A study adventure becomes a new life in Canada

Editor’s Note: The following is reposted from edgsj.com, Economic Development Greater Saint John, with permission.


Bruno Silva came to Saint John in the fall of 2018 with the goal of learning English.  He registered as an international student in NBCC’s Cybersecurity program and with his wife and two-year-old son, left Brazil for a study adventure in Canada.

Flying over Saint John, his first thought was “Oh my goodness, it’s a farm”. The vast tracks of trees and undeveloped land leading to the airport were unfamiliar terrain to someone coming from a city of 13 million people.

He remembers spending the first 15 days in shock, but once he settled into the City and its rhythm, quite liked the peacefulness, and the quiet environment. His favourite part of living in Saint John quickly became his ability to move through the City.

“In Sao Paulo, we spend four to five hours in traffic just to commute for work,” said Bruno.  “And that’s if there isn’t an accident.  If there’s an accident, you stay there forever.”

In Sao Paulo, Bruno worked for Avanade/Accenture, a large global company, as a senior software developer.  Soon after arriving, he thought about the possibility of living here full-time once he finished his program.  He started looking at opportunities on LinkedIn and reached out to companies.  He had several interviews, but when companies found out he was on a study permit, the conversations stopped.

Bruno didn’t give up and continued his search.  When he met with BASE Engineering, they recognized the value of his skill set and experience and agreed to hire him part-time while he completed his program at school.  After a day of classes, he would take the bus from NBCC to BASE Engineering and work for four hours.  This gave him a chance to build the skills specific to the work at BASE Engineering and gave the company a chance to see if he was a good fit.

Once he graduated from NBCC in May, BASE Engineering converted his contract from part-time to full-time and he became a member of the company’s development team.

“I have a lot of friends who have had to go back to their country or start a new program after they finish school just to keep their status in Canada,” said Bruno. “If I hadn’t found BASE Engineering, I would have just gone back.  I don’t want to do other jobs just to stay in Canada.  If I don’t find a job in my area, I would just go back.”

Bruno is easy to talk to, and happy to share his experience living in Saint John.  Even though he is a very social person, he describes himself as an introvert who is happiest hanging out at home with his family.

“My wife likes Saint John even more than me,” says Bruno. Her English is not nearly as strong as his, but she found a job right away at Best Western in housekeeping.  With a two-year old son, and another one coming in February, she likes the schedule and the work environment.

Bruno looks forward to building his career in Saint John, going to the gym and getting back into Karate, something he enjoyed when he was living in Brazil.  He says this will be much easier once he has enough money to buy a car.  He also wants to buy a small house in Millidgeville, his favourite part of the City.

“We want to stay here forever,” said Bruno.

For more information on working and living in Saint John, visit edgsj.com

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