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Meet Mauricio | Student of the Month

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Discover his journey to becoming an actor in Vancouver.

They say that stories should have certain elements to be considered good stories, such as comebacks, broken hearts, and second chances… well, by that definition, Marucio’s journey is definitely a good story.

Becoming an international student is a choice made only by the brave, as leaving your home and all the comforts you have in your life to venture into the unknown is no easy task. Despite that, people still embark on this journey in which people usually end up outgrowing themselves, no matter the outcome…and that’s exactly what happened to Mauricio!

Born and raised in Mexico City, Mauricio Romero’s passion for acting and theatre led him to have what many people would consider a successful life as an actor. Especially since it’s a really tough place to make a living working in art-related jobs, even though Mexico City is a great place for the arts & entertainment industry.

Mauricio’s perseverance granted him a well-deserved lifestyle, but he always felt that something was missing. This made him and a close friend look elsewhere for opportunities that a country like Mexico does not offer. For example, financial stability, security, great infrastructure, and fairly paid job opportunities, just to name a few. Looking for different options. Mauricio stumbled upon Vancouver, a city that offered many of the things he was looking for. These included a strong film industry and performing arts activity, a rich and diverse environment, and most importantly, decent weather (Yes, that was, of course, a priority!)

His destination was decided, great! But he was still missing one of the trickiest parts, finding the right school. Asking help from a study and travel agency, Mauricio found a 1 year of study + 1 year of working program at New Image College, one of the most recognized institutions for acting and make-up, including special effects make-up in Vancouver.

The day finally came, Mauricio left Mexico City and arrived in Vancouver and at NIC where his first weeks were, well, really rough! So much so that he actually described it as the “toughest experience of his life”. And there were a couple of reasons for him to say that! Reasons that plenty of Thrivver’s have actually experienced:

  • Miscommunication from his agency: “You know, before coming to Vancouver, I already had a professional acting career. Like, I didn't have a proper diploma or anything cause in Mexico, it's more like… drop-in classes, but I already had all this experience, and then, well, NIC happens. And I thought to myself “well, I am finally going to be in this full-time program and get a diploma”, and yes, it is that, but I wasn't counting that it is too focused on beginners. Like, it is too focused on the very basics, which is great for sure! but for people who are just starting So the school was amazing, yes, but it was just the fact that I had just left everything behind to come to study things that I already knew, and of course, I had one of those “what am I doing with my life” moments. So, If I knew this program was like this from the beginning I would have probably chosen a different one, it just was not the right fit for me.

  • Life outside of school | Working as a busboy:Before you come here, you have this idea, I would work on whatever I can find, I can be a server, I can be a barista, it’s going to be amazing. But ummm… it's not that amazing. It’s just not that easy. Back then, I started working as a server in Cactus Club, and it was so much more demanding than I thought. Here they have such high standards even for server positions. And, by the end of the day, I was exhausted! Mentally and physically. I literally went out of work and felt like I was 70 years old!” (Psst! He was only 28 at the time!)

These experiences resulted in… a life crisis!! Yes, a crisis that many students go through. By that time, the “what am I doing with my life question” was getting bigger and bigger in Mauricio’s head. He left a comfy lifestyle, abandoned everything he had to come to study a program that was not up to his expectations (that’s the heartbreak) and, on top of it all, he was working a job that he didn’t want just to barely make enough to cover his expenses. So, of course, there was just one thing he could do.

After 8 Months of living in Vancouver, he decided that was it. Enough of the “Canadian dream”! He packed his things and went back to Mexico, expecting to never see Vancouver ever again, or so he thought. Now, what happened next, you can call it mere coincidence or divine intervention. Just a few months after his return to Mexico, Mauricio received a call from a friend in Vancouver asking him to come back. He wanted him to have closure. Funny enough, Mauricio agreed to do so. He had left Vancouver so fast that part of him thought that coming back to say goodbye would put an end to that chapter of his life. But it didn’t.

“Coming back, I started realizing all the positives about Vancouver. This city is beautiful, and it was the first time I realized it! It is super calm, among other things. So, I decided to give this city a second chance.” “I set myself a deadline and I said, ok if I can’t find another job in 2 weeks, then I’ll go back to Mexico.” Maybe Mauricio spent just enough time apart from Vancouver that it allowed him to, for the first time, enjoy this city. “So I found myself a new agent, because the one I had before leaving Vancouver already had another actor with a similar profile to mine, and this person started sending me to auditions immediately, and, I got booked like in the 2nd audition I did, and I was like - hmmm, is this a sign? - And well, that’s when I decided I needed to change my mentality, that if I wanted to be in a first-world country, I needed to overcome some of the bad times. From there, I don’t know, everything started to snowball. Besides my acting gigs, I also found a better job than I had before. Still as a server, but in a more relaxed environment and I was making more money as well. And, well, with it came a streak of one booked commercial after another. I did like 3 in a row! So I took that as a sign as well and decided to quit the server job, and from there, I have been working constantly, to be honest.”

After this, Mauricio experienced what every one of us did back in 2019… COVID! After weighing his options, he decided to stay in Canada.

“The government was giving financial support for people to put up against the pandemic, and I was like, - Well, this would never, like EVER, happen in Mexico - and that was it for me, I decided that was the kind of thing that makes this whole process worth it. From there, the rest was history. As soon as the film industry restarted operations, I continued working in commercials and booking even more complex roles, like for series and stuff. I managed to get my PR, thankfully, and I even joined NIC as part of the faculty, teaching theatre to new students. I’ve been there for a little over a year now, and I love it. Right now I’m at a point in my life in which I’m cool, I really like the life that I’m building here”.

We then asked Mauricio what would be 3 tips he would give to other international students. Here’s a summary of what he said:

“Don’t underestimate the weather! You hear before arriving in Vancouver that it rains a lot, but like, you have no idea. When I arrived here there was a period of, I think, 21 days of rain non-stop! And I was like - what the hell is this - and, that thing they call seasonal depression well, it’s real! So one tip for me would be to really really mentally prepare for rain and cloudy days because they will affect you for sure.”
“Be mentally prepared for how expensive it is! Once you arrive you are like “whhhhhaaat!?” But like, you get used to it once you know how much you can earn here as well. Just, avoid, converting everything in your head into your country's currency. It is not fun to do that”
“Be aware it’s not gonna be easy! Because every change, especially big changes like this, they are hard, and we don't realize that. But if you really wanna stay here, I mean if you REALLY wanna pursue the idea of staying in Canada, then… just be patient. Be patient and adapt. Sometimes it might feel like everything is horrible, I mean, it happened to me, but after all that and going through all the bad, you start seeing the good and how it’s worth it.”

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