Faculty Feature | Shawn Bowden

Shawn Bowden is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and an Immigration Consultant Diploma (IMCD) program instructor here at Ashton College. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations, and has over 15 years of experience working in a wide variety of cultural and business backgrounds, including working for the Canadian government. He also spent seven years working in Japan, and considers running international companies his specialty.

Shawn has been working as an immigration consultant in his own company for over eight years. Here he shares his experience and expertise with the students at Ashton.

How did you get into the immigration industry?

I was working for a Japanese company at the time. The organization was doing very well and becoming more successful in the North American market, so they decided to move their head office from Canada to the United States – to LA. I didn’t want to move to the US and was planning to stay in Canada, so I decided it was time to branch out and do something on my own.

A big part of my responsibilities included implementation of the financial, legal and client relations strategies, so I found the transition from my business background towards immigration very smooth.

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Shawn Bowden accepts the 2014 Faculty Award from Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore

Why did you decide to teach at Ashton?

I believe in passing your knowledge down to a younger generation of professionals, so the idea of teaching was always appealing to me. I chose Ashton College because it has a very strong, thorough immigration program. For example, in the IMCD we not only help the students understand how immigration works, but also give them the basic business background, since a lot of consultants start their own immigration firm later on.

I also really enjoy teaching online courses, and Ashton has great tools available for online education. I like technology in general – I believe it has a lot of potential for education that should be taken advantage of.

At Ashton, we combine online classrooms with live webinar sessions, which is a great way to introduce more interactions to the class, while still allowing flexible learning environment. After all, many of the students and instructors are busy professionals and have multiple other commitments.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

I have a passion for helping people, and immigration definitely allows me to pursue that. I’ve worked with different cases and different people throughout my career, managing a wide range of cases, from simple to more complex and lengthy ones. I always enjoy the challenge, so I could say I enjoy the difficult cases more.

I also believe that immigration is an industry you can take anywhere in the world: it is not restricted to a location, and you get to work in a very multicultural environment, helping people from all over the world.

What I like the most, however, is the freedom of owing your own business: it is much more open than the average 9 to 5 job, and therefore I find it more rewarding.


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Do you have any advice for IMCD students at Ashton?

I would advise students to take on challenges and not to run from them. You should really stretch yourself up to your limits, be it in education or in your profession. If you apply yourself beyond what you think you can do, you can achieve more than you ever thought possible.

I would also advise students to choose a specialization. Of course, you have to be familiar with all the different immigration areas (be it economic classes, refugees, family class, etc.); but it is very useful to be a professional in one or two of them. Immigration is a broad category, so you can easily find an area that interests you the most.

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