Ruchi Pithadia pursued her higher education from Canada. She has done two courses in this country – first one is International Business Management from Fanshawe College, London, Ontario and the second course is Public Relations & Corporate Communications from Seneca College, Toronto. Currently she is on her work permit as she completed her studies in the year 2019. She has been in Canada for almost three and a half years now.

The start of Ruchi’s academic journey:

The first thought that comes to Ruchi’s mind when she describes her feeling of the start of her Canada journey is “different and intense”. Initially it was difficult for her to settle in a completely new place without family and friends. She missed by parents, relatives and friends during various festivals. She had been homesick for a couple of times as well. According to her, gradually things become better as you meet new people, make friends and establish such strong bonds with them that they become like your family. In so many years, Canada has become her home away from home.

Difference between Indian & Canadian academic course structure:

According to Ruchi, Indian courses are theory heavy whereas Canadian course structure is a mix of theoretical and practical exposure. The courses there are a lot more assignment based. They score you as per various assignments on the subjects that you have opted for. For instance, during pursuing her Public Relations course, she had to arrange for press conferences within her campus where she coordinated with journalism students and broadcasting students, checked with college management and booked venue for conferences, sent media invite to journalist students, etc.

This step-by-step approach of learning helped her understand how it is done in the real world. Today, if she has to organize for press conference, she can easily implement all her learnings and do it without much hassle as she has hands-on experience for the same.

Changes due to pandemic:

The outbreak of pandemic has changed the way things used to be during Ruchi’s college days. Students have shifted to a complete online module. The digital world has become the new way of life. During her time, students were allowed to do part-time job for 20 hours per week. Now as classes have shifted online, students can work extra hours which help them earn extra bucks.

A lot of part-time job opportunities are not available as restaurants, shops, coffee joints had to shut down due to the pandemic. But the Canadian government has been extremely supportive throughout the lockdown phase. The government gave certain amount per month to students who applied for it. There were no particular criteria or rule for receiving this grant. This helped many international students survive the challenging times.

A major challenge imposed on Ruchi by the pandemic is finding the right job for herself. The pandemic has impacted the job prospects majorly. She has been continuing her part-time job currently and is focused on securing a full-time job in her field. The market is gradually opening up but is still expected to take some time to be back on track.

Top institutes in Toronto recommended by Ruchi for Communication courses:
  • Seneca College
  • Humber College
  • Centennial College
  • George Brown College
Things to keep in mind while applying for a part-time job:

One of the challenges that many international students face in terms of part-time jobs is that they apply in multiple places but don’t get a response from the organizations. Getting a job will also depend on a student’s availability. For instance, Ruchi was not available either during the day or in the evenings as she had to attend her classes. She used to work at Tim Hortons and had an early morning shift which started at 4:45 AM.

Now since, a lot the classes are online, students should be flexible to work during any time of the day but at the same time they should prioritize their studies. Places that one can explore for their part-time jobs are Walmart, Tim Hortons, Subway, Pizza Pizza, McDonald’s, Harvey’s, Shoppers Drug Mart, etc. One of the first things that these part-time job hirers ask is your available timeslots. You need to specify your available hours based on which they will offer you a job.

Festivals for Ruchi:

Ruchi prefers staying indoors to celebrate festivals with her close friends. Post pandemic things have changed to a great extent. In Canada, the gathering limit is only 5 people at one point of time. A fine of 850 CA$ will charged per person if there are more than 5 people indoors. This has not impacted Ruchi as she usually does not step out for celebrations.

Ruchi’s immediate plans:

She is looking for a suitable job for herself. She also plans to visit India as she has not been here since 2017. She will gather necessary experience with the help of her work permit and then apply for Permanent Residency. As soon as the health concerns are brought under control and travel restrictions are suspended, Ruchi will visit her parents and friends in India and will spend some quality time with them.

Piece of advice for all students who aspire to be where Ruchi is today:

Have a clear goal in your mind. You have to focus on your studies as you need to secure good grades because that will help you achieve your goal. You need to make good connections with faculty members and peers. The references that you will get from your professors will help you get a good job in this country. Prepare a checklist of all the important things that will assist you to achieve your aspirations. Stay focused and tick the boxes as and when you complete them. When you travel to a new country for your higher education, constantly be in touch with your course coordinator. Course coordinators help you during your initial days in the country and assist you if you face any difficulties.

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