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Meet Clara | Student of the Month

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Eleven years away from home and still fighting every day in the pursuit of the Canadian dream... What a warrior!! Meet Clara, a former international student in Vancouver who left her home years ago to pursue a better life.

As you probably imagine, actually managing to immigrate to, well, any country is hard! It requires time, unbelievable effort, mountains of paperwork and tons and tons of patience (like, you have no idea how much patience you need to endure the whole immigration process). However, Canada is famous for being the most immigrant-friendly country! Although that doesn’t mean it’s easy to immigrate here, it just means that it is not as complex as other countries. It’s still a challenging process to go through. Unfortunately for some, like in Clara’s case, the country you are from may play a crucial factor in this process.

Originally from Brazil, Clara had to deal with the difficult decision to leave everything behind and start over with one simple goal: having a better quality of life.

Clara has a Bachelor’s in Physical education. Although she worked in her field for a little bit back in Brazil, she knew from the beginning that staying there wasn’t an option. Brazil simply didn’t offer her the quality of life and security she was looking for... so back to square one.

Her whole journey started with the desire to study in the US, you know, to pursue “the American dream.” However, after receiving an unexpected job offer to work on a cruise ship, Clara decided to go in a different direction, placing her faith under what ended up being false promises. You know how this is, whenever a salesperson oversells something to you, and you buy whatever they sold.

Anyways, that happened to her. When offered the opportunity to work on a cruise ship, they painted a different picture than what she actually got.

She joined her first cruise ship job completely broke, as she spent her resources in being able to join that crew, so there was no turning back! She had to make this work!! To make things worse, she didn’t know that much English! So her hard work needed to show what her words couldn’t. She realized then that whatever she thought she knew of the English language from her basic education was not useful at all. She needed to learn on her own, and hey... it worked! After 8 years of working in the cruise ship industry, Clara spoke English and Spanish and even understood Italian and French. #likeaboss

A lasting 8 years long career that started with a spa position. She didn’t expect to achieve much, but she learned how to speak multiple languages, which gave her the opportunity to work for what many would call their “dream company,”; Disney. That job marked the beginning of the end of the cruise ship journey in Clara’s life, when the last cruise she worked for stopped in the city that today she calls home; Vancouver.

When she first arrived in 2019, she came only as a tourist for a couple of weeks. She had the opportunity to meet with friends from Brazil who happened to be living here already. They were the ones who placed the idea of pursuing the Canadian Dream in Clara’s head. They started talking about how easy it would be for her to immigrate and get the PR. She would only need to take a short course or program that would buy her some time to spend here while going through the PR process...Big mistake.

Without looking deep into it, Clara took her friends’ word she enrolled in the first school she knew offered a short program for a lowprice. She then came to Vancouver again to start studying at SELC College, a 4-month program in which she could study for 2 months and then work for 2 months. However, that wasn’t that important for Clara. She just needed 4 months to apply for the PR.

When arriving as a student, Clara did in 4 days what some people take months to do... She managed to land a job faster than what Amazon takes to deliver that package you want! Shearrived on a Friday, and she had the job offer inher hand by Tuesday! #MindBlown. Credit to Clara’s friends in this case, as they were the ones who helped her get settled and ready to work in just a couple of days.

*Note: That, right there ☝️, is the perfect example of the advantages of knowing what to do as soon as you arrive. Check out our Just Landed article, it will help you out ;)

Ultimately, those couple of weeks that Clara spent in Vancouver before even coming to study were crucial in her journey. In that short time, she researched: what she needed to do to apply for the study permit, the format for her resume to adjust to Canadian standards, how to move around the city, where to do groceries, and more. It was time well spent, and it helped her and rewarded her with a job in just 4 days.

To Clara’s surprise, and despite having such a firm landing in Vancouver, Clara realized she had made a big mistake, which was not double-checking if the information her friends gave her was accurate or not... Sadly, it was not. Don’t get us wrong, her friends had the right intention in helping her; they were not immigration professionals and, therefore, couldn’t be sure if the path they ideated for Clara was accurate. Unfortunately, Clara needed way more time than just 4 months to have enough points to apply for the PR.

It was there at that moment that Clara realized two things. The same two things that she now considers her 2 Golden Rules for anyone interested in immigrating to Canada to follow:

  • Do your homework! Do your research about the immigration process you would need to follow to be able to immigrate here. Even if you are not interested in that at the beginning! It is worth it for you to have an idea about it because if the time comes that you change your mind and you do want to live in Vancouver, you would be ready. Then it would be easier for you to know what to do.

  • Find an honest immigration consultant. That could be a lifesaver. You will probably hear a million stories from different people during your time here, and they will all try to explain how you should immigrate. “You should do this”, “I have a cousin that did this other thing”, “You should do that. It worked for the brother of my second cousin who came 10 years ago to Vancouver.” or something similar to that... Regardless, it is always a good idea for you to find a GOOD immigration consultant and ask for their help. Everyone is different, with different stories, backgrounds, skills, etc. All of this matters for immigration, so there is no “one size fits all” kind of formula for actually getting a PR. Do your research! Inform yourself, contact a consultant you can trust as many of them are just in this for the money and don’t really care about you! And then, and only then, plan your path towards immigration and start executing!

Once these two rules came to Clara’s mind, it was all clear from there. She set herself a solid plan. She found the proper immigration consultant, and she bought herself even more time by switching to a 2-year long program, a that would allow her to stay in Vancouver long enough to figure out the best way to apply for the PR. She agreed with herself that she would need to continue to do a great job, no matter where she was, to get an offer of sponsorship from an employer. That wouldn’t stop until she got one... She planned everything, visualized it, and once she had a clear vision, she aimed at it non-stop!

Of course, this doesn’t mean things were easier from there, hell no! On the contrary, she needed to put more effort than everybody else! She needed to work more hours and be exceptional at everything she did as she couldn’t lose her student status. She needed to stand out from everybody else at her work to be an essential part of the team. It was a race against time and a race against herself, to the point where Clara’s process was no longer about her professionalprofile but about her willpower!

And boy! There were many points in her journey where she thought she couldn’t handle it anymore. It’s not an easy process. Life is a steep hill that is also constantly throwing things at you. It’s a tiring process, and there are plenty of moments in which you just want to give up. Clara needed to work extra hours, spend time travelling here and there for her work, and limit herself when it came to spending. She needed to save money for her PR application, rent, expenses, immigration consultant, and slowly pay the debt she acquired to pay for 1 more year of studying. She sacrificed the “today” for the vision of having a better tomorrow, and man! Not everyone dares to do that!

Clara’s journey is worthy of admiration, no less than that, although unfortunately, it’s not over yet. Today, Clara is waiting for a response on her PR application. She managed to apply to the PR without even needing to be sponsored by an employer, as she committed herself to do. She has been waiting for a while, and she has no clue how much more she will need to wait. In the meantime, she is just hanging in there, planning her next step to be able to stay in Canada while still waiting for her PR response.

While that happens, we can not do much more than to wish her the best, to have our fingers crossed and wait along Clara for her PR’sresponse, hoping it arrives in her life as positive news. Best of luck, Clara!!

Sincerely, The Thrivve Team.

P.S. One more extra rule the Thrivve family got from talking to Clara... If you are just curious about living abroad, and that’s why you want to study in Vancouver, for example, consider first coming to study for a month or two. It could be something as simple as coming for an English program or a short certification that you areinterested in. Doing so might save you a lot of time, money, and resources and will prevent you from multiple headaches. You have no idea have many people blindly commit to a 1 or 2-year program in this city without really knowing if they will like either of them! As a result, by the 3rd or 4th month that they have been here, they are already regretting their decision. So please take your time to actu- ally think if this journey is for you 😉.

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