The road to retention: Study and Stay Program helping Nova Scotia retain students

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Nova Scotia may be small, but it’s gaining ground as a leader in supporting international students’ aspirations to make Nova Scotia home after graduation.

There is no shortage of ways in which organizations, institutions, businesses and individuals in Nova Scotia are working together to attract and retain the talent of international students.

Leading the way is EduNova’s Atlantic Canada Study and Stay Nova Scotia and Study and Stay initiatives, which demonstrate how a tightly-knit international education community works collaboratively with government and private sector partners to support international students to stay in the province.

EduNova’s Atlantic Canada Study and Stay program provides international students with the essential connections, resources and support needed as they transition from “student” to “professional” in their final year of study.

With the program now in its third year, the successes of Nova Scotia’s first two cohorts are tangible and include 82 students who remain in Nova Scotia post-graduation — 63 of which have found full-time work.

This success in Nova Scotia has led to a recent expansion of the program model into P.E.I., New Brunswick and Newfoundland. To date, the programs have supported more than 200 students from across Nova Scotia, with an additional 150 in the other Atlantic provinces — helping students to live, work and build meaningful professional connections in our region.

Participants represent more than 30 countries and nationalities, demonstrating strength in the growing diversity of the province’s educational institutions, local workplaces and communities.

The program has both met and surpassed its goal to retain 80 per cent of participating graduates one year after graduation. Many of these graduates have gone on to launch successful careers in the province and are working for esteemed organizations, businesses and start-ups — as well as creating new businesses.

Mentorship, building connections, and making it happen

A key driver in the successful retention of international students is the opportunity to build peer and professional networks within the province. The Atlantic Canada Study and Stay program includes a mentorship component, where each student is matched with a private sector, government or community leader.

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