From Ukraine to computer science student in Regina

By Dale Johnson Posted: May 21, 2015 6:00 a.m.

 Oles Shnurovskyy works on new payment systems, like mobile payments and Interac.
Oles Shnurovskyy works on new payment systems, like mobile payments and Interac. Photo: U of R Photography.

Oles Shnurovskyy has started a co-op work term at TD Canada Trust in downtown Regina as an Information Technology Solutions Developer. The fourth-year computer science major works on development and logistics of new payment systems, such as mobile payments and Interac.

Oles came to Canada on his own when he was 16 years old.

“I chose the University of Regina because I liked the idea of a small city, which would provide me with a better and safer environment to improve my English skills, as well as to learn more about Canadian ways of living. Also, in smaller cities, everyone knows everybody, whereas in large cities one can feel more isolated,” he explains.

Oles says another attraction was the University of Regina had lower fees than other universities for international students.

“The most difficult adjustment was to pay my tuition. I had to work as much as I could to pay my bills and pay for school,” Oles recalls.

One of those jobs he landed was at TD Canada Trust, where he worked for almost two years to help finance his education. Now he’s back there as a co-op student.

The University of Regina’s Co-operative Education Program was pioneered in Western Canada in 1969.  Last year, close to 800 students were placed. In total, these students earned nearly $10 million. They also gained practical job experience, and in many cases, received offers of employment to take effect after graduation.

Oles says he’s gaining experience that will be valuable when he returns to classes in the fall, to complete his degree in Computer Science.

“This position here will give me a wider perspective on what I will learn further in my program. I will have a better idea how those concepts are applied in the real world and this in its turn will help me understand the bigger picture. When I write code at university and solve problems there, I will know how it all connects in the end, which is quite important,” says Oles, who plans on graduating in the summer of 2016.

“The Co-op Program provides an edge for the person who takes it over the person who does not. Also, for those students who have no idea what they want to do, this is a great option to explore different employment possibilities before spending four years studying. This is a win-win program that will kick-start your career,” he says.