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In June 2014, Sofia Domenica Lombos immigrated to Canada with her family from the Philippines. She says that being confirmed as a permanent resident by the Immigration Officer was an emotional experience: “It was my dream to live in Canada.”
Before coming to Canada last year, Sofia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from a university in the Philippines, majoring in diplomatic and consular affairs, with a focus on international law, international relations, politics and government. She had also completed an internship in the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines.
“I facilitated the shipment of remains of migrant workers who died abroad to their families,” she says. “I also had to locate the whereabouts of missing Overseas Filipino Contract Workers and drafted communications to different diplomatic posts and other government agencies.”
Sofia enjoyed her internship so much that she extended the 500-hour requirement to 700 hours. “My experience inspired me to pursue an immigration consulting program in Canada.”
Soon after arriving in Vancouver, Sofia enrolled in Ashton College’s part-time Immigration Consultant Diploma program, and she expects to graduate in March 2015. She already has post-graduation goals: “Right after that, I plan to use the Lilian To Bursary to enrol in Ashton’s International Trade program.”
Sofia learned about the Lilian To Bursary through Canadian Immigrant magazine when she first arrived in Canada. “I completed the application right there and then,” she says.
She doesn’t consider her planned shift to the International Trade program as a career change. “It’s more of a realignment. The program focuses on developing competencies and functional skills. I am excited about the new learning I will obtain and getting closer to my dream – it’s all finally coming together.”
Her primary goal is to work in public service in either a provincial or federal agency, and she’s also intrigued by the possibility of working as an active government staff member involved in high-level trade discussions with other countries. “A long-term dream of mine is to help the less privileged people in other countries,” she says. “And I think I will only be able to achieve this by first establishing myself here in Canada. I need to be equipped with resources and to finish all the studies I’ll need.”
As a newcomer to Canada, Sofia’s advice to others is to be prepared before arriving in Canada. “Set your goals from the very start, and take upgrading courses and optimize whatever training and experiences are available.” She also believes that having a good mentor to guide you in the right direction is a definite asset.
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