CS2AC Episode 4: A Bahamian Graduate with a Degree in Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University Explains How Embracing Change and New Experiences While Studying Led to Great Opportunities After Graduation

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Caribbean Students to Atlantic Canada Podcast

CS2AC Episode 4: A Bahamian Graduate with a Degree in Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University Explains How Embracing Change and New Experiences While Studying Led to Great Opportunities After Graduation

On this session of  the Caribbean Students to Atlantic Canada Podcast we talk with Kenya Dames, a recent graduate of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She pursued a Public Relations degree with a minor in Marketing.  

Kenya, who is from Grand Bahama, Bahamas, graduated from Grand Bahama Catholic High School  and headed to university after graduating. Kenya delves into the details of her degree, apartment set up and job advice . She also talks about how her co-op work experience through MSVU led to a full-time position with the Canadian government after graduation.

“...Me even being here was a sacrifice , and I refused to allow myself to be miserable for four years, getting a degree in something that I wasn’t passionate about…”

In this session you will learn:

  • What it was like for Kenya to switch universities
  • Why she chose an apartment off campus instead of on-campus accommodations
  • How she utilized Kijiji and Bed Bug registries when hunting for a new spot
  • How the MSVU International Office made a huge first impression on her 
  • About how she received $2,500/ semester from the MSVU bursaries program
  • Why she chose to work while being a student and her job-hunting tips
  • The importance of honing your people skills
  • How volunteering can be a great resume builder for international students
  • How MSVU walks students through the co-op process ( A Co-op work term combines what was learned in the classroom with job experience prior to completing one’s degree. )
  • Snow management tips for international student *Hint: Say No To Sheepskin Ugg Boots!*

A CAREER IN PUBLIC RELATIONS

  • Public Relations (PR) is about managing reputation
  • It refers to the relationship between a company and the public
  • See Details about MSVU’s Bachelor of Public Relations Degree here 

About the City

About Halifax:  As a Caribbean student in Halifax, you will not be disappointed while taking a break from the books!  The Halifax waterfront boardwalk is found alongside the world’s second largest ice-free harbour. There are also lots of restaurants, cafes and galleries for you to check out. Read more about Halifax (here).

Resources Mentioned In This Interview

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CS2AC Episode 3: Second-Year Software Engineering Student Describes Her Journey from the Corridors of Immaculate Conception High School in Jamaica to the Halls of the University of New Brunswick

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CS2AC Episode 3: Second-Year Software Engineering Student Describes Her Journey from the Corridors of Immaculate Conception High School in Jamaica to the Halls of the University of New Brunswick

On this session of  the Caribbean Students to Atlantic Canada Podcast we talk with Raven-Lee Mills, a second-year Software Engineering student at the University of New BrunswickThis is a great interview because Raven does a great job of breaking down the details of her paperwork, engineering program and co-op. 

In this session you will learn:

  • How Raven learned about UNB and why she chose engineering as a career
  • What she needed to get accepted into UNB from high school in Jamaica
  • The documents she needed to submit in order to receive her study permit
  • The things she needed to do in order to work while she studied
  • What is a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and why an international student needs one
  • How she set up her bank account
  • How to obtain Proof of Address if you are an international student interested in renting
  • What on-campus jobs Raven had
  • How UNB helps students get set up to work outside of the classroom
  • Her first co-op work position and the value it provides her as an international students(A co-op work experience combines what was learned in the classroom with job experience prior to completing one’s degree. )
  • Her tips for combating the snow

JUMPSTART !

Things you can do now for classroom and career

Learn coding with Codeacademy

Store your projects on  Github

About the City

About Fredericton:  As a Caribbean student in Fredericton, you will not be disappointed while taking a break from the books!  Located along the Saint John river, there are lots of walking/ bike trails and museums. The small town atmosphere makes all feel welcomed. It is not uncommon for students to switch up the scene and hold meetings or study sessions in one of the many coffee shops around town. 

Resources

UNB Software Engineering Program

UNB Engineering Co-op Education Program

Applying for a Social Insurance Number

Find A Service Canada Near You

 See Winter Gear here and here

Stores around Fredericton that may be useful: Walmart, Best Buy, Sobeys, Superstore

Thanks for Checking Us Out!

To keep up with schools in Atlantic Canada and other student experiences:

Let us know what kind of student experiences you’d like to hear next!

Help us reach more Caribbean students.

  • Like our Facebook Page
  • Leave a review on iTunes
  • Share this episode with  someone that may find it helpful 🙂

 

Let us know what kind of student experiences you’d like to hear next!

5 Places to Source Caribbean Foods in Atlantic Canada

Leaving home to advance your education is an exciting experience. You’re in a new place, making new friends and learning new things. 

But, whether you’re on a meal plan or not, there will come a point where you want a taste of your dad’s macaroni pie or grammy’s chicken souse. If your supply of home grown snacks has  depleted, you may have to venture out into the snow to restock. 

Where do you go? Where do you start? Don’t worry, we have made a list of all the places in Atlantic Canada  that we frequent when it’s time to cook or buy some good Caribbean food. 

1. Mom and Pop Grocery Stores

These single-location stores are not very big, but can carry niche items that can be purchased in a small quantities. This is perfect for the college budget. Places like Victory Meat Mart in Fredericton, New Brunswick come to mind . The store  has been known to carry scotch bonnet peppers, Halal foods, salt fish and oxtail (on occasion).  

2. Supermarket Chains

When schooling in Atlantic Canada, you will most likely become familiar with two chains: Atlantic Superstore and Sobeys. Sprinkled throughout  New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, their international food isles are known to stock  Matouk’s and Grace Products. If you are known to ‘chef-it-up’, this can be a great place to source plantains, yams and canned ackee.

Doubles , flickr

3. Bulkbarn

Need a king’s ransom in yellow cornmeal because you’re in charge of making the pastelles for the Caribbean association this year ? Well bulk barn may be your place.  Bulk Barn is great because it allows you to purchase as much or as little of an item as you need.

Note: We have yet to find a source for fig leaves ! 

4. Farmers Market or Cultural Market

If you have ever been to a farmers market , you know that there are always tasty international treats to sample.  If you cross your fingers, you may find a fellow islander selling some authentic Jamaican or Trinidadian food. 

Jerk Chicken, flickr

5. Restaurants

Well if you’re not set up for cooking or perusing the farmers market, Atlantic Canada has its share of Caribbean restaurants that will hopefully quench your craving. From ‘A Taste of Jamaica’ located in Newfoundland to ‘Caribbean Bliss’ in Nova Scotia, a restaurant outing with friends is a great treat after you  finish an exam.

Jamaican Breakfast, flickr

We hope this helps. Happy eating !

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CS2AC Session 2: From the Shores of Trinidad to a degree in Finance, an MBA, and a Soccer Scholarship at University of New Brunswick

CS2AC Session 2 : From the Shores of Trinidad to a degree in Finance, an MBA and a Soccer Scholarship at University of New Brunswick

On this session of the Caribbean Students to Atlantic Canada Podcast we talk with Keagan Marcus, a Trinidadian making strides as a businessman and entrepreneur in New Brunswick. Keagan obtained both his Bachelors in Finance and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of New Brunswick .  Listen as he walks us through his time as a student athlete (on a soccer scholarship), how he earned spending money as a student and how he went about finding pre-owned appliances for his dorm room.

In this session you will learn: 

  • The existing partnership between University of New Brunswick and UWI- Roytec 
  • What was needed to set up Keagan’s first dorm room at Aitken House
  • How he utilized the classifieds website Kijiji to purchase appliances
  • How Keagan balanced being a finance student and a soccer athlete
  • What he did to earn spending money during his undergad
  • Why he chose the path of entrepreneurship and what its like being an entrepreneur in Atlantic Canada
  • What advice he has for caribbean students combating the snow for the first time

We have a great article on what Kijiji is and how students can use the platform to navigate the various stages of university.

ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP

What is entrepreneurship ?

Entrepreneurship is more than just starting a business.

 “Entrepreneurship is much broader than the creation of a new business venture…At its core, it is a mindset – a way of thinking and acting. It is about imagining new ways to solve problems and create value.”~ Bruce Bachenheimer

UNB & ENTREPRENEURSHIP

How UNB supports entrepreneurship

For Entrepreneurs and Innovators

  On its campus, UNB has the Pond-Deshpande Center . Founded by two  tech entrepreneurs that are also graduates of the school ,  this center’s main goal is to facilitate innovation/ entrepreneurship in New Brunswick.

 If you see yourself as someone with great ideas, you have this great resource right on campus !

About the City

About Fredericton:  As a Caribbean student in Fredericton, you will not be disappointed while taking a break from the books!  Located along the Saint John river, there are lots of walking/ bike trails and museums. The small town atmosphere makes all feel welcomed. It is not uncommon for students to switch up the scene and hold meetings or study sessions in one of the many coffee shops around town. 

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ALSO FOR YOU

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College in Atlantic Canada: 10 Helpful Links for International Students Before and After the Acceptance Letter

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Deciding to leave your country and pursue higher education is a big step!

Whether you are applying to Cape Breton University (4 year programs) or Holland College (2 year programs),there are so many new avenues to navigate as an international student from the Caribbean. 

The question is where to start?! Here are a few links to get you started. 

Before the Acceptance Letter

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork! Language tests, visas and essays are all apart of the college application process for an international student. We’ve listed some basic resources below for you. 

1. Official BusinessThe Government of Canada’s Immigration and Citizenship Canada (CIC)Website – As an international student, no matter the country, you will spend a lot of time here.  This site is where you will apply for a study permit , a work permit (when necessary) and a travel visa or eTA for accompanying family members. 

2. Transcript Assessment WebsitesWorld Education Services (WES). Depending on your program, your future college or university may need to assess how the credentials you obtained outside of Canada compare  to theirs. Your school will tell you if this this is necessary. 

3. English ProficiencyInternational English Language Testing System (IELTS)– When applying to a program taught in English and English is not your first language, proof of English proficiency is necessary. For example, Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, requires an IELTS overall score of no less than 6.5 if english is not your mother tongue. 

Your institution will inform you of the score they  require. Other proficiency exams include TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). 

4.  Learning About CanadaEducanada, well, educates you about life in Canada. The site features a student life section, an international scholarship section and a work after graduation section.  

After the Acceptance Letter

Once you’ve been accepted and all immigration paperwork is squared away , you may start thinking about  travel and what life in your future home will be like. The links below are a great start.

5. Booking your tickets – Sites like kayak.com are really helpful platforms for price comparisons.

6. International Foods at the Canadian BorderThe Canadian Food Inspection Agency – If your mom is like ours, she may try and send you with the entire contents of the kitchen cupboard. But, it would be wise to check and see if the sweet bread, frozen conch and beef patties  she is sending are border friendly. If they are not, border patrol will dispose of the goods and may even enforce a fine. See the list of things you can bring into Canada. 

7. Keeping Up with the WeatherEnvironment Canada– Maritime weather is like no other and when winter rolls around, you will want to know what outside feels like before stepping out . Environment Canada provides official weather forecasts, warnings and storm tracking for all of Canada.  You can type your east coast city or town in the ‘Access City‘ box (found at the top right of the website).  

8. Local NewsCBC News – This is one of the best ways to stay in tune with what is going on in your town, city or province. Each city has their own dedicated page, so specify your location from the dropdown list under the ‘Local’ tab.  Also, this is another great way to keep up with the local weather!

9. GroceriesAtlantic Superstore– If you don’t have a meal plan or you are opting for an apartment, chances are you will be needing groceries. Check Atlantic Superstore’s website for weekly discount flyers.  

10. Previously Used Appliances & Furniture– Kijiji is a great place for a used microwave or mini fridge. Check out this article on how international students can use it for other things like hair and tutoring services . 

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Keep up to date with school and scholarship information 

We’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a review  too 

Find out when new student experiences and blog posts are released

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How UNB Is Helping International Students Cope With Winter

The one consistent thing that Caribbean newbies want to know  is…”How do I deal with winter!?”.

Well, the University of New Brunswick’s International Students Advisor’s Office (ISAO) is providing a great resource for winter items that international students may have missed while shopping.

This is really helpful and very encouraging to any one facing an east coast winter for the very first time.

Their video shows how they are helping to keep fingers and toes warm 🙂

Kijiji: 11 Things A New International Student Should Know

You may have heard about Ebay or Craigslist , but have you heard about Kijiji?

Kijiji (which is Swahili for village), is Canada’s largest free classifieds website used for posting local ads. It allows people within a community to purchase and provide goods / services amongst each other.

After arriving in Atlantic Canada , it can be a useful  resource for any college student looking to supplement on-campus offerings or save a few dollars on a purchase.

We thought it would be helpful to provide some useful tips for potential first time Kijiji users  as well as list a few ways the website can be helpful.

Note: We always encourage students  to look into  university options first. With that said, we believe it is always a great idea  to be informed about everything a new city or town has to offer.

Kijiji: First-time User Info

1. Things Are Usually Sold As Is -The second hand economy is great, but remember things are generally sold as is. So ask lots of questions, request additional pictures- whatever you need to do  to  ensure you are getting what you want.  

2. Choose a Neutral Location for Meet Ups – Generally, we’ve found that people are  honest and kind. However, you still will want to be smart about your meet-up /transaction. Remember: Malls and coffee shops are great for meeting your seller and never provide credit card or banking information.  Kijiji produced a great video about remaining safe while meeting a buyer or seller.

3. Talk to A Local Canadian Friend – Still not too sure about what Kijiji is and how it can help ? Talk to your Canadian roommate or lab partner who is from your school’s town. Chances are they have used the platform  and can break down the do’s and don’ts for you.

4. Posting Your Own Ad is Pretty Easy –  Can’t find an on-campus buyer for your microwave? Kijiji makes it really simple to upload pictures and prices for all of your stuff.  They also have an app that makes posting and browsing even faster.

Kijiji: How Its Useful

5. Hair braiding and other hair services –As a Caribbean international student, its not always easy to find someone to take care of natural or processed hair in this neck of the woods. But there are hairdressers and braiders that advertise with Kjiji to reach their clientele. 

Be sure to take all the precautions discussed in our post when  meeting up.

6. Off campus housing- Kijiji provides a great list of student targeted housing options; from single rooms to apartments to houses. Check out their article on how to find a student apartment.

7. Furniture- Decided to move out of your campus residence and a brand new couch not in the budget? Kijiji has sofas and dining tables at every price point.

Tip: Check out Kijiji’s ‘Free Stuff’ tab under the ‘Buy & Sell’ menu option. Thank us later!

8. Appliances- There is no shortage of  microwaves and mini fridges listed on Kijiji. These can be oh so handy for those all-nighters in your dorm room .

9. Tutors– Colleges and universities usually have a well established tutoring system, so we suggest you start there. But, if for some reason you need more options, Kijiji is a great platform to search. From time to time you may come across past graduates offering their services on the site.

10. Textbooks – Students are constantly listing previously used textbooks. 

11. Car –If you live off campus, a car may be something you are considering. After ensuring that winter tires, annual safety inspections and general maintenance can fit within your budget, Kijiji is a great way to figure out your city’s vehicle market and narrow down general offerings.

Navigating a new place is never easy so we hope this helped!  Have you heard about Kijiji before? Let us know!

Stay Connected !

Keep up to date with school and scholarship information 

We’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a review  too 

Find out when new student experiences and blog posts are released