International alumna makes Saint John home

Editor’s note: the following was reposted from (Greater Economic Development Saint John) with permission.

With increasing political and economic turmoil in Brazil, Isabela and Gileno made the decision to start looking for a safer more stable country to call home. Isabela always wanted to move abroad, and in her career as an Account Manager for a corporate events company had the opportunity to live and work in places like Finland and Bogata Columbia. To find their next adventure, the couple began exploring international opportunities at “Study and Stay” fairs where they came across a Canadian booth.

“Canada has unique immigration options that other countries don’t have,” says Isabela. Not knowing much about Canada, Isabela and Gileno started to do their research.

Affordability was a barrier to moving to Toronto, so they started looking east.  That’s when they saw a tweet from Mayor Darling that said, “Forget Vancouver and Toronto. Come to Saint John.”

Isabela was accepted into the International Business Management post graduate program at NBCC, beginning in the fall of 2018. Arriving from Salvador, Brazil, a bustling city of 5 million people, Isabela and Gileno were struck by the safety and abundance of opportunity in Saint John.

“Going to school is a good way to start over,” says Isabela, who has now successfully completed the program and is working as a Sales Coordinator for Saputo.

Rahma from Atlantic Human Services (AHS) was a huge asset in helping Isabela and Gileno find their first jobs, both within 3 weeks of arriving in Canada. “That’s what economic stability looks like,” says Isabela, who was surprised at how quickly they both found work. Gileno works night shift at Crosby Molasses and is taking advantage of every opportunity to improve his English.

“Everyday is a different experience,” says Gileno. In Brazil, Gileno was a tour bus driver for cruise land excursions and hopes that once he obtains his operators licence, he will again work as a tour bus operator or a truck driver.

“Leaving behind your home, your family, your friends and starting a new life in Saint John was not easy, but the rewards of living in a safe and growing community outweighed the challenges,” says Isabela. When asked what people should know about newcomers, Isabela responded that people need to recognize that newcomers are individuals that bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that can add value to their jobs and the community.

When not working, the couple spends their time discovering the city and surrounding region and are especially fond of Rockwood Park where they enjoy taking in the changing of the seasons.

“We can feel that the city is becoming more diverse. Now is a good moment to be here. I have the feeling that I am here just before the boom,” says Isabela.

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