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Improving Skills with the Lilian To Award | Elena Todorova

By: Alex Nikotina

Published On: March 15, 2017

A professional in her field, Elena Todorova knew that she was equipped for success in Canada. “Coming to Canada often means starting your career over, but I’ve always loved accounting and bookkeeping. I knew I could stay in that field if I focused on being a professional in my work.”

To ensure that she continues to be a professional, Elena applied for the Lilian To bursary and used it to enrol into the Certificate in Bookkeeping program online at Ashton College.


Immigration Success

Elena came to Canada with a hope for a better future. Born and raised in Bulgaria, Elena grew up in a family of accountants. “My parents and my brother are accountants, and many of my friends are also working as accountants or bookkeepers,” shares Elena. “I guess I grew up under that influence because I also always gravitated towards that field.”

Elena graduated with a Masters degree in International Economic Relations and Finance in Bulgaria, after which she worked in the banking and accounting sphere. “I really enjoyed my work there: I was relatively successful, I liked what I did and I liked the people I was working with,” she shares. “But my circumstances brought me to Canada.”

Thinking back to her life in Bulgaria, Elena just smiles. “I have had my share of accomplishments and my share of sadness back at home,” she says. “But as they say, the past is in the past. I was ready to start over in Canada, and I’m glad I had an opportunity to do so.”

Striving for More

Having studied and worked in the accounting field for several years, Elena was confident in her experiences and abilities. “I knew I was qualified to work in my field – I just needed to show it to the Canadians,” she says, smiling. Elena’s perseverance paid off, and soon after her arrival, she was able to find a job in an accounting company.

However, pretty soon Elena realized that there were differences in how bookkeeping was done in Canada. “Some differences were more subtle than others,” shares Elena. “I caught myself thinking that I didn’t always understand why some things were done the way they were. And I didn’t want to lose my job due to the lack of education.”

“I’ve always wanted to stay professional in my work. Whether it is in Canada or in my home country, I wanted to provide the best service to my employers and to my clients. So it was time to go back to the books and learn more about bookkeeping in Canada.”

Lilian To Award Winner

ElenaKnowing that she wanted to go back to school, Elena now needed to find where to take her courses. “I didn’t want to go back to school for another 2-4 year degree,” says Elena. “I just wanted to build on and improve the knowledge that I already had.”

While she was researching different options, Elena received an e-mail from the Canadian Immigrant Magazine. “I usually don’t have time to read those emails, but something made me open it this time. To my surprise, I read about the Lilian To bursaries.”

For a long time, Elena was hesitant to submit her application. “I kept thinking: do I meet the requirements? Do I have a chance to win? I didn’t really think it was possible.”

“When I received the phone call that I was one of the winners, I could not believe it was true! I am very grateful that I was chosen. This bursary was truly a gift at the right time.”

Keep Going

Elena finished her course at the end of last year, and she is excited to apply her knowledge and understanding of bookkeeping in Canada.

“The things I’ve learned are directly applicable to my work, and that is what I appreciate the most about Ashton College.”

Of course, studying does not come without a challenge. “I still had to work, and I was not used to studying for the exams – I almost forgot how stressful it could be!” shares Elena. “But at the end of the day, I knew that I needed to do everything in my power to ensure I could be successful here in Canada.”

“Everyone at Ashton College is very kind and supporting. I am very grateful for the bursary and the opportunity that was given to me.”

Want to apply for the Lilian To scholarship? Visit this page to learn more!


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