Dhruv Patel: Behind the scenes of student life in Canada

Written by: Minal Nirmala Khona

Name: Dhruv Patel | University: Humber College | City: Ontario | Course: Global Business Management with specialisation in advertising and media

Key highlights: 

  • Studying in Canada requires only the IELTS as a mandate.
  • Canada’s Permanent Residency Programme is a big benefit for foreign students.
  • Carry ready-to-cook food if you’re a vegetarian and prepare for the extremely cold weather.
  • Don’t spend money on unwanted luxuries if you want to manage your finances well as a student.

Dhruv Patel

When did you decide you wanted to study abroad and why?

I decided to study abroad when I completed my degree in Mumbai and wanted to gain international experience from Canada.

How did you prepare for your admission and why did you choose Canada? What benefits does Canada offer as opposed to Australia, US or UK?

There were no particular preparations required for admission in Canada as IELTS was the only mandatory entrance to come here. I chose Canada over Australia, US and UK because Canada provides benefits in terms of permanent residency, and there is a familiarity with people, as there are a huge number of immigrants from India in Canada.

What arrangements had to be made before hand? Things like food, vaccinations, winterwear, accommodation etc.

Carrying food is mandatory if you are planning to move to Canada. Vegetarians like me face a lot of difficulty due to food preferences and options. It is advised to carry ready-to-make food in order to sustain you during your early days before you settle in and start cooking for yourself.

Is this course a diploma or a degree and how much will it improve your chances of getting a job there in Canada or in India?

I have completed my post graduate diploma here in Canada. There needs to be a separate course done to land a good job here, due to competition and the course that I chose. The exposure to companies’ hiring events at college can also improve your chances of getting hired by one of them.

Have you taken a student loan?

Yes, I did take a loan as the tuition fees are high for international students.

How did you settle in and find accommodation?

To find a house in Canada is like looking for a needle in a haystack, and, with the real estate market skyrocketing there is no limit to what people can charge you for a mere two-bedroom apartment. But, since there is a recession on in Canada, many people are losing their jobs and becoming homeless which is another problem. Canada’s climate is the worst as it sometimes shows us all the seasons that exist in a single day. There is no telling about how the day is going to be. Preparing for weather changes can be hectic and exhausting.

How do you balance your studies and down time along with a part-time job?

As an international student, it is really difficult to juggle between part-time jobs and academic excellence as there are limited jobs and many people vying for them. Also, you cannot get hired for an entry level job without having two or three years of experience. Getting good internships or jobs requires concrete and high levels of reference which are very hard to get. Students often end up working for low wage jobs to pay their fees and clear financial debts.

What is your academic and extracurricular focus?

I have worked on several dynamic group projects and assignments which have given me exceptional insight into the advertising and marketing industry.

How have you assimilated yourself with the local culture and citizens?

There are barely any customs or traditions of Canadian people; in fact, they often celebrate international cultures because of increasing diversity.

Have you managed to build connections and networks for work?

Building networks and connections is very hard as people who are genuine on LinkedIn get unprofessional messages and there are a lot of fake profilers who uses LinkedIn as an MLM (multi-level marketing) model which targets the new students and asks them for money. Students often lose all of their savings to these kinds of people.

How do you manage your finances?

Managing finances differs from student to student as several students including me try to save money and pay their upcoming tuition. But there are other students who spend on cars and unwanted luxury which leads to debt.

What are your impressions of Ontario and Canada?

Personally, I see Canada as a learning platform where I have learnt how to handle difficult situations and understand foreign markets; but in my view, it’s not the right kind of place for an extroverted person. There are definitely amazing opportunities for students who specialise in a creative field of work but not for people who just want to come to Canada with no specific goal in mind.

What is your plan now that you have graduated?

I have successfully graduated from Humber College with honours in the global business management certificate course that I took up. I am looking forward to take the skills learnt back home as soon as I receive my graduation letter.


What are your aspirations and future goals?

In the future I look forward to go into sales and business development, it can be in any field. One premise that keeps me going is: “Anything that holds value and can be presented well can be sold and it’s an art in itself to understand people’s interest and preferences.”

Any advice for aspiring students?

The only advice that I can give to students from small towns who wish to come here is “Do not come to Canada because one of your friends is coming or some relative went before you!”

If your goals and the college you choose do not align, you could end up doing part time work in Canada as a full-time job and find yourself in more debt. I have seen doctors and teachers with experience in India working in restaurants and earning minimum wages here because of this fact.

If you are a creative person with amazing communication skills, Canada awaits you! You can really find opportunities to become successful in this field.


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