jay Yang.

The Resources are Here  

Grechi hopes New Brunswick employers don’t miss out on hiring great talent simply because they are unaware of the many people and resources available to help them through the process, like her teammates at ONB.

That support is one of the many reasons Grechi isn’t surprised that New Brunswick has grown as a desirable destination for international students since she was in school. “People are moving here from other parts of the world for a reason. It’s a beautiful place, quality of life is great, commutes are quick, the people are welcoming, and you don’t get lost in the shuffle. I have come to really love it here and it’s great to help support others interested in making New Brunswick home.”

Be sure to check out our interviews with Shippagan Mayor Kassim Doumbia and Mohammed Chekkouri of the Université de Moncton’s student recruitment team for their perspectives on what employers should know about welcoming international students.

Organizations looking to hire international students in New Brunswick should visit welcomenb.ca.

If your company is interested in learning more about the benefits of hiring international students, contact ONB Client Engagement Specialist Kim Webb at kim.webb@onbcanada.ca.

If you are a student considering New Brunswick for your studies, read more about the available immigration programs here.