Susana Santa Maria – Immigration Consultant Diploma Part-Time, 2009

Susana 4I am originally from Mexico, but decided I wanted to live in Canada when I traveled here as a 15 year old. When I got married, I convinced my husband to come to Canada. We initially came to study for eight months, and I fell in love with the country! When we got back to Mexico we submitted our own immigration application, and after two years, we came back to Vancouver as permanent residents. Living in Canada was like realizing a dream I’d had from a young age.

I decided to study the part-time Immigration Consultant program because I had been a lawyer in Mexico, and when I immigrated to Canada, I couldn’t practice as the laws are very different. To continue to practice law I would have to had gone back to University and complete a undergraduate degree. In Mexico I had been working in law for over 11 years, and I wasn’t prepared to do that. I found the Immigration Consultant program and thought it was a wonderful opportunity to go back to be what I was in Mexico, specializing in the area of immigration.

Although setting up my own business was a little frightening at the beginning, I am really passionate about that I’m doing right now. It’s very rewarding when you can help people stay here in Canada, and on top of that I can practice part of the law. Whenever I have a hard case, I enjoy it even more because I need to really investigate and try to see how to apply the law to my client. My job is very rewarding and I love it. I love what I do.

I still use the skills I learned on the IMCD program every day. When you’re taking the program, you get to know the obligations as an immigration consultant so you feel confident when you take over cases. I had wonderful instructors that gave us great tools to be able to practice in the real world. Sometimes I use my notes and refer back to what I learned at Ashton.

I had a three year old son and was working full-time throughout the program. It was tough at times but I enjoyed the program and meeting my classmates in the evenings. The program was only 6 months and is incredibly organized. In 6 months, Ashton gave me the tools and knowledge I needed to be able to start as an immigration consultant.

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