Fact or Fiction: International Student Myths (1/2)

There is a lot of information floating around about what the Canadian international student journey might be like. It could be from the news, social media, your college/university or your friend. It can be difficult to know what and who to trust. In this article, we hope to take away some of this overwhelm by giving you answers straight from other international students who are on the same Canadian journey as you. Below you’ll see a few statements that you might hear. Let’s see what our international students have to say about them.  and whether or not they are actually accurate. 

Myth #1 Good grades will get you a job 

In my home country (India), good grades are very important for a candidate who is looking for a job. Good grades come first and then skills and related work experience (if any). However, in Canada, it is different. I can even say poles apart. In Canada, it is all about skills and related work experience (volunteering, part-time, internship or full-time jobs). Grades are important, yes, but they don’t come first place for sure. A candidate needs to make proper connections. Here, reference(s) works like magic.

I am an international student, and I will say, it is challenging (and rewarding) to be an international student. You will be managing innumerable things independently, but you will also have some great learning experiences.

If you are a student here, make sure to participate in your in-classroom activities as it will help you to earn your professor’s attention since they have some great connections with the corporate world. You don’t have to be a ‘great’ student to do this. Just be sincere, smart, and hardworking. Be confident in what you do and equip yourself with skills that are in line with your field of study or work. Lastly, be hopeful and never stop yourself from trying out new things.

Soumit Das – Marketing Management, Fanshawe College

Myth #2 Networking is too much work with no results 

When I came to Canada, I was extremely unaware of the power of networking.

I did not realize the power of networking until I got my internship – here’s now. I was looking for a co-op position and attended a workshop organized by my college. During the workshop, I learned about a platform (Plum) which I was not aware of. So, it helped me to get an interview at a company where I applied for. I posted a thank you note on LinkedIn to my college and to Devant (who hosted the workshop) about my new learning. From there I connected with Denis and Rod at Devant who offered to hire me as a research intern for the semester.

This is a perfect example of why connections are so important. After this experience, I am more interested in building the network and making new connections every day. Before getting an internship, I was struggling to get a co-op for months. My connections have helped me in ways I have never thought of.

The job search is a struggle, especially when you are in a different country meeting new people. I will just give one piece of advice. Be confident and believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid of participating and introducing yourself. Networking is the key and it will help you in the long term.

Palak Pandya – Supply Chain Management + Research, Seneca College + Georgian College

Myth #3 Employers see international students as a disadvantage

I don’t believe that employers see international students as a disadvantage. Finding a job during your co-op semester or as a new grad is challenging for both domestic and international students. It all boils down to how early you start your job search journey and the expert advice you get during that phase. 

Every country has a different work culture and a specific skill set that helps an employee perform well on the job. I believe most international students can prove their technical skillset. Still, they don’t put a lot of effort into their personality, soft skills and work ethics. If you can showcase your personality (+soft skills) along with the technical skill set, you will surely land a lot of opportunities.

With the help of career coaching from Devant, I could understand this aspect of job search very early. It helped me secure a co-op position. I was not only able to understand the technical skills that were in demand in Canada for the career I wanted to pursue, but also I was constantly working on my communication skills and personality.

Honestly, If you have the right professional approach, I don’t think there is any barrier to interaction with any employers or recruiters. In less than two years, I built a vast professional network in Canada that helped me find the right job. I can tell with certainty that if you know how to communicate professionally and are honest with your approach, employers would appreciate connecting with you.

Kunal Khanna – MBA, Brock University

I want to give a BIG shout out to all the international students who contributed to this post. You are integral to Devant’s continued successes.

Stay tuned for our next blog post in the series as we debunk even more international student myths.

What other ideas about being an international student in Canada surprised you? Connect with us at info@devant.ca and you could be featured in our next blog post. 

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If you’d like to ask a question about something you’ve read here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Director, Operations & Client Experience, Sejal Ahir at sejal.ahir@devant.ca or by phone at 1 (647) 781-2945.