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From Mongolia to small-town Nova Scotia

Growing up in Mongolia, a landlocked country sandwiched between Russia and China, Otgon Ganbaatar learned, first-hand, how important a reliable supply chain is.

"The lack of direct access to open sea handicaps our importation of goods; we face many logistical challenges in Mongolia," says Otgon, a second-year International Business student at Truro Campus and coordinator of NSCC's International Student Ambassador (ISA) program.

"We are remote. The roads and other infrastructure aren't fully developed. And being surrounded by land creates long lead times for deliveries," explains Otgon. "At home, it took between one and three months for me to receive Amazon or eBay packages. In Nova Scotia, I get my order in two days."

Choosing NSCC

Looking to understand more about the supply and delivery of products and services, Otgon researched postsecondary programs in Europe and Canada.

Otgon wanted a curriculum that included practical experience, where she could apply what she learned in the classroom to the real world. But the supports offered to her through NSCC were also key to her decision making.

"Before making the final decision on where to study, I attended a webinar hosted by NSCC's ISA program. The speaker completed the same program I had applied for," says Otgon. "She shared her experiences – specifically on the practical knowledge she gained and how she's using those skills to advance her career."

By the end of the webinar, Otgon knew where she wanted to pursue her education.

Learning long-distance

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Otgon had to complete her first semester at NSCC online, from Mongolia.

"With the time difference, my classes started at 8:30 pm and finished at 3:30 am," says Otgon. "I felt like a zombie most of the time. But NSCC helped me to complete my first year successfully."

"I was able to reach out to my International Business faculty and get one-on-one help," says Otgon. "And the College's international student advisors guided me in the right direction whenever I had questions; the advising team was a main contact for me throughout the semester – from start to finish."

Preparing to move to Canada

In addition to hosting alumni webinars, the ISA program helps incoming students connect with each other and be part of a community. Before moving to Canada, Otgon was in touch with fellow international students who were living in Truro.

"I had a good sense of the town and what to expect before attending Truro Campus," says Otgon. "The ISA offered a safe environment to learn and get to know all available NSCC resources."

Otgon also participated in housing webinars where she learned about apartment hunting, banking in Canada, transportation options and arriving in the country as an international student.

Student supports and awards

After arriving on campus, Otgon continued to access student services. The English as an Additional Language supports and Writing Centre were particularly useful.

"They helped me to revise my CV into the Canadian standard and I was able to practise interview skills for part-time jobs."

Otgon also applied for financial assistance through NSCC's awards program.

"There are so many awards, scholarships and bursaries available for all learners, including international students. All you need to do is check the awards list throughout the year and apply for those you're eligible for."

Otgon, who aims to work in project management or supply chain management, plans to pay it forward for future international students.

"After graduation, I'm planning to volunteer as an alum and continue be part of the NSCC ISA program."