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     Volume 2 Issue 38| October 03, 2010 |


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Saint Mary's University
A Friendly Welcome to Canada's East Coast!

Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia a small and friendly capital city along Canada's Eastern Coast (also known as the “Maritime” region) Saint Mary's University was established back in 1802. Halifax itself is also full of history and culture, with a decades-old reputation of being a 'first stop' for overseas immigrants to North America particularly those arriving by boat from countries across Europe back in the 19th and 20th centuries. And just as it welcomed all those newcomers “back in the day”, the city continues to welcome international students with open arms.

Dr. V Sastry has been a professor at Saint Mary's since 1986 but has been involved with the school for much, much longer. Originally from Hyderabad, India, Dr Sastry first arrived in Halifax back in 1973, as a participant student of the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme, under which he had chosen to do his PhD degree at Saint Mary's. As a former international student (and international newcomer to Canada) himself, Dr Sastry knows all too well of the challenges such individuals can face. And consequently, he holds a special place in his heart for them. In order to helps students make their transitions easier, he and his wife often open their doors and their lives to students from the university.

Student dinners, small get-togethers Dr Sastry says these all a regular fixture at his own home to pull off the newcomers out of boredom and homesickness. And by large, it is also this type of one-on-one attention that really sets Saint Mary's apart as a post-secondary institution both outside the classrooms and within. According to Dr. Sastry, the real bonus with studying at Saint Mary's is the small class size and students excellent accessibility of their professors. Associate Professor of Finance, Information Systems, and Management Science, Dr Mahmoud A. Moh'd, agrees entirely with his colleague on this point. “We give a lot of attention to students,” he says. “We spend about 6 to 7 hours a day in our offices outside of class, where students can come meet us.”

The Master of Finance MBA programme, which Dr Mahmoud is a part of teaching, is one of Saint Mary's most popular study options, particularly for international students. Started relatively recently, the programme was designed to meet the ever-changing demands of the business world. As Dr Mahmoud Explained, “nowadays business is getting more complicated, and employers want more specialisation. So this programme is for people who want to work in finance in more specialized fields whatever that may be.”

Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia population 396,000
Student Body Population: More than 8,800
Percentage of International Students: 20%
Undergrad Faculty to Student Ratio: 1:19
Special Services: Co-operative Education (work experience) Program, Career Services, Writing Centre (offering one-on-one support and tutoring for students' to enhance their writing abilities), a Centre for Academic Technology (to help improve students' computer and technology-based skills), 24-hour comprehensive medical services (available to all students as included as part of their mandatory tuition fees), and special international student support including an International Student Centre, various English-language courses, and an “FYI” Introductory Program, as well as comprehensive assistance with all immigration, visa, and tax issues.

With a wide variety of tailored courses and study streams available within the Finance MBA, fields the programme can prepare students to specialise in investment banking, asset management, private equity, corporate banking, or industry finance. Other programs within Saint Mary's Sobey School of Business also include a Bachelor of Commerce option, MBAs, and PhD programmes with a large list of majors (and work experience, or “co-op” programs) available to students pursuing business studies.

A wide range of undergraduate and graduate-level majors is also available within the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Arts; students have access to many degree options (and later on, career choices!). For example: Chemistry, Computing Science, Geology, Forensic Sciences, Criminology, Economics, International Development, and Anthropology are just a few of the other Majors students can pursue. Engineering, as well, offers a long list of options just within the one academic area including options of choosing Civil, Electrical, Environmental, Industrial, Mechanical, Bio Systems, Chemical and/or Metallurgical Engineering focuses.

With multiple other universities and colleges based throughout the city, Halifax is also widely considered a popular “student town” hosting over 20,000 post-secondary scholars every year. And from weekly farmer's markets, to regularly occurring dramatic performances, sporting events, and live music of all kinds, the number of “things to do in Halifax” is almost as big as its scholarly population!

Many international students also use their time at Saint Mary's as an opportunity to gain some valuable work experience not to mention wages to help cover their tuition or living expenses. Second year Saint Mary's student Gorba Bhandari, for example, is currently holding onto four different on-campus job positions. Besides earning considerable wages (which typically start at around $10 Cdn per hour), he says working during his studies is also a great way to build up experience and references for continuing his studies or applying for jobs later on.

Although this is an extremely large work commitment for any full-time student in Canada (and certainly beyond the “typical” student job experience), Gorba still manages to keep up high marks in his Bachelors of Commerce courses. Working 30 to 40 hours a week, Gorba says that, through his work, he manages to cover his own student living expenses.

Gorba's important advice for first-time international students is to live in residence for the first year. Apart from being a great way to get to know other students and staff members, he says that living on-campus is also a great way to build up important relationships which can then lead to great recommendations and/or job opportunities on-campus later on.

For other students looking for special experiences in Canada from work experiences, to family housing, children care options, or special needs education options Saint Mary's caters to students as individuals. Even within the campus meal plan options (which is careful to offer special food options for students with unique dietary requirements, including vegetarian, kosher, and/or halal needs), it is clear that the school truly prides itself on being accessible and welcoming for all.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about attending Saint Mary's University or another Canadian institution be sure to visit www.canada123.org. Or, even better, come out and meet us in person! You can drop by our Dhaka-based Canadian University Application Centre (or 'CUAC') office located on Gulshan Road or, alternatively, on Friday, November 5, we will be present along with other Canadian university representatives at The Westin Dhaka from 12 noon to 8pm, ready to answer all your questions with typical Canadian helpfulness.

We look forward to seeing you soon!
WHEN: Friday, November 5- 12 noon to 8 pm
WHERE: The Westin Dhaka, Ballroom 3 , Gulshan 2 , Dhaka


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