After her first year of university, she moved to Japan as a homestay student. For eight months, the British Columbia native lived with a Japanese family in Tokyo and immersed herself in a new culture.
“It was very challenging and fun,” says Terri. “I realized then that I wanted to study history of art and architecture and that I loved traveling.”
That early experience kicked off a passion for adventure that has taken her all over the world, and most recently to Copenhagen, Denmark. TalentEgg had the opportunity to connect with the seasoned traveller and learn all about her Scandinavian adventure – read on!
Following a series of academic and career-related moves that took her from Asia to Europe and back again, Terri settled in London, England with her husband for several years working as architects. However, when her partner was offered a PhD position in Copenhagen, it inspired Terri to follow suit.
“The design culture [in Denmark] makes it an ideal place to study architecture,” says Terri.
The couple visited Copenhagen a lot during their time in London (one of Terri’s best friends is Danish!) and thought that the city would strike a good balance between challenging and interesting work, and time and space for when they were ready to start a family.
And so, after doing some more research, they decided to relocate. The next step? Finding accommodations. Luckily, the couple easily found a spacious apartment to rent in the beautiful neighbourhood of Frederiksberg.
“We paid about the same as we did in London, but it was a huge shock that we got more than double the size!” says Terri. They were also able to trade in their long London trek to work for a more reasonable commute via bike.
After they settled on a place to stay, all that was left to do was to pack up their London apartment and make the big move to Denmark.
While Denmark and England are relatively close to each other on a map, their cultures are worlds apart! Terri had a fair amount of travel experience under her belt by the time they moved, but she still had a lot to learn about Danish life.
“Copenhagen is totally different from London,” says Terri. “The size, the layout, the people, the buildings, the language, everything is different.”
Fortunately, her coursework was pretty similar to what she was used to. For example, she says the emphasis on independent study was exactly what she expected from a PhD program.
All in all, despite a few language barriers (certain classes were only offered in Danish), Terri says her decision to study abroad was the best she ever made. She excelled in her program and was even offered a job before graduation!
Even though Terri is no longer in Denmark, there’s still a little bit of Denmark in Terri.
For example, when she moved back to Canada, she didn’t buy a car. Instead, Terri and her husband continue to bike and walk everywhere. Additionally, the couple just painted the floors of their house white, a feature she cites as being inspired by Denmark’s unique design culture. Lastly, their time abroad also taught them how to shop locally. Today, they forgo cheap and trendy purchases in favour of quality items that are designed to last.
“I learned a different attitude to family and work-life balance,” says Terri. “These small things have made a huge impact on our quality of life.
The Denmark chapter of her life may be closed for now, but her experiences have left a long-lasting impression on almost every aspect of her life. Terri’s time abroad changed her life for the better; helping her grow not only as a professional, but as a person.
Queen’s University grad programs are designed to equip students with the theoretical and applied knowledge they need in the workplace. With the support of their academic supervisors and peers, grad students sharpen their skills and delve deeper than ever before into their chosen subject of study.
TalentEgg connected with four successful graduate alumni from Queen’s University who all agree that their graduate program experiences played a huge role in their career success.
As an undergrad, Melanie Hall aspired to become a professional scientist. After completing her Bachelor’s degree at Queen’s University, she knew she would need further education to achieve her goal, so she enrolled in the Astrophysics program and began working towards her Master’s Degree.
Melanie had always enjoyed research, so her program was a great fit for her. She loved data analysis and travelling to different observatories. Each day, she worked closely with her professors and peers to further her academic knowledge of this field. However, as she continued her studies, she discovered a new aspect that she wanted to integrate into her career.
“During my grad studies, I worked in the Queen’s University observatory, and I ran the programming there for 2 years,” she says. “We had schools in for field trips, public evenings… it was fantastic. It really gave me the spark to pursue this new career opportunity.”
“Grad school is different from your undergrad because you have more freedom in your day- to-day. Be sure to try new things, such as professional development workshops and extracurriculars!”Melanie Hall, Alumni, Queen’s University School of Graduate Studies
Melanie’s newfound passion for working with the public inspired her to move off the beaten path. After completing her Master’s Degree, she was hired for a position at the TELUS Spark science centre in Calgary. In her new role, she oversees public programs and workshops for both children and adults, and manages a creative team developing opportunities for visitors to engage with science content.
“I was looking for a new challenge,” says Melanie. “I was ready to get some creative control and I was ready to manage a team.”
Transitioning into the managerial role was a challenge at first, since there was a lot to learn about the organization and their procedures. However, Melanie’s practical experiences working at Queen’s University’s observatory provided her with the skills she needed to land the job she wanted.
“In grad school, your relationship with your peers and professors is much richer compared to your undergrad experience,” says Melanie. “They offer career advice and they know you individually – and that’s a huge benefit.”
Melanie is excited about what the future has to bring. The guidance and exposure she received at Queen’s University helped her find a field she is truly passionate about. “It’s so exciting to be a part of it!” says Melanie.
During her undergrad, Carolina Venditti had the opportunity to work with a supervisor on a research project. That experience motivated her to pursue a graduate research program at Queen’s University in Biomedical and Molecular Sciences.
“I had a fourth year class where professors came in to talk about their research,” says Carolina. “I was interested to see how different projects came together from a molecular point of view all the way to a clinical point of view.”
In her program, Carolina did translational research ranging from molecular and animal experiments to clinical studies. She learned many different study methodologies and was given the opportunity by her supervisor to present her research at conferences and write her own publications.
These experiences all contributed to Carolina’s career success after graduation. After she completed her degree, she landed an amazing job as a Scientific and Regulatory Consultant for Intertek’s Scientific and Regulatory Consultancy. Her day-to-day work involves critically evaluating research on new food–health associations, and identifying whether the research can substantiate novel health claims for her clients.
“I love that I’m putting my research background and critical thinking skills to work in a new area,” says Carolina. “It’s a role that’s exciting and always changing. There’s always new studies and work to be done.”
One of the best parts of Carolina’s grad school experience was how it opened up her career options. Before her research-study program, she thought she would end up becoming a nurse or a medical doctor. But through working with the faculty, she discovered she had a wide variety of careers to choose from – some she didn’t even know existed!
“When I first enrolled in grad studies, I thought the department name was the most important part. In fact, the research and how well you get along with your supervisor is the most important – it’s a huge factor in your research project experience.”Carolina Venditti, Queen’s University SGS Alumna
“When you get a PhD, it opens doors for you,” says Carolina. “I’m happy because my program gave me a broad academic background and helped me apply it to a unique role… the knowledge and expertise I gained from this program helped me get this job.”
As a Health Science major, Maaike Hum developed a keen interest in clinical trials. Once she completed her degree, she knew she wanted to take her education to the next level, so she began working towards her Master’s Degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology at Queen’s University.
“At Queen’s, I primarily worked in the pre-clinical area of my field,” says Maaike. “I had to do protocol development and project management and I was given a lot of independence… I was fortunate to have a supervisor that let me take ideas and run with them.”
This independent work played a huge factor in Maaike’s professional development and her later career success. After graduating, she secured an exciting position as a Study Coordinator at the Canadian Cancer Trials Group in Kingston. In her role, she helps facilitate the day-to-day management of their clinical trials. Her extensive academic knowledge in the field made her a perfect fit for the role, and she’s thrilled for what this opportunity will bring her down the road.
“I’m grateful to have found something that’s such a good fit for me,” says Maaike. “I think it’s really exciting to be bringing new options to cancer patients. There’s so much going on in terms of new drug development… hopefully they can help patients extend their lives or improve their quality of life.”
Maaike says that her studies at Queen’s gave her the ability to disseminate knowledge – a skill that has proven incredibly useful in her line of work. Her ability to communicate in-depth lab research to clients and co-workers has made her even more valuable as a clinical research professional.
“Not everyone I work with has the same background as me, so being able to explain concepts and ask the right questions is very important,” she says.
Now that graduate school is behind her, Maaike is glad she picked a field of research she was passionate about. She encourages new grad students to do the same, and to enjoy their time at Queen’s.
“I think I was lucky because I was able to study at Queen’s,” she says. “There’s a good work atmosphere and I was very fortunate to be working with people who I now consider friends.”
Like many new graduates, Wei Cui was looking for a challenge. After completing her undergraduate degree in China in Chemical Engineering, she decided she wanted to take her academic studies to the next level.
After researching a number of universities, Wei decided to enroll in the Chemical Engineering program at Queen’s University. Since she had a great aptitude for math and models, she felt it was a great fit and was excited to tackle her thesis.
“As an undergrad, I felt like I needed more education and time to mature as a professional,” says Wei. “My studies at Queen’s helped me improve my skills and knowledge before settling down in an industry job.”
Wei’s thesis project was in conjunction with a company in the chemical engineering industry. Her work consisted of building complex mathematical models, solving problems, and predicting results. While it was a lot of hard work, Wei says her studies were always challenging and exciting.
“I loved how it was directly related to my industry,” says Wei. “It wasn’t just a lab where students collected data – you could see the results of your work.”
Today, Wei holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering. She currently works as a Process Control Engineer at Shell, where she helps to maintain the refinery processes for petroleum-based products. Her day-to-day role consists of troubleshooting daily issues with her team – a skill she developed considerably during her time in grad school.
“My favourite part about my new job is it’s really cool and exciting,” says Wei. “We’re facing real issues every day… we’ll take action and implement solutions and at the end of the day, I feel a sense of achievement.”
Wei’s advanced engineering experience at Queen’s University played a huge role in her career success. Her knowledge has been a huge asset to her team and she’s eager to see what the future will bring.
“Everything I learned at school is helping me in the real world,” says Wei. “Now I’m part of a big family and a great community!”
Hailing from Saskatoon, Thirza is a self-employed filmmaker of Plains Cree and Scottish descent. Although she is based in Toronto, her films have screened at festivals internationally, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, ImagineNATIVE in Toronto, and the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival in Germany.
TalentEgg caught up with Thirza to learn a little bit more about her journey as an independent filmmaker working in the Aboriginal community and gain insight into what it takes to succeed in the field.
Read on to learn what she had to say!
Thirza: “I first became interested as a teen. There was a queer film festival in Saskatoon that did a weekend workshop in making short videos. I made a video called ‘Lessons In Baby Dyke Theory,’ and it ended up being screened at queer festivals all over the world. So I have been making shorts ever since. That was in 1995.”
Thirza: “I think just the fact that it is something I love to do made me decide to pursue it. I love all aspects, from conceiving an idea to production to post. There is something about each stage of making a film that keeps me engaged.”
Thirza: “When I first started out, I got a lot of support from other Aboriginal filmmakers like Dana Claxton and Loretta Todd. Actually, I have found most Aboriginal filmmakers to be supportive of each other, but particularly other women filmmakers.”
Thirza: “I think often not being funded enough has been a challenge. So far, I have dealt with it by self-funding a lot of my shorts. It sounds impressive to say I made my money back on almost all of them, until I tell you the budget for most of them was a hundred dollars or so!”
Thirza: “I think writing the screenplay for my feature Macîskotêw (which means Evil Fire [in Cree]) in grad school was my biggest success so far, only because it’s such a large project that means so much to me. I’m hoping to find a producer and funding in the next while.”
Thirza: “I think it’s because it’s the community I come from. Like a lot of Aboriginal kids, I grew up with poor representation in the media, and I’ve always felt that creating deeper depictions of my family and community is important. Not necessarily only “positive” images, but more nuanced and believable images.”
Thirza: “I made a feature documentary about my family’s history called Homelands – it involved interviews with my Cree Grandpa and my Scots Grandma and a trip around our family’s homelands here in Canada and the States and over in Scotland. By doing that doc, I learned about the migratory routes of the Crees from Siberia down through the Rockies and across Canada. There’s a lot of debate about how we got here, and people don’t like the Siberia theory [the Bering Strait theory], but my Grandpa told me about the similarities between ourselves and the people in Siberia.
I’ve also made a short called 2 Spirit Introductory Special $19.99, which is a faux infomercial about a support line for Two Spirit people. I think a lot of work made about that particular segment of the Aboriginal community (LGBT Aboriginal people) has been quite sad, so it was nice to do a comedy.”
Thirza: “Yes! It may not always be the most well-paying job, but having the skills and tools to tell a story through film is empowering. There are also a lot of jobs which you can apply your skills to when you’re not working on your own projects.”
Thirza: “Go to school, if you can, and go to workshops. If you can’t do a post-secondary program in film, you can still pick up a lot of skills through workshops at Artist Run production centres like Charles Street Video here in Toronto or VIVO in Vancouver.”
Thirza: “Get trained in public speaking because you will have to present your work to classes and festivals, and it’s good to know enough concepts around your work to talk about.”
Thirza: “I think the incredible talent within our community is amazing. I can just go on my Facebook and see so many skilled dancers, actors, singers and musicians, and of course filmmakers, academics, writers. We really are lucky.”
A Transition Year Program (TYP) is a great option for Aboriginal students who need a little extra support as they bridge their way into a desired degree program. This full-time academic year program is for individuals who do not meet the traditional requirements for university admission, but still wish to obtain a university degree.
With access to cultural activities, spiritual guidance, and academic counselling, TYPs are an ideal way to explore your potential and begin your post-secondary journey without barriers!
Here’s what you need to know about your TYP:
A Transition Year Program (TYP) will allow you to immerse yourself in the university experience and figure out what faculty route you’d like to pursue in the future. Plus, it provides you with a strong community of support when facing the challenge of moving to a new (and sometimes new and urban) environment.
First and foremost, you’re faced with an important decision: which Public Post-Education Institution (PPSI) should you choose? It’s a school you’ll be attending for a few years, so you want to be confident in your choice for a productive and meaningful university experience. Some questions to think about:
Transition Year Program (TYP) faculty staff include Aboriginal Academic Advisors and TYP Coordinators who are readily available to answer such questions and guide you through the application process. You can find these contacts on your institution’s TYP webpage.
If you are a Status student, you may have already met your Post-Secondary Counsellor (PSC). PSC and Transition Advisors are important contacts to help you achieve your academic objectives, long-term career goals, and navigate you through your studies, so get to know them well!
Once you’ve narrowed down your PPSI choices, think about taking a campus tour, where you can check out the Aboriginal Student Centre and the organized cultural activities. This will help you get a feel of your potential academic learning grounds.
A Transition Year Program (TYP) is designed to ease you into the expectations and learning style of university, while obtaining the credits required for your program. The academic year-long program typically includes first-year introductory courses that provide a foundation on a range of topics such as Academic Writing, English, and Indigenous Studies. Depending on the institution, the TYP program may include tutorials and workshops to encourage you to work in study groups, gain self-confidence, and build productive study habits.
If you aren’t quite sure what career path you want to take, that’s completely OK. The introductory courses of your TYP allow you to try out courses from different faculties where you can discover interests and talents you never knew you had!
For students with First Nation status and registered Métis Nation students, check with your band or agency for sponsorship information. You should ask what documents and forms are required to get funding and what living expenses are covered. Be sure to apply early, as most bands and agencies require a couple months’ notice prior to registration. First Nation and eligible Inuit students can look into the Post-Secondary Student Support Program as well.
If you don’t qualify for funding or would like additional financial aid, there are many scholarships, bursaries and awards for Aboriginal students offered at your PPSI, as well as a number of government agencies. Scholarships are generally awarded based on academic merit, and bursaries on financial need. The specific institution should have a form to complete for a number of awards and scholarships. Talk with your PSC for more information on school-specific awards that you are eligible to apply for!
The Government of Canada has a repository of over 700 bursaries across Canada for Aboriginal students.
PPSIs across Canada typically have flexible academic criteria and provide a step-by-step guide to applying to their specific TYP. Generally, you’ll need to fill out an application form providing personal details, proof of your Aboriginal status, and provide 2-3 references (i.e. past teachers or employers). You will also need to provide official academic transcripts from past educational institutes you’ve attended, and some PPSIs require a Letter of Intent – a simple essay explaining why you want to join the program. Take a look at your PPSI’s admissions page for further exclusive admission details.
If this seems a little overwhelming, don’t fret – you are not alone! Remember, your PSC or TYP Coordinator are available to take you step-by-step through the whole application process and address any of your emotional, social and academic needs.
If you are leaving your home community for the first time, this exciting transition may feel a bit uncomfortable at first. Your Aboriginal Student Centre is an on-campus inclusive gathering space that encourages empowerment and identity and provides spiritual and cultural activities to stay connected with your Aboriginal peers and the local community. You will meet other Aboriginal students and create a solid support network for years to come. From creative traditional crafting, pipe ceremonies, to Elder services, check out what your PPSI’s Aboriginal Student Centre has to offer!
FYI: Off campus, you can find Friendship Centres in most urban cities across Canada that bring Indigenous people from all nations together to share food, meet local Elders, and participate in cultural activities.
So, are you ready for an educational journey of a lifetime? Stay strong, stay connected to your community, and most importantly, have fun!
Your PSC is your ultimate resource for application guidance. They will answer any questions you have about the registration process, help you narrow down program choices, and offer you emotional and academic support. The PPSI that you are applying to will have a list of aboriginal contacts on their website available to you, so you can get in touch with your PSC or a Transition Coordinator before you apply to see what kind of resources and guidance they can offer
As you know, the TYP is a full-time university program designed for first-year Aboriginal students who do not meet the direct-entry requirements into a university program. Students admitted to the TYP may take a combination of degree credit courses, tutorials, and academic workshops in a supportive community environment. After you’ve completed the year-long TYP, the doors are open for you to be admitted into a degree program!
Think about your academic route and what faculty you’d like to work towards: is there a specific career path you want to take? What TYP routes are offered at your PPSI?
If you’re not sure which route you want to take, you are not alone – it’s a common concern for many people. The TYP program will allow you to identify your strengths and skills, and perhaps realize which type of career suits you best.
If your program is specific to Aboriginal students, the application will likely require proof of your status. If there is no Self-Identification Questionnaire included in the application form, make sure you have one of these as proof of your Aboriginal Ancestry. Here’s a sample of what you can expect on the University of Alberta’s Admission of Aboriginal Applicant page:
Depending on your PPSI, you will likely need to provide official academic transcript copies from previous education sent directly to the university’s Registrar’s Office as part of your application. This includes high school and any post-secondary courses, including GED and college courses.
Some PPSI’s require a personal statement, or a Letter of Intent. This is usually a short essay outlining why you would like to join the program. The personal statement gives the faculty a good idea of how serious you are about the program and your post-secondary education. Introduce yourself; tell them what goals you want to achieve throughout the TYP year, what cultural or academic resources you are looking forward to participating in, and about your long term career goals. Some universities require you to handwrite the letter and send it separately, so you should read your institution’s instructions carefully.
Depending on your institution’s requirements, these references can be past teachers, employers, or volunteer organization coordinators. Let these individuals know your plans for applying to the TYP, and ask them if they can provide a reference for you prior to listing them as a reference. They will have to fill out a form as part of the application to assess your strengths and work efficacy.
Tuition, living expenses, and application fees are all expenses that can discourage students to apply without the proper financial aid. If you are a First Nations or registered Métis Nation student, check with your band or agency for sponsorship information to see what expenses are covered, and what documents are required to get funded. Make sure to apply as early as you can when you get accepted into the program, as they require a couple months’ notice before official registration. For more info, First Nation and eligible Inuit students can look into the Post-Secondary Student Support Program.
If you don’t qualify for funding or need additional financial aid, there are many scholarships, bursaries, and awards offered by your PPSI. Make sure to check their financial aid page and talk with your PSC for more information on school-specific awards that you may be eligible to apply for.
Lastly, there is Canada’s Government Student Aid and Loans program, which is province specific, so you can talk with your PSC about your options.
For more information on Aboriginal student funding programs and external scholarships, check out the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) website.
Once you’ve sent off your application and paid the application fee, your institution will send you your Student ID number. Keep this number safe, since it’s your key to check your application status, register for courses in the future, and applying for on-campus housing if you are an out-of-town student.
Depending on the PPSI, be prepared for a possible preliminary interview with a TYP Coordinator. They will contact you to set up the interview either in person, or for out-of-town students, over the phone. The interview is to determine your academic goals and to access your program choice or area of interest after the application process.
Once you’ve completed all these steps, you’ll be ready to start an incredible academic journey. Good luck!
Over the years, she has practiced law in a variety of settings. However, Karen’s cultural identity has always been a driving force behind her success. As a Métis woman, she has been actively involved with the Aboriginal community for years.
We had the opportunity to connect with Karen to learn more about her career journey and how her culture has positively impacted her work.
Like many young professionals, Karen took some time to figure out what career she wanted to pursue. She was in the midst of completing a PhD in Philosophy when she decided to switch to law.
“I loved philosophy for so many reasons… constructing and analyzing arguments,” says Karen. “But I wanted to study something with practical applications, and I realized law was the perfect fit.”
A law career gave Karen the challenge she was looking for. Now, she is able to use the critical analysis skills from her philosophy studies to help people directly.
Naturally, Karen centered her focus on the Aboriginal community. She says her interest came from her own personal experiences as a Métis woman and the issues facing her community.
“I saw how [the Métis community] was struggling to assert their constitutional rights,” says Karen. “I wanted to be part of educating the Canadian public on what Aboriginal rights were.”
Early in her career, Karen worked in a wide range of company settings. In Ontario, she started in a big law firm in downtown Toronto as an Articling student and eventually moved into a smaller practice in Thunder Bay. This gave her a variety of perspectives on the profession and helped her decide where she wanted to take her career.
Throughout her various roles, Karen stayed focused on Labour and Employment Law, and narrowed her efforts on Aboriginal legal issues wherever possible. She eventually found a position that suited her perfectly – and it wasn’t in a law office.
Today, Karen works as an Associate Professor at Lakehead University. She teaches two unique courses: Aboriginal Law and Indigenous Legal Traditional. These courses are mandatory at Lakehead University, and they play a crucial part in educating aspiring law professionals about Indigenous legal traditions.
“It’s important for students to learn this,” says Karen. “We need to recognize the laws of Indigenous people and help them figure out what Aboriginal rights are.”
Aboriginal laws are unique in that they are passed down in the forms of stories, songs, and even the land. In the past, many courts have tried to incorporate these laws into the system but failed due to lack of knowledge. Karen hopes that by educating the next generation of lawyers, we will see a positive change in the system.
In her role, Karen says she’s especially excited to see Aboriginal students come through Lakehead University’s law program. It’s a pivotal time in Canada for the Indigenous community, and Aboriginal professionals in law have the opportunity to make a huge impact in the way the government handles Aboriginal affairs.
Karen has learned a lot over the course of her career. Her hope is that more Aboriginal students in the future will get involved in the field of law and represent the Indigenous community. There’s a lot of work to be done, and although it will be challenging, it will be incredibly rewarding both for them and the communities they choose to help.
“This field offers so many opportunities,” says Karen. “It’s not just being a lawyer – it opens doors to politics, policy work, and even different types of law…Aboriginal issues are gaining more prominence, and we need Aboriginal people who understand our perspective to lead the way.”
Before this trip, the University of Toronto grad had never even ventured outside of North America. But a strong sense of wanderlust, coupled with a desire to continue her studies, made the choice clear.
“I knew people who were studying medicine and pharmacy abroad, so I thought why not? I could do the same thing,” says Amy. “It would be the best of both worlds!”
This realization led her to her first big trip abroad – studying Pharmacy at the University College Cork in Ireland. TalentEgg caught up with Amy to learn more about her experience!
From the rich cultural heritage to the beautiful natural scenery, there were many reasons why Amy picked Ireland to complete her degree abroad.
“I loved the idea of being able to stroll through the picturesque towns and charming coastal communities or go hiking through the rolling green hills,” says Amy. “And there are so many historic sites and museums to visit and just immerse yourself in the history.”
The ‘Emerald Isle’ is only a short plane ride away from the rest of Europe, making it an ideal “base of operations” for travelling. As for the decision to study in Cork, Amy jokes that the city chose her! The location had so much to offer that she didn’t hesitate to accept a place in the Pharmacy program at the University College Cork in Ireland.
“It has everything you need in a small city … great restaurants, festivals, museums, shopping … but it still has a friendly, small-town atmosphere,” says Amy.
Once she knew where she was going, it was time to research. She made sure she had all the practical requirements covered, such as her travel documents, flights, and accommodations. She also reached out to friends who studied abroad and learned as much as she could about Ireland and the university.
“Anytime something even remotely related to Ireland came up, I would have a look,” says Amy.
While in Cork, Amy stayed in a small townhouse with two other Canadian students.
“It was like a little pocket of North America in the middle of Cork,” says Amy about her accommodations abroad.
Of course, there were some cultural differences with her ‘home away from home.’ For instance, going from the hustle and bustle of Toronto to the slower pace of small-town Ireland was a big adjustment for Amy.
“People seem to be in less of a rush,” says Amy. “And people are so friendly and polite. Coming from a big city where you can feel a bit anonymous at times, it was nice walking down the street and having a complete stranger greet you and maybe ask about your day.”
Amy also had to adjust to the Irish accent and the various “Irish-isms” that pepper daily conversations. While everyone speaks English, Amy says that the accents can vary depending on what part of Ireland a person is from.
“Some of them are very light, and some of them are quite thick, but all of them are lovely,” says Amy.
However, inside the classroom, Amy’s education was quite similar to what she was used to. She really enjoyed the program’s hands-on exercises and patient-centred approach to learning.
“We practiced by working in a lab that simulated a pharmacy setting and we role-played patient counselling sessions,” says Amy. “Throughout the program, we developed our pharmacy practice skills and patient interaction skills, and built up our knowledge each year.”
At first, Amy was nervous about travelling on her own, but once she arrived, she realized she had little to fear. She quickly connected with other international students at the university, one from Germany and the other from Italy.
“They learned about Canada and practiced their English with me, and I learned about their countries and picked up a few German and Italian phrases from them,” says Amy. “It was really fun!”
While making connections with other people was a big part of her time abroad, she says the most important thing she gained was a newfound sense of independence.
“I learned how to cook, budget my money, and do minor household repairs, for example,” says Amy. “Living abroad, you learn how to navigate your way and do things yourself in a new place.”
Amy didn’t know what to expect from her trip – all she knew was that she needed to step outside of her comfort zone and try something new. Fortunately, her Ireland adventure was the exact experience she was looking for.
“I love being able to learn about new cultures, foods, and languages from my international friends,” says Amy. “You can read about it in books, see it in movies and on TV, but it’s never the same as living it or learning about it from a native of a country.”
After completing her pharmacy degree and gaining experience in a variety of healthcare systems, Amy is ready to tackle the road ahead.
Amy feels that the experience has had a very positive impact on her career development. She completed her pharmacy degree and gained experience with other healthcare systems (Canada, Ireland and even a rotation in the US via an Irish-US student exchange program). Living, studying, and working abroad has opened her eyes and taught her to see things from other perspectives – an invaluable skill for an aspiring healthcare professional.
“There are always different ways to approach things, different ways to do things,” says Amy. “Now I can take the best parts of what I’ve seen and apply it to wherever I am in my future career.”
Amy’s next goal? To complete her practical training and exams to gain both her Irish and Canadian pharmacy license. She plans to practice as a pharmacist at home in Canada, but is open to the opportunity to work abroad in the future.
“I hope that no matter where I end up in my career, I still get the chance to travel and experience new things,” says Amy.
“You have one life. Live as much as you can.” – Zahra Siddiqui
In only 5 years, Zahra Siddiqui has changed careers, built an incredible photography portfolio, and had her work published and exhibited in a variety of noteworthy spaces. Clearly, she practices what she preaches.
Originally a child and youth worker, Zahra decided to become a photographer five years ago.
“It really was just for fun, that’s how I started,” explains Zahra. “It was kind of like an outlet for me to express myself.”
She would go around and take pictures of the artists in her community, building her portfolio, and teaching herself through YouTube tutorials. After about a year, people started contacting her frequently for her services and she realized her photography could be more than just a hobby. So she connected with other photographers to learn how to turn her pastime into a full-time career. With a lot of hard work and guidance from her peers, she was able to achieve her goal.
Her approach to photography is simple: to capture “somebody in their purest form,” or, as a friend once described her work, “those moments in between blinks.”
“What inspires me is being mindful,” says Zahra. “And my way of capturing mindfulness is capturing the people around me and the things about them that might go unnoticed.”
While she is fortunate enough to do what she loves for a living, the road to success hasn’t always been easy. Photography can be a competitive industry and Zahra has dealt with her fair share of self-doubt.
“I still have hesitations, but I thrive off of being challenged,” says Zahra. “And I always say to myself, ‘the only person I want to conquer is my former self.’”
She also had to redefine her definition of success to align with her new career path, focusing less on material gains and more on her own happiness and fulfillment.
“Having the best equipment, the best education, the best training, it doesn’t mean anything,” says Zahra. “It’s your desire. If the desire’s there, you will make it, you will succeed.”
And she is living proof that hard work pays off. In May 2015, she was selected to participate in the 10×10 photography project, where she produced 10 portraits that were published in the project’s annual publication. Chosen at the last minute, Zahra shot, developed, and submitted all of her pictures for the project in just 8 days.
“It was a hustle but I was proud to be a part of a group of people like this and to have my work published,” says Zahra. “It was a really big moment for me.”
So how do you follow up a career milestone like that? Zahra plans to continue pursuing her photography in New York City. And while the location may be different, her core career values remain the same: work hard, try new things, and be open to every opportunity that comes her way.
“If you stick to your path and dreams, whatever is meant to happen to you will happen right on time.” – Zahra Siddiqui
Because there are so many options, it’s important to find a position that aligns well with your skill set. Luckily, many of these entry-level jobs have impressive starting salaries that will give your career a strong start. We’ve compiled the average starting salaries for some of the most common starting roles in this egg-citing industry. Take a look!
|Field Service Technician|
|St. John’s, NL||41,481|
|St. John’s, NL||48,643|
|St. John’s, NL||48,125|
|St. John’s, NL||37,847|
|St. John’s, NL||52,670|
|St. John’s, NL||52,502|
One of the best ways to do this is to follow industry influencers on Twitter. By connecting with top companies in the field, you have the chance to learn more about your dream company. You can also discover which jobs are in demand, get tips and tricks for your career, and more. This guide will help you determine some of the accounts in the construction industry you have to follow!
@EllisDon is a company that all students and graduates with an interest in the construction industry should follow. Along with tweeting the most up-to-date industry info, they’ve also been renamed one of the top construction firms by On-Site, making them an industry leaders to keep an eye on.
Landing a Canadian Green Building Award for the Halifax Library project has us all smiles @cagbc #LEED http://t.co/r21D4dq3vn
— EllisDon (@EllisDon) July 29, 2015
How we used our project management service to create a dynamic experience w/ food and entertainment during the Games http://t.co/QDCmhDnRAL
— EllisDon (@EllisDon) July 15, 2015
For those of you who are interested in the renovation and remodelling field, @ContractorTalk is a great Twitter account for you to follow. This account connects a group of professional contractors together online by retweeting and sharing your latest projects with the rest of the remodelling community, offering you top renovation tips, and sharing other helpful construction advice.
5 Apps to Help You Become a Better Estimatorhttp://t.co/b6HUZud0lT pic.twitter.com/DNTIbz5j0R
— ContractorTalk.com (@ContractorTalk) June 19, 2015
Learn to Recognize the Signs of Heat Illnesseshttp://t.co/XcU7MtpSoY pic.twitter.com/EK4XbyXCHh
— ContractorTalk.com (@ContractorTalk) August 5, 2015
The British Columbia Construction Association is a company that has found a way to combine the construction industry with the nonprofit sector. As listed on their website, the company’s mission is “to provide leadership and excellence in the representation of and service to British Columbia’s construction industry.” If you want to learn about some of the rules and regulations of the industry and the basic 101 of construction, make sure you follow their twitter, @thisisBCCA.
Canada Job Grant supports #BC employers in #PrinceGeorge and provides workers with #skills #training | BC Gov News: https://t.co/uIwdYRFUwx
— BC Construction (@thisisBCCA) July 31, 2015
Stay up-to-date on new #building #safety #legislation. Read the #BCBuildingAct at http://t.co/Ii1myN0QyO #construction #BC
— BC Construction (@thisisBCCA) June 29, 2015
Construct Canada is North America’s largest construction, building design, and property management exposition. Their twitter account, @ConstructCanada, is constantly posting career tips, reporting industry news, and sharing interesting articles that are helpful to all professionals in the field. If you want to learn about innovative projects and stay up to date on current events, this is the account for you to follow.
The New Building Standard That Will Change How You Work http://t.co/Ady9LyEcdD pic.twitter.com/78pd3b1AF8
— Construct Canada (@ConstructCanada) August 6, 2015
An Architect Wants To Retrofit This London Power Plant With Tesla Coils http://t.co/6mXjvcZcOa pic.twitter.com/ulgwyreC5X
— Construct Canada (@ConstructCanada) August 4, 2015
It’s important to spend some time preparing for your interview, as it is one of the best ways to leave a great impression on a potential employer. You’ll want to express the reasons why you’re the right person for the job in the most clear and confident way you can!
In the construction industry, you’ll encounter a range interview questions, from behavioural to situational but they all have the same purpose: to evaluate your skills, your experiences, and how they’re related to the position. Here are 4 sample questions to help you prepare!
After you’ve answered the standard “tell me about yourself” questions, this will probably be the first industry-related question you’ll be asked. This question is something your interviewer will ask to get an idea of whether or not you’re a good fit. Construction is a challenging career that involves a unique combination of technical training and experience. Companies want to make sure that they hire people who do their homework and are prepared to get the job done.
The best way to answer this question is to start off with the general facts – the history of the company, the key players, their role in the construction industry as a whole – and then hone in on the more nuanced qualities, such as their mission, their company culture, and what sets them apart from other companies. Show them that you’ve done research on their current projects, and share a bit of insight – this will demonstrate your knowledge in the field as well as your preparedness.
A successful answer will show an employer that you’re knowledgeable about the company, passionate about the work they do, and excited at the possibility of being a part of it.
Behavioural questions are common in construction interviews, as they allow employers to assess a variety of skills. This particular one evaluates your teamwork, leadership, and communication skills. A career in construction means working with all different types of people, from clients and engineers, to consultants and subcontractors. Having the ability to communicate and coordinate effectively with all parties is essential.
When answering this question, discuss the methods that your team put in place in order to work together effectively but don’t forget to emphasize what you did and how your role helped the team achieve success. Fresh out of university or college? Talk about a school assignment or an extracurricular project and highlight transferable skills. And if you can, include quantifiable data that accurately shows your positive contribution to the project. Having the appropriate facts and figures will only strengthen your response.
The situational or scenario-based question is quite common in construction job interviews because it helps the employer get a better sense of a candidate’s personality. The previous questions help an interviewer assess your qualifications, but your answer to this question will provide insight into how you would perform on the job.
A lot of construction positions are centered around client service. For instance, if you’re applying for a construction coordinator position, this is your chance to prove to your interviewer that you will go above and beyond to ensure a client’s satisfaction. When answering this question, think about how you would react – but also take it a step further and explain how you would proactively ensure the problem doesn’t happen again. This shows an employer that even when dealing with clients, you never lose sight of the company’s needs and goals.
This is common question for any type of interview, and it’s easy to understand why. The employer gets to see how you match your own strengths to the qualities needed to do the job.
The job description is the best place to start when preparing to answer this question. Look at the key responsibilities and required knowledge and skills, and share concrete examples that show that you have the abilities they’re looking for. The next place to go is the company website – read up on their values, culture, and mission so you can discuss how you have the right personality to go with your technical ability.
Lastly, think about what makes you unique and sets you apart from other candidates. For example, if you’re a student or new grad, you can talk about how your program exposed you to the latest in industry trends. If you have some experience in the industry, discuss how your expertise will help you hit the ground running in this position. In short, prove to your interviewer that you’re more than just qualified, you can deliver results and add value to the organization.
Whether you have a background in business, engineering, or architecture, there are a ton of fantastic opportunities to explore in this field. While it’s important to have the technical skills for your area of expertise, there are a number of soft skills that are essential for success no matter where you work in the construction industry. Want to know if you have what it takes? Measure yourself against these 3 skills, and see if a career in construction is right for you!
Being detail oriented is an important skill for any job – no employer wants to hire someone who is constantly making mistakes. However, this skill is one that is crucial for success in the construction industry. Whether you’re working with the engineering team or devising a timeline with the project management division, it’s important that you can pick up on every detail in the instructions you’re given to avoid mistakes.
Because attention to detail is so important in this industry, it’s a good idea to develop this skill before starting your career in construction. Start by fine-tuning your reading skills – being able to read quickly while still picking up the specifics will help you catch every detail on the job.
When working in the construction industry, you can expect to be faced with deadlines, which means the ability to manage your time in a way effectively in order to complete all of your tasks is a must.
As mentioned before, professionals in the construction industry are constantly working with other stakeholders – clients, contractors, and even other departments in the company. Because a lot of other people rely on the work you do to begin their part of the project, it’s critical that you’re able to meet deadlines so projects don’t fall behind. Having the ability to prioritize and focus on completing your to-do list is an absolute must, whether you’re working on the management or engineering side.
Here are a few things that will help you manage your time:
Utilizing the time you have at work will really keep you on track to meeting deadlines and completing any task that is at hand.
There are many professionals and departments that come together when tackling a project, so being able to communicate with various parties on your team will be a vital part of your job. You’ll likely find yourself reaching out to clients, so it’s important to have the skills to relay information in a clear, professional manner.
Even if you aren’t in a communications role, this skill will still apply to you! When working within your team, it’s important that tasks and project-related business is relayed effectively and clearly. Without proper communication in place, processes may slow and mistakes will be made. It’s important not to let that happen!
A career in construction requires a diverse range of abilities. Get cracking on these three skills and you’ll land that coveted position in no time.