Lumber and maple syrup have long been Canada’s traditional exports, but it’s our colleges and universities that are drawing international interest these days.
Born into a conservative, educated family in Chennai, India, 23-year-old Alice Chandrasekaran got swept up in her homeland’s rapid technological expansion.
Having completed her electronics engineering degree from the University of Madras, Chandrasekaran worked for an Indian bio-diesel company and enrolled in part-time animation courses, pursuing a passion she’s had since childhood.
That grew into an interest in web development. But when Chandrasekaran applied for designing jobs in India, she found the pay disappointing.
“I wanted to do what I loved, but at the same time make good money at it. I also wanted to be able to work anywhere in the world. Gaining North American work experience makes the whole process simpler.”
Resisting pressure from her family to do a master’s degree, she instead decided to go abroad to study in a program that combined programming with business skills.
She chose Centennial College’s graduate certificate program in e-Business, intended for college and university graduates who want to gain some experience in e-commerce.
“We all worked together and had fun together, which is the best part,” she recalls of the program and final project they had to complete.
Chandrasekaran was so motivated by her studies, the program coordinator recommended her for a part-time job in Centennial’s marketing department as a web developer.
“The experience I got in that job helped me to find my next full-time job,” says Chandrasekaran. who graduated in June and immediately flew to Calgary to pursue a web developer position. “The first day I was really worried and thought it’s too much for me to handle. But then I realized that is the nature of the learning curve.”
For a young woman from a conservative family, Chandrasekaran has come far in a short time. But it’s an adventure she wouldn’t hesitate to do over again. She has some advice for others who might be contemplating the same.
“My advice for international students is to focus and learn what they paid for. That makes a big difference!”