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Life is full of adventures, and there is no time to waste – that's the attitude Mario Antolinez takes on in every new endeavour. Having lived and studied in several countries, Mario decided to settle in Canada and become a Regulated Immigration Consultant.
Mario has always been passionate about different countries and cultures, and he is very open about craving international experiences. “I’ve always been interested in international affairs and was fascinated with different countries and cultures,” shares Mario. “It amazes me that people think and behave differently depending on the culture they grew up in and the language that they speak.”
Being a global citizen himself, Mario had multiple opportunities to travel the world and learn from each new destination. Born in Colombia, Mario finished his Bachelors degree in International Relations and went to Japan for his postgraduate degree. “I have a Masters and a PhD in Asian and Latin American studies,” says Mario. “And I used to work in the foreign affairs field.”
Canada became a new destination and a new adventure for Mario.
“I wanted to come to Canada to see what the lifestyle here is like. I guess I was looking for new opportunities and new ways to challenge myself.”
“I came here as a Federal Skilled Worker, and after living here for a while made a decision to stay,” adds Mario.
When Mario was applying for immigration, he used an Immigration Consultant representative – and immediately knew he wanted to learn more about this field. “With all of the international experiences that I’ve had, it was only natural for me to develop interest in immigration,” says Mario, laughing. “It was a great way for me to channel my passion, and I was confident that I’d be good at this new career.”
However, Mario knew that in order to successfully transition to a new career path he needed to learn more about immigration law. “I made a decision to take a full-time Immigration Consultant Diploma program,” says Mario. “I wanted to be immersed in the experience, so I took it full-time.”
When asked why he chose Ashton College for the program, Mario replies simply: “It seemed like a great program to take. Smaller group-based classes worked great for me, because there were many opportunities to have one-on-one time with the instructors. And the instructors of the program were great! They were really knowledgeable and keen on helping us, the students, succeed. So I know I made a good choice coming to Ashton.”
Mario’s most excited about the fact that he was able to work in his field soon after graduation. “I successfully passed my ICCRC exam and was able to find a job pretty quickly,” shares Mario. “I now work in an immigration firm, mostly helping with the temporary visitors' visas.”
“I actually want to thank Ashton College, because I was able to find a job with their help,” adds Mario. “It was because of all the help I’ve received from the staff and faculty members, even after I graduated from Ashton College, that I was able to get a job so quickly.”
Even though Mario’s work is pretty busy, he is really enjoying it. “It definitely doesn’t get boring – there is simply no time for that!” he laughs.
“I see a lot of different clients, each with a unique situation, and I am happy to do my best to help them come to Canada. I also get to talk to people from all over the world – and this is one of the best parts of my job.”
Mario speaks several different languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Japanese. “This is a great skill in my line of work,” says Mario. “I feel like people tend to open up more when you speak their language.”
Mario is not only excited about his new career, but he is also driven to continue learning and to grow even more in his profession. “I want to start my own immigration firm one day,” says Mario. “But I want to gain more practical experience before I am able to do that. But I am looking forward to it!”
When thinking about the advice to give to other students, Mario remembers his own experiences. “There are a lot of different aspects of the immigration law that we need to learn,” says Mario. “And because of that, the program can feel very fast-paced. It definitely did for me!”
At the same time, Mario reminds the students to keep going.
“Don’t stop, just keep persevering! Remember, your instructors are there to help you get through the program and gain the most out of it.”