International students preparing for graduation

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The thought of finally graduating can be a very stressful time for many university students. Having to put your skills to the test and entering the workforce can be both challenging and intimidating, especially if you lack the skills to snag a job.

This year, a brand new program is being introduced to international students in order to teach them how to plan and prepare for life after UNB. Students participating in the Graduation Preparation Series (GPS) are being offered information through a variety of information sessions in order to prepare themselves for the real world. Although these sessions are offered to all students on campus, those participating in the GPS are required to attend.

As an incentive for attending all of the workshops, the end of the program will include interview opportunities for local internships throughout the city. Ase Kelly Berg and Freeman Woolnough of student services are heading up this program. They are very excited about what it has to offer and encourage all international students in third or fourth year to take part.

“This program will aid in the process of helping international students get some of their first work experience in Canada” says Woolnough, “a task that can be quite difficult when you consider things such as work permits and entry visas.”

UNBSJ has partnered with Mount Allison University for the duration of this program. They had implemented the GPS last year and have much experience running it. The province is also aware of the skills and contributions international students bring to the workforce and want to encourage them to stay in N.B. after graduation.

Through the department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, funding has been given to the university to develop this program extensively. So far, the students have taken part in a very successful career fair at UNBF and a “tips and tricks” workshop prior to the event. Students have also been meeting one on one with career counsellors in order to try and pinpoint their goals and plans for the future.

Coming up this term, students can expect to see sessions on developing an online presence, volunteering opportunities and an alumni panel preparing students for the challenges they will soon face. In the new year, the focus will primarily be on how to survive an interview, job hunting, resumes, cover letters and how to adapt to life after school.

A trip to Mount Allison for those taking part in the GPS will also be offered in the new year.

The program has been well received by those involved and plans are already in progress to offer the Graduation Prep Series next year. Students that have taken advantage of this program have found it to be useful and informative. They are gaining valuable skills crucial for landing their dream job.

The program is also connecting students to resources that are often forgotten about, not just to international students but domestic as well. There is definitely a need for this at UNBSJ and as long as international students continue to attend there will continue to be such a service offered.

The planning team looks forward to answering questions and continuing to provide students with useful information to jump start their career goals. Any questions about the GPS can be forwarded to Freeman Woolnough at sjcounsellor@unb.ca