Nursing Journeys Vol. 8 – Gerald Garcia
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VOL. 8 | GERALD GARCIA – NURSING JOURNEYS
INTERNATIONALLY-EDUCATED NURSES RECOUNT THEIR INDIVIDUAL STORIES ON THEIR ROAD TO BECOMING NURSES IN CANADA
Sometimes the path you plan is not always the right path for you.
Originally a nurse from the Philippines, Gerald’s journey took him first to Saudi Arabia, but then eventually to Canada, where he is now working full-time as a Licensed Practical Nurse in the province of New Brunswick.
Gerald knew long ago he wanted to settle in Canada. He had relatives living in Canada already, in the province of Alberta, who influenced him to consider pursuing his career as a nurse here. He saw the amazing benefits that permanent residents and citizens in this country had access to.
At first, his family encouraged him to gain experience in a fast-food chain in the Philippines. They thought perhaps that would be his best way to get to Canada. However, Gerald knew he wanted to be a Nurse. It was his calling.
However, nurses in the Philippines earn a low salary, so in order to be able to save money to come to Canada one day, Gerald decided to work in Saudi Arabia. It was a stepping stone for him to achieve his real dream.
He says “It definitely wasn’t easy as I had to support my family from afar. I had to leave them while I worked, as I’m the only one in my family who can earn enough money to make things happen. It took me 10 years to save enough money to be able to come to Canada. There were a lot of ups and downs because of the rigid and tedious applications in order to be in Canada. But eventually, I saved enough and made it here”.
It took Gerald 10 years before he could afford to come to Canada. At first, Gerald planned to go to a university in Edmonton, Alberta, so that he could live with his relatives for free. But the money he had saved over all the years wasn’t enough even for 1 year of tuition at that university, so he had to look for a plan B.
After a lot of research, he ended up finding OMNI College.
“I did all of the research by myself without the support of any immigration consultants as my budget that time didn’t allow me to pay anyone to help me. I did a lot of reading and research on how to be in Canada including how to complete my own application for a student visa. I’m just so thankful Dennis, my Advisor at OMNI College, who was there to guide me and of course to OMNI staff for making sure that my application would be approved. It was a great decision for me to choose OMNI.”
While studying at OMNI College, his family back in the Philippines and his relatives in Canada were the ones who kept him motivated all along the way. “Even though I hate studying, I just thought of my family as they were all so very supportive and I know from myself in God’s grace that all of my plans will be fruitful if I will study hard and stick on my dreams.”
The nurse registration process was the toughest part for Gerald. He says “I think the one that really gave me the hardest time was applying for NNAS, and trying to secure all the required documents for my application. I needed to ask a favor from my friends in Saudi Arabia to help me get my previous employer to fill up my forms. It was the hardest part as the employer was not cooperative and did not want to sign my papers. The health authority there also gave my friends a hard time, they had to go there in person just to get my papers done. I wished I had done all that before I left the country, it would have made things much easier.”
So – did Gerald overcome the obstacles?
Despite all the challenges and the long journey, Gerald always stayed committed to follow through on his dreams.
As a result, life for Gerald looks pretty amazing today.
He works full-time as an LPN and finds the most rewarding part of his job is seeing the residents smiling and praising him for the care he has given them. He is getting used to the Canadian weather in the eastern part of the country, and enjoying all the perks and benefits of being a Canadian resident – including the health care system, the security, and clean air, and the culture of Canada.
He says ”Canada is heart. It was the best decision I ever made to come here. Recently, my wife was able to come to join me in Canada too. It’s not only about the perks you will get as a Permanent Resident but the people around here. All I can say is thanks to Canada, I made a lot of friends, Canadian and Filipino. Everyone is so kind. They are very supportive and always there to help. I am now also able to return the favour as I help some other newcomers here, giving those insights on life in Canada too.”
He adds that “I’m getting used to the word “eh”, the double double and all the other stuff that Canadians are known for too!”
Gerald’s employer has supported him and welcomed him as part of their team. “I’m very thankful to them as they have given me a chance to be a part of them and helped me a lot in securing my Permanent Residency here in Canada as well. In fact, when I got my PR status it was the fastest application approval I had ever heard of. It only took me and my wife 5 months to get our application approved. It’s all because of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program. Thanks to Louise who referred me to my employer right now here in New Brunswick. While the Post Grad work permit is an option, it’s not the only option. There are a lot of pathways to be a PR and it depends on how you plan yourself after graduating from OMNI.
Final words, from Gerald: “Sometimes not all plans go the way you expected, so make sure you always have another option. I’m just so thankful that OMNI supported me and was there to guide me. OMNI ended up being my best option.”
~Gerald Garcia, LPN
Download the full story as a PDF (Vol 8_GeraldGarcia)