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Lured back to Labrador

Andy Turnbull By Jeff Green

Despite some of Andy Turnbull’s freshmen classes being nearly the same size as his hometown, the energetic Arts student still managed to navigate his way through those hectic first semesters.

Indeed, he not only adjusted to university life after uprooting and moving from Labrador’s south coast to St. John’s, but quickly embraced university and a language he had never studied before.

“I had no intentions of studying French as I did not complete French immersion – or any French – in high school,” said Mr. Turnbull, who hails from Charlottetown, Labrador, which has a population of roughly 350. “But I realized that I really enjoyed learning a second language and decided to concentrate on this area.”

He also took a keen interest in business and entrepreneurship – an area of study he’s fostering even more these days. That’s because Mr. Turnbull – a proud member of the Labrador Métis Nation – has been lucky enough to land a job not only in his field but in Labrador even before he crosses the convocation stage next week. He graduates with a bachelor of arts degree with a major in French and a minor in business administration.

He recently became the business development officer with the Métis Business Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

“My job is to help people in Labrador, more specifically aboriginals, to start their own business or expand an existing one,” he explained. “I get to interact with entrepreneurs in all stages of their business development and help them along the way – whether its writing a business plan or applying for financing.”
Coming from a small rural community – there were only 10 students in his graduating class – and moving to St. John’s did involve a learning curve, but Mr. Turnbull met those challenges head-on. He got involved in campus groups and rolled up his sleeves to help plan orientation.

He also signed up for the Frecker Program, which is offered through the Faculty of Arts. He spent a semester living on St-Pierre-Miquelon with a French family and experiencing their culture and traditions first-hand. He considers the semester “the best experience” of his life.

“MUN was a definitely a challenge, but I enjoyed every minute of it,” added Mr. Turnbull who is also five courses away from completing his bachelor of business administration. “Although I am graduating, I see this as the beginning and not the end of my university education.”