Making New Brunswick feel like home to international students

Jay Peters
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As New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) opens its doors to more international learners than ever before, instructors like Jay Peters  are doing all they can to make them feel welcome.

Peters, the International Business instructor at NBCC Saint John, believes strongly in forging strong bonds with students both inside and outside the classroom. He has a special insight into how international students feel when they first arrive in a new country.

“I was an international student myself,” said Peters, who attended the University of Cienfuegos in Cuba. “New sights, new sounds, new tastes….everything is foreign and you feel like you may not belong at first. As instructors, we make them feel they are a part of the NBCC family.”

Peters is welcoming the second class of International Business Management learners to NBCC Saint John this fall. While the entire first class of the program was made up of international students, Canadian students can also choose to study International Business Management.

Peters is developing activities, field trips and assignments that will ease their transition into life in New Brunswick.

“I design some assignments that require them to get out into the community to interact with Canadian culture,” said Peters. “This year, my students will be immersed in a wild goose chase around the city. Through an app they’ll download to their phones, they’ll receive missions to get to different landmarks in the city, and they’ll text a photo of themselves at the landmark to get the next mission.”

Activities like this help students get oriented in a new city, he explained. Their participation in the chase will lead them to discover where the facilities and support services they need are located.

But Peters’ bond with his students often stretches beyond the boundaries of the traditional school day. He also makes an effort to socialize with the students as a group at community events.

“We’ve developed a strong bond inside and outside of the classroom,” he said. “We attend events like basketball games as a group.”

For Peters, instructing international students is more than just a job. It’s an opportunity to absorb different cultures.

“I love learning about new cultures myself. We, as instructors, learn as much as the students throughout the program. We learn together.

“International students bring such valuable experiences and knowledge and their own values, that can contribute to the prosperity of our region,” he said. “Over 80 per cent of our students plan on staying in New Brunswick.”

International trade is a crucial element of today’s global marketplace, as evidenced by the tension surrounding recent NAFTA negotiations between Canada and the United States. Peters is excited to have a hand in training the next generation of executives, economists, marketing managers and policy analysts.

“The state of international trade in Canada is really evolving and there is a true need for the skills that we teach in the International Business program,” said Peters. “The program has got huge potential to fill the need.

“On a federal and provincial level, international trade is one of the main strategies to grow the economy,” he added. “We need to open doors to new international markets, and that’s exactly what we train our students to do – open new markets and leverage Canada’s competitive advantage.”

With over 90 programs and six campuses across New Brunswick, New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) is a provincially recognized post-secondary institution renowned for producing skilled, knowledgeable college graduates. NBCC offers students full-time concentrated study periods in one- and two-year certificate and diploma programs. For more information, visit: www.nbcc.ca.

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