New classroom, new country

Keisha Peters
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A few short years ago, Keisha Peters was teaching high school students in her home country of Jamaica. Since then, a lot has happened – a new country, a new course of study and a new job, as an instructor at New Brunswick Community College’s Fredericton Campus.

Peters is not just a proud alumna of NBCC – she’s a proud international alumna who is helping provide the next generation of IT business analysts with the same quality education she received. A 2017 graduate of NBCC’s IT – Business Analyst program, she didn’t have to go far to find work in her field!

“It’s a bit different, to be standing at the front of the same classroom I sat in just a little over a year ago,” she said.

The path from a high school classroom in Jamaica to a college classroom in New Brunswick was relatively smooth for Peters. After nine years of teaching high school students in Jamaica, she knew she wanted to do more. At the time, there was a demand for business analysts in her home country, so she started looking into programs.

Canada has a good reputation for international education, she said, so she checked out some schools in Toronto.

“The tuition fees were ridiculously high,” she recalled.

Peters decided to look farther afield. She looked around the internet a bit and eventually learned about NBCC in an online immigration forum. It wasn’t long before she was packing her bags and heading to the Great White North.

Her first big Canadian challenge? The weather.

“You get flung from an oven into a deep freeze!” she exclaimed. “My body was not used to that.”

Weather aside, her transition to Canadian life was not a tough one.

“From what I read online, I knew that Canada was a multicultural country, similar to Jamaica in a lot of ways. I knew it would be different, though, so I approached it with an open mind.

“I expected that the educational resources would be richer here than in Jamaica, and I was right.”

What Peters didn’t expect was how quickly she would fall in love with New Brunswick.

“You go all out to be friendly,” she said.

Peters also had to adjust to a more relaxed instructor-student relationship. In Jamaica, she noted, instructors are never referred to by their first names, but at NBCC, it’s the norm.

“It’s very informal here. For the first two weeks, I didn’t ask any questions because I didn’t want to address my teachers by their first names!”

Her shyness soon evaporated as she realized that the teacher-student bond is tight at NBCC. She was impressed by the dedication that the instructors have for their students.

“They pull out all the stops for you to succeed,” she said. “It’s a really student-centred school.”

Peters graduated in June 2017 and completed a practicum with the provincial government. On the final day of her practicum, she was hired.

But just around that time, a position was advertised for an instructor at NBCC. Peters knew it was the right job at the right time.

“The transition from student to teacher is a switch in roles, and a switch in culture,” she said. “My class is just about an even split of Canadian and international students, so I’m getting to learn about so many other countries.”

Peters was quickly absorbed into the NBCC family, first as a student and now as an instructor.

“The faculty here is so awesome, so friendly,” she said. “Everyone has been so helpful, telling me where to find stuff and driving me places…..when the work day was over, I had so many offers of a drive home!”

Peters obtained her permanent residency in February and her driver’s license in July. Over the next two years, she will be eligible to apply for citizenship.

“I’m quite comfortable here,” she said. “It’s quiet, safe; a nice place to live, raise a family and work.”

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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