Q&A With SOPA Graduates

We are sharing Q&A interviews with four of our SOPA Atlantic Graduates. Manna, Dhavalkumar, Atinuke and Lucky are all completed our Soft Skills courses with Christine Wall as their facilitator. They are sharing their impressions, thoughts and recommendations. We congratulate Dhavalkumar and Manna for finding jobs in their fields soon after arrival. We thank everyone for your answers and wish every success in your life in Canada.

1. Manna Ghose

How do you say in your native language: “Hello my name is…”

Namaskar, amar naam Manna

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I am very passionate and enthusiastic about most of the earthly stuff. I love my family and I can’t think myself without them. I am quite satisfied about my life but I want to make it better in every way possible. Integrity and attitude matter a lot to me, without them we can’t be identified as human beings.

When you think of Canada, what 3 things comes to your mind first? maple leaf, beautiful nature and diversity.

What questions did you have before SOPA?  What are the requirements to a get a highly paid job? How shall I approach an employer?

Why did you decide to register for SOPA? I researched a lot about the pre-arrival services and found out that SOPA has one of the best programs for new immigrants.

How would you describe the SOPA program to a friend or colleague? It’s highly recommended. You will not regret it or think that you wasted your time.

How did your SOPA course prepare you for Canada? In every way. SOPA gave me huge knowledge about Canada and the job sectors.

What do you think could make the SOPA program even better? Please have android and IOS app so we can do the assignments anywhere we like. (UPD: SOPA’s new platform has been updated and the courses can now be viewed on iPad and mobile devices)

2. Dhavalkumar Yoganandi

Tell us a little bit about yourself: My name is Dhavalkumar Yoganandi, I’m originally from India. I arrived Fredericton, New Brunswick on 17th July, 2017. I’m currently working as a Software Developer. I am working in the same field I used to work in in my home country. I started contacting employers via LinkedIn after I got my VISA stamp and I scheduled a couple of interviews before I landed here in Canada. After landing, I took the interviews on the scheduled dates and got an offer from one of the employers and I joined them.

How did SOPA change your approach to seeking employment in Canada? SOPA helped me understand the job market of Canada and how to be prepared for Canadian job culture. It also helped me create a proper resume for the Canadian job market.

How did the organizations that you were referred to by SOPA help prepare you for the job market and settlement in Canada? Immigration services guided me for the job search in Canada and what to expect in Canadian work culture. Also gave tips regarding job hunting.

What strategies did you use to find a job in your field? I used pre-arrival services and mostly attended online workshops. I also communicated with the pre-arrival service people to get more information about life in Canada and about job markets.

Describe any challenges you faced in your job search? The only challenge I faced was to attract employers’ attention by the resume. I had a long resume and because of that I was not able to get enough replies from employers. I rewrote my resume as per Canadian standards and I got many replies.

Any tips for other newcomers? I would suggest that they should start job hunting while they are in their home country. Start contacting employers over LinkedIn. And prepare a Canadian standard resume (no more than 2 pages). And most important tip is “Don’t give up if you don’t get response from any employer.”

3. Atinuke Okunjemiruwa

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Let’s practice your 30 second pitch. I am Atinuke Okunjemiruwa an Estate Surveyor and Valuer by profession. I have been in the profession for about 5 years with core competence in Valuation and management. I look forward to working with other professionals in the field in other to learn more. I am an excellent communicator and give attention to detail, a team player and always meet my deadlines. I look forward to learning from senior colleagues while they mentor me so I can attain my professional goals in the profession.

How would you describe the SOPA program? This is an essential course anybody hoping to live and enjoy life in Canada should definitely take it.

How did your SOPA course prepare you for Canada? SOPA’s course prepared me for life in Canada in ways I can’t even imagine, especially, in the area of working with others. Not minding we are people from different culture and backgrounds.

Professional Communication course, indeed, has been a great learning experience for me. The course has furnished me with useful information on how to conduct myself in the Canadian workplace thereby making myself a valuable employee. This course has better equipped me with the necessary professional skills I need to become an indispensable employee even before arrival.Atinuke Okunjemiruwa

I want to appreciate Christine for her efforts all through this period, her understanding and her constructive criticism on my assignments. I want to use this medium to appreciate the Canadian government for funding this pre-arrival programs which makes it easier for migrants properly integrate into the Canadian way of life and work.

What do you think could make the SOPA program even better? In my opinion, the program is very okay as it is right now.

4. Lucky Uwuigbe

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hello, my name is Lucky Uwuigbe. I have 15 years’ experience in the field of telecommunications. My skills include network design, implementation and management. As a telecommunication specialist, I have developed excellent troubleshooting, documentation and interpersonal skills. I am organized and adaptable, and have strong customer focused and results-oriented capability to exceed customers’ expectations. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Benin, Nigeria.

How would you describe the SOPA program to a friend or colleague? SOPA is a great program that adequately prepares immigrants to settle quickly when they arrive in Canada.

How did your SOPA course prepare you for Canada? The SOPA courses taken have educated me on the Canada workplace culture especially on the emphasis on soft skills, resume and cover letter targeting, networking and calling cards, presentation skills and meetings, preparing for interviews, accessing the hidden job market, and being a professional Canadian.

What do you think could make the SOPA program even better? SOPA could improve by adding simulation features that allows SOPA clients to have a REAL life experience or feeling on the Canada job search and application, mock interview, and networking and follow-up.

Interviews prepared by Christine Wall

– Christine Wall – Soft Skills Facilitator for Atlantic Provinces

Christine Wall is currently a Facilitator for Soft Skills courses offered by Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) program at Immigrant Settlement Association of Nova Scotia. Christine has worked with pre and post arrival clients at ISANS for over 7 years, focusing on providing new Canadians with essentials language and workplace tools for successful settlement in Canada.