Stepwest Stories – Ivana from Montenegro and her Study & Work Experience in Vancouver
We are really happy to present the story of Ivana from Montenegro, this month’s Stepwest Star, who is the perfect proof that even if you don’t belong to the ‘lucky’ 32 countries under the International Experience (IEC) Agreement with Canada that allow you to obtain a Working Holiday permit, you can still experience this amazing country. You can gain international work experience in Vancouver and take part in a great study program at a Canadian College taking Business or Hospitality!
This has been the case for Ivana, a Journalism and Political Science graduate from the University of Montenegro, who after her first international work and travel experience in the USA, wanted to see more of the world and experience another culture somewhere far away from home! After she came across the option of Study & Work Programs in Vancouver, Canada through her agency in Montenegro, she did not hesitate and took the opportunity!
“I wanted to travel abroad again, but not only to study. Working was a must for me when it came to choosing my destination country. You get a completely different experience when you are able to work during your trip abroad. It will give you better insight into the local life and culture of the city you are traveling to, and it helps to pay off your expenses”
After the initial application process with her home agency, some months later, she made it here! Even though it took some time, she confirms “The pre arrival preparation and visa processing was easy for me because I had full support from my home agency and Stepwest.”
We cannot believe that it has already been 6 months since we greeted her at our office. Ivana finished the study period of her Business Essentials Program, started her Work experience and she has been fully immersed in the Downtown Vancouver lifestyle ever since. As she says, even though the first few weeks were challenging, adapting to a new country and environment, she felt a little bit overwhelmed by the size of the city, but now it is a whole different story: “I realized that Vancouver is not as big as it seems (…) I think it is beautiful, and I was really looking forward to summer! … I like the healthy lifestyle here; it is all about being “green”…a lot of hiking, biking and yoga. You have the feeling of living in the city, but more quiet, clean and safer than New York City.”
When we asked her about the studies she confirmed that the study component of the program by itself wasn’t hard, but in combination with work in the hospitality industry, it was challenging but rewarding at the same time: “If you want to live the Vancouver life, you have to be prepared to work.”
Ivana now lives downtown with her friends from Mexico and Korea, who she met in College during her studies. She made many friends from different corners of the world along the way. This experience “really gave me opportunity to accept differences and to be more open with all kinds of people. I have never met so many people from different nationalities in my life!”
We also wanted to know whether this experience will be valuable for her future and here is what she has to say: “It will help me for sure! First of all languages – I became more confident in my ability to speak English (…) and even Spanish and Italian!” More importantly:
“I’m more open to meet new people and I really learned a lot about myself. I now know that I can go further if I want to and I believe everyone should do the same. If you feel that you want to go somewhere, experience more than the comfort of your own home and if you want to challenge yourself, then just do it!”
The same day we met Ivana for interview, she was really excited about the news she just received! She was hired by a well-renowned airline and after her time in Vancouver, she will be moving all the way to Dubai to start a new adventure. She was interviewed for the job in Vancouver and after a few months, she just got this amazing news. Sad to leave Canada, but excited that this experience may have helped her land this job opportunity! “During my job interview I was asked if I had any international work experience, so being able to answer yes and explain everything about my experience here in Canada and the USA, was great help during my interview!”
Would you like to take part in a similar adventure and live in one of the greatest cities in Canada? Did your country run out of the Working Holiday visas or is your country not amongst the 34 International Experience Canada coutires? If so, then participate in our Business Essentials Program or College & Internship in Hospitality Management Program and take the opportunity to gain professional work experience in Canada! Get to know more about the program and other Stepwest Stories, like Martin from Czech Republic, Silvia from Mexico or Charlotte from Germany
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