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Lilian To Bursary Winner: Cecilia Miwa Ide Ferreira

By: Alex Nikotina

Published On: April 26, 2016

Cecilia Miwa Ide Ferreira, a 2015 Lilian To Bursary winner, is very excited to step into her career in HR in the near future. Cecilia is pursuing her Human Resources Diploma at Ashton College and we met up with her to talk more about her journey to Canada and her studies at Ashton.


Why did you decide to pursue a career in HR?

I grew up in Sao Paulo Brazil, where I spent the majority of my early career. I graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration and I’ve worked in the Brazilian financial sector for over 10 years, mostly as an accounting clerk. I liked this profession but I felt that it wasn’t really my calling. After working in a small financial company for a while I realized I needed a change in my career.

“My deepest passion lies in helping people, and I always wanted to have a career where I can have an impact on people and their professional lives. I thought that HR was the perfect field for me.”

I had about 1 year of HR experience back in Brazil, and I enjoyed it a lot. That was one of the main reasons why I decided to change my career when I came to Vancouver.

What made you want to come to Canada?

To be honest, one of the biggest reasons why I came to Canada was the fact that it is a safe country that embraces diversity and multiculturalism. I first came to Canada in 2008: I got a chance to study English in Vancouver during my vacation, and I absolutely fell in love with the city. Vancouver is truly beautiful, it has nice weather (but for the rain) and I think that the people here are amazing. Everyone is really friendly and very nice.

It’s funny, but my husband and I had the same desire to come to Canada even before we started dating. So when we realized that we both want have the same dream of living in Canada, we jumped on the immigration train really fast. Because my husband was able to get his work visa and job offer, we were able to obtain our Permanent Residency fairly quickly.

How did you hear about the Lilian To Bursary?

That was purely by accident! I was doing my English homework and I needed to explain something about the education here in Canada. So I was searching the web for HR topics and the Lilian To bursary popped up. I was curious so I clicked on it – and realized that I qualified!

At the time I was actually thinking about getting a job here in Canada as an administrative assistant: I had the experience and transferable skills, and I was focusing on going to workshops for interviews and cover letters, investing my time into getting a job. I knew I wanted to switch careers but I thought it would not happen in the near future (I could not pay for my education at the time). And here comes the Lilian To Bursary, that could help me fulfill my dream of changing my career path and getting into Human Resources.

I didn’t think I would get the bursary, and I was so surprised, but so happy when I received it! Without the Lilian To Bursary, I would take much longer to come back to study, and I am not sure if I would get the opportunity to change my career. I consider myself lucky!

How do you like the HR program at Ashton College?

I’m taking the HR Diploma program full-time, and I’m really enjoying it! The instructors at Ashton are great: they give us a great overview of HR topics, and help us have a broader understanding of Human Resources field. I am confident that after this program I’ll be able to work in the HR field here in Canada.

In your opinion, what is the key to succeeding in your studies?

You need to be very committed to your studies: to learn a little bit every day, to focus on the course – and to get good grades, of course. At least, this is the standard I put for myself.

I’ve always treated the opportunity to study here as my priority; I want to learn as much as I can through the HR program. I don’t want to be a person who got such a great bursary and wasted it. I really want to learn and get good scores so I’m working very hard for it.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?

I hope to work in the HR field. Of course I don’t expect to be an HR manager right away; but after a few years of working in the field, I’m hoping to have a nice position where I can apply my knowledge and skills in the HR department. This would be more of a short-term goal.

My long-term goal after I get the skills, experiences and knowledge necessary is to open my own business. But before I do that I need to learn more about Canada, about how the business is run here, and I need to gain more experience. I know that life is unpredictable, and many things can happen but for now, these are my goals!


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