Living The Canadian Dream?

My mom stared at me with tears in her eyes. She could not believe that she had to say goodbye to her 15 year old son so early. This was in 2010 when I moved to Canada to continue my education in hopes of building a "better life". First of all, having to move 8,000+ Kms away from home at 15 is already pretty hard, but seeing my mom cry was even harder. We knew the odds were better here in Canada. We had heard of the opportunity and the promise of a better life (and the cold). So the journey began.

One year of high school to get integrated into the society, 5 years of University studying International Business and now the moment of truth had come. "What the heck am I going to do after I graduate?" I wanted to be a civil engineer because my dad said "they make good money!" But I hated math and engineering so I chose business. "Business would give me more options because technically, everything is a business". At least that's what I thought.

My final month at Carleton University, I could feel the panic among my friends - especially my international student friends. Getting a job that would allow us to stay in Canada was the whole reason our parents were paying over $30,000 a year! But nobody had gotten calls back from all the applications they had put out. We were all panicking because not landing a job meant having to go back home. Having to go back home meant we gained nothing - it was a shameful thing to have to come back home after spending $120,000+ on your education. The risk was just so much higher for us. We didn't get to "take a year off to travel" - that was not an option. It's not like we could move back into our parents' basements to figure things out either. It was almost do or die!

NOBODY had taught me how to create a resume. I didn't even have any relevant experience

But the more I thought about it, the more frightened I became. NOBODY had taught me how to create a resume. I didn't even have any relevant experience - I just had a bunch of side hustles selling hoverboards and noodles during my years in university. I googled "how to write a resume", came up with the best version of a resume I could and started pumping them out to any and every company from Lulu Lemon to Shopify. I know my friends did the same. Fortunately for me, I got a call back and I met a CEO that was willing to take a chance on a me - but most of my friends never got called. Half of the international students I knew ended up having to go home, the other half got minimum wage jobs just so they could stay in Canada. I would go to Starbucks or Walmart and see my classmates there.

There's obviously nothing wrong with working a minimum wage job but after investing that much into your education, there actually is! Was this the Canadian Dream? Working a job you hated, to make just enough money to live a mediocre life? It broke me to think parents had invested a ton of money in their kids only to see little or no return. I did some research and realized that what I thought was weird was actually pretty normal in Canada. As of 2014, only 4% of international students were earning the same wage as domestic students with the same degree AFTER graduation! 4% is a very low number. 4% is disappointing and I am almost certain that that number has not grown over the past 5 years.

There are 580,000+ students who left home and family to move to Canada in hopes of living the Canadian Dream.

I was lucky to be in that 4% and now my 3Skills team and I are on a mission to raise that number. We want to get it to 10%! There are 580,000+ students who left home and family to move to Canada in hopes of living the Canadian Dream. We might not be able to help every single one of them live that dream but if we can help 10% of them, Canada would be better for it. What would it look like if 58,000 brilliant entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers and engineers were building the economy with us?

I left my parents at 15 years old hoping I could build a life that would change our family legacy forever. I've seen others do it. I know it's possible. That's the Canadian Dream!

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