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Chasing a dream from Brazil to Nova Scotia

Elder Koch loves winter. That's part of what got him thinking about Canada as a young teen while dreaming of his future and where it would take him. As he grew up, his dreams grew, too. After years of research and planning, he and his wife, Fabiane, made the big decision to move from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil to Halifax.

"Halifax wasn't our first choice. We originally looked at Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton, but we decided the winters there would be a little too intense. Then we heard about the Atlantic Immigration Pilot and that changed everything. We considered New Brunswick, but then Fabiane started looking more closely at Halifax and we decided that was the place for us."

Elder applied to NSCC's Business Administration program at Ivany Campus and the couple arrived in July 2017.

"I'd wanted to live in Canada since childhood. I'd heard about the quality of life, the economy and the landscape and I knew I'd make it there someday."

With a BA, MBA and 12 years of work experience in purchasing and supply management on his resume, Elder began his program at NSCC in September 2017. He was shy and kept to himself during his first year, but that all changed when he began working as a co-op student at NSCC's International office in the summer between his first and second year. He credits that work experience, the supports available to him through NSCC and his involvement with EduNova for his professional success today.

"Working with the team of people at NSCC International was really beneficial. I learned how to work in an office environment in Canada and practised my English, and the experience helped me get accepted into EduNova's Study and Stay program."

Elder was one of 50 international students throughout the province accepted in EduNova's Study and Stay program, a mentorship opportunity designed to help students transition from school into a profession. Through EduNova, he made connections in the business world and landed his first job in the province at Stelia Aerospace North America in Lunenburg. After more than a year in that role, he took a chance and applied for a purchasing specialist position at High Liner Foods in Halifax, where he works today.

"I love my job. I knew I wanted to work in purchasing again after NSCC, and now I get to do what I enjoy at a Nova Scotia company. My wife and I feel like we’ve really found our place here in Halifax."

As for the weather, Elder has found what he was looking for. "When I watch the snow fall from my window during winters in Halifax, I have to pinch myself to make sure it's real. It's like the movies. It's amazing."

Thinking of attending NSCC as an international student?

Elder has some great advice:
"Before you arrive, prepare as much as you can. Being prepared will help you overcome any challenges you're faced with once you get here. There's a lot of information out there. Read and research as much as you can and focus on official sources, like NSCC and government websites."

"Once you're here, make use of everything NSCC provides. Their international Student Advisors are so helpful and are even there to just talk if you need to. They'll help you during your time at NSCC and support you while you prepare for what's next."