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By: Alex NikotinaPublished On: May 11, 2016
Selim Koyuncu is a 2010 graduate of Ashton’s Immigration Consulting Diploma program. His immigration firm, Master Immigration Services, won the Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver award for Immigration consulting in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
I was born in Toronto, but grew up and studied in Turkey, initially working as an interpreter for the foreign press. I decided to come back to Canada, but to Vancouver this time, since the weather is much better here. Here, I continued to work as an interpreter for a while – this time for the provincial courts, the CBSA and CIC. I worked closely with immigrants, interpreting for them at lawyers’ offices and hospitals, and assisting with filling out their forms at the Border Services. This hands-on training encouraged me to start my own Immigration Consulting business.
“The transition from interpreting to immigration consultancy was a smooth one. It was almost as though I had been walking down that path for a while, gradually thinking about getting training and becoming certified.”
I have been in business for myself for several years now, and it is continuously growing every year. For example, we are serving more clients from more countries than before: our services expand to over 50 countries worldwide, including Ireland, Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, among others. I currently have three people in my team, and we do our best to help clients with their applications and answer any questions they may have. So far, the feedback I am getting has been very positive, and I am excited to continue to grow, learn and expand even more.
The most rewarding part of my job is getting that final thank you from the client. You know you aim to do your best in every situation for every client; but for them to say “thank you” makes a big difference.
“The best time for the client is receiving the acceptance letter, once all the questions are answered and the application is submitted. For me, someone who has been with them on this journey, the best reward is seeing or hearing their excitement.”
I would also say that it feels wonderful to run your own business: it gives you freedom to decide when, how, and with what goal you work. Of course, owning a business also comes with additional responsibilities, and one needs to manage time wisely. But at the end of the day the rewards are great. Be those material rewards or the satisfaction of getting the job done and making a difference in someone’s life.
The program at Ashton was great. The instructors there really know their profession: they have years of experience in the field, and you can see that they do their job well. Nevena Djuricic stood out for me during my education at Ashton.
The whole program at Ashton was very helpful, including the practical component and the preparation for the Full Skills exam by the instructors. The small class sizes mean that you become close friends with the others in the class, and could start networking and building great connections for the future.
Best of all, the program continues to improve: I am currently the member of the Program Advisory Committee, so I can see all the changes and improvements to the program first hand.
I would remind students to be patient. Don’t assume you are going to start making money in the first month after graduation. It is a very competitive industry, and you have to have sufficient knowledge and experience first. I would suggest to consider getting work experience in other immigration firms, or taking on a co-op term for 3-6 months, prior to starting your own business (if that is your goal). It would be a great hands-on experience and a step in your career.
Finding mentors in the industry is also very useful: networking is one of the most essential skills of the twenty-first century. So find people while you are still studying – and learn from them!