Launched in January, the Study and Succeed in New Brunswick program is increasing the availability of skilled labour by retaining more international students after graduation. The program is a three-year initiative funded by ONB and ACOA and is expected to graduate 100 students in each of its eight cohorts.

Phonexiematte Kierulf, an NBCC Fredericton student and graduate of the first cohort, has already found full-time employment with Service New Brunswick (SNB) in a role she considers deeply inspiring and fulfilling. “I’m an SNB Program Officer, and loving the work,” she says. “My teammates are wonderful, and I enjoy working on improving the services we provide for the citizens of New Brunswick.”

Originally from the Philippines, Kierulf says the program has been a great way to build a community of peers who are also newcomers to the province. “I’m still in contact with the others. It’s nice to see how everyone is doing in terms of finding employment and navigating immigration pathways. We’re all learning and bouncing ideas off each other. It’s a great network that ONB and ACOA have created for us via this program, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it.”

The resources are here

Kierulf says New Brunswick has shown itself as a welcoming province and is clearly committed to international student retention. “New Brunswick recognizes that international students like me are important to its future prosperity and that the diverse experiences and perspectives we bring only strengthen its workforce.”

She says that while the program provides ample resources for any student to succeed in New Brunswick, they must be ready to do the work. “The resources are here, and the mentorship aspect of the program is incredible. If you believe in yourself and are determined to succeed, you will. However, the program is not a walk in the park as it ultimately depends on the individual’s dedication and effort, but there’s no doubt it helps set us up for success. I’m still in regular contact with ONB as they continue to check in on us to ensure we’re still doing well.”

Mentorship is the key ingredient

Kierulf says the mentorship initiative stands out as the most valuable piece of Study & Succeed. “What they’ve created with the mentorship component is the essential piece for me,” she says. “It started with a great keynote on the value of mentorship from Dr Roxanne Reeves of UNB. Then, students that are nearing the end of their post-secondary studies are paired with a mentor — mine was an international student themself at one point — who understands the challenges newcomers face, the common questions they have, and has knowledge of what the local industry is looking for. Everyone I’ve spoken with agrees it’s a key program component.”

Giving back to New Brunswick

Like many newcomers, Kierulf is giving back to a community that has welcomed her. She currently serves as NB Coordinator with Postpartum Support International, as a First Fredericton Friend with the Multicultural Association of Fredericton, and as a community volunteer with the Canada Revenue Agency, helping newcomers with everything related to income tax preparation.

“I love volunteering, and I was immensely honoured to have received an award for my commitment to volunteerism from Lieutenant-Governor Brenda L. Murphy. I’m thankful for the support I’ve received in New Brunswick,  and receiving that award was just another way to feel welcomed into this community.”

NB organizations looking to hire international students can visit

If you’re interested in learning about the benefits of hiring international students, applying for a future cohort, or becoming a mentor, contact or