The first thing that Edward Nkole does when he arrives is ask that we move somewhere more comfortable. Together we head to the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC), where he says hello to the staff and pours himself a mug of tea before we start chatting. Though he now works in the Department of Financial Services at Queen’s, Mr. Nkole first came to Queen’s from Zambia in 2006 to do his undergraduate degree in economics and global development studies. He says QUIC helped him adjust to life in Canada.
“I have a lot of wonderful memories of this place,” he says. “When I came to Queen’s, this is where I was welcomed. I encountered some culture shock when I came to Canada, and it was here that I could find people who could really hear what I said.”
Before coming to Queen’s, Mr. Nkole worked in Zambia as an accountant but had a strong desire to see more of the world. Both of his older brothers had studied engineering in England, and so he had his mind set on an international education. After what Mr. Nkole refers to as “divine encounters” that led him to making Canadian friends, he started to look at Ontario schools.
“Queen’s was very responsive and I had an instinctive good feeling about it,” he says. Once he came to Kingston, he got involved with the Queen’s community, volunteering at QUIC, and working as a residence don, as well as with Campus Security and the Education Library on West Campus (“I was working way too many jobs!”). Once his degree was complete, he moved back to Zambia and got married, but soon found himself thinking again about Canada.
When he and his wife decided to move to Kingston, Mr. Nkole took a job with the Department of Alumni Relations as an administrative assistant. His experience in accounting saw the job evolve into a more financial and merchandising role and he soon migrated to Financial Services, where he now works as a financial analyst.
“I look at account trends, see the numbers and explain what’s going on behind the scenes,” he says. “Financial Services tracks what money is going where, why, how we arrived at those numbers and what they mean. All of the projects on campus, from research initiatives to the construction of a new residence, need financing — we make sure they stay on track.”
With nearly 10 years at Queen’s under his belt, Mr. Nkole is humble about his accomplishments and thankful for the people who helped him along the way.
“I’ve been fortunate to find jobs that provided a learning environment here at Queen’s,” he says. “I wanted a challenge, and to expand my knowledge and my experience, I’m glad to have had supervisors who were so interested in my development.”