International Student Profile

Beatriz Alves Brandão, Biotechnology Graduate April 2021

If you have not yet experienced working with an SLC International Student, Beatriz’s story will make you want to change that. Read how this 2021 Biotechnology graduate, who hails from São Paulo, Brazil, has brought her strong skill set, work ethic, and inquisitive and positive personality to the local labour market!

Beatriz’s entered the SLC Biotechnology Program in January 2019, having just graduated from high school in Brazil. Her current position as a full-time General Chemistry Analyst for Caduceon Enviromental Laboratories is a dream job for her that combines her desire to contribute to the environment with her love for the biochemical sciences. In her role she analyzes the biochemical levels of drinking water, wastewater, and soil samples to ensure they are within the government’s safety parameters. Knowing her work is essential and contributes to the region’s water safety gives Beatriz immense job satisfaction. More than the work itself, however, Beatriz loves belonging to a Canadian company and especially enjoys sharing her Brazilian culture with her co-workers, who have embraced her passion for her home country.

Beatriz’s role with her employer began as a Placement Student in her third and final year of studies. After only a few weeks, her employer quickly recognized her strengths, abilities, and potential and presented her with an offer to continue her employment after graduation in April 2021. She attributes this opportunity to working hard, putting effort into fitting in to her workplace, and to the amazing group of co-workers who supported her success along the way.

International students encounter challenges when settling in a new country and finding their place socially, at school, and at work. Beatriz herself experienced obstacles and frustrations but always remained positive and forward-thinking. The hardest piece for newcomers is finding employment and she offers these tips for employers when considering international new hires and for students who are navigating the Canadian labour market for the first time.

For Employers considering onboarding an international student:

  • Recognize that many things are going on in the student’s mind. Make them feel welcome and included from the start to make the experience for both sides a positive one.

  • They will make mistakes. Every new employee is nervous starting a new job, but international students are working outside of their comfort zone and are even more anxious when first starting out in what is likely their first job in Canada. Recognize there will be differences in the learning curve as they adjust to new surroundings, but know they are happy to be there utilizing their skills and experiences and gaining Canadian experience.

  • Insecurity about communicating is real. If English is not their first language, they will likely perceive the language barrier to be greater than it actually is. They are concerned about being misunderstood because of an accent and will not always understand “slang” English language terms. Correct in private and re-direct respectfully, just as any employee would want.

  • Review the expectations. Punctuality, dress code, break schedules, and other company policies may be foreign to an international student. Just like any new employee, make sure they are aware of the company’s expectations so they can adhere to them.

  • Recognize great talent. Your new employee has career plans and goals. Watch for their strengths and the areas they prove themself skilled in. Talk to them about their plans and consider them as candidates for available positions.

For international students beginning a placement, volunteer position, or job, Beatriz gives these top tips for succeeding in a new workplace.

  • Be noticed for doing a good job. Give your very best at work, and let others see your skills and abilities. Ask questions and be teachable.

  • Connect with co-workers. Don’t keep to yourself at work but create relationships to build trust. When people get to know you, they will want you to stay employed with the company.

  • Analyze the environment around you. You will learn by observing others and this will help you fit in. Watch for habits and behaviours that are typical to your Canadian colleagues and work to adapt them into your own routines.

  • State your future goals. Let your employer know what you want to do so they see you are interested in being hired for available positions.

  • Be there to learn. Don’t be scared in your new workplace or among your co-workers. Try new tasks and take on opportunities presented to you so you will grow as a person and an employee.

SLC International and domestic students are available for placements and volunteer positions to build their skill sets and acquire Canadian work experience. Career Services can help you connect with our students!