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VideoCast Episode 6: Academic and Language Pathways to Immigration

In this episode, Veronika Shaytarova, Pathways Program Manager at Tamwood Language Centres, discusses the various academic and language pathways to qualify for immigration to Canada. Know why international students should start at a private institution and eventually move to a public school, along with other tips to save costs and maximize opportunities.

– If you have English, it’s like intermediate or even better, maybe advanced, then you don’t want to study English, you wanna go straight to the college. And then we have academic pathways, which lead you eventually to public institution, and students usually want to go there because of opportunities for immigration in any province in Canada.

– This is “Study And Work in Canada”, Tamwood’s podcast in all things international students want to know about COOP education programs in Canada. I’m Tamsin Plaxton, Tamwood’s Founder and President, and an avid member of the Canadian Private Education Sector. Welcome back to “Study And Work in Canada”. I’m really excited to be joined today on this episode by Veronika Shaytarova Welcome, Veronika.

– Well, hello, hello. It’s great to have you here.

– Yeah, thanks! So, today’s episode is all about “Pathways”. And academic and language pathways and what that means for internationals coming to Canada to study and to study and work. And, you know, Veronika is a perfect person to have on this show because of her background. She’s currently employed with Tamwood as the Pathway Manager, but Veronika you’ve had a long history in our industry. How many years have you been, in this industry?

– Oh, it’s about 11 years already.

– 11 years, yeah. And prior to coming to Tamwood, what were you doing?

– I used to be agent work in Russia, so I send students to Canada for different programs, and then I move to Canada by myself ’cause I saw a lot of opportunities here. And then, I become a pathway professional, so I literally do the same job, just on the school side.

– Right, yeah. And you’ve helped a lot of students, both at your previous employers, and now, here at Tamwood to develop their kind of, pathway to their goals and usually that’s immigration. But, you know, we know that some students come and do, study and work to just to better their skills and to get international experience, to then go home and, you know, have a better career opportunities. And this is why, you know, you’re with Tamwood, is that we’re seeing so many students now are interested in immigration to Canada. And we know education is part of a pathway to immigration and, you know, I think that word, “pathway” is a great visual. And you know, when I hear the word, “pathway”, first, I think of like a “pathway in the woods”, you know, like walking along a path. And that’s really what this is. This is a journey that students take. It’s not like you just, sort of arrive in Canada and become a Canadian. There’s a path you follow. And some people take different paths to get to the same goal. And we see some people, you know, obviously are taking a pathway that involves education. And others come in through sponsored employment, but mostly, you know, we’re seeing more and more, it’s a combination of work experience and education is part of that path. So, Veronika, so what is in your mind, what does “pathway” mean in the, sort of context of Canadian International Education?

– So, pathway, yeah, it’s a popular word here, here in Canada. And it means like your way or journey to academic institution and eventually to immigration. So, that’s why it’s super popular in Canada, specifically. And there are two popular pathways you may hear about. So one, it’s English pathway and other one will be academic pathway. So two things are different, but they for different people. If your English is not strong enough, you want to start from English preparation first, ’cause Canada is English-speaking country. Then, you brought is to your academic program. If you have English, it’s like intermediate or even better, maybe advanced, then you don’t want to study English, you wanna go straight to the college. And then, we have academic pathways which lead you eventually to public institution and students usually want to go there because of opportunities for immigration in any province in Canada.

– Right, so I guess when you say that it leads to opportunities for immigration, you’re talking about the Canadian Experience Class Program of immigration, where students need to work,

– Mm-hmm.

– to qualify for immigration and to work, they need a work permit. So, public institutions, by studying and graduating from a public institution, students qualify for what we know as a Post-Graduate Work Permit.

– Mm-hmm.

– And that’s what most students are seeking, right? They seek a Post-Graduate Work Permit, so that they can get the work experience that will qualify them for immigration.

– Yeah, and it’s great that Canada has this opportunity for the students, so you literally can pick any public institution in entire Canada. And then, after you gain your knowledge in the university or college, you have opportunity to find a job, try to work in the industry. And then if you want to, you’re welcome to stay here in this country.

– Right, right. So, you know, I think what’s interesting for students to understand is that most people would think, “Okay, to get a Post-Grad Work Permit, I need to go to a public institution,” that’s clear.

– Mm-hmm.

– Why would they want to start at a private institution first? ‘Cause you described an academic pathway as a transfer of, you know, from a private institution, to a public institution. That’s a pathway between two institutions. And that means students start in one institution, graduate, transfer those credits, which then allows them to go into the next institution with advanced standing. They don’t have to start from the very beginning. They’ve already had credit given to them for the courses they took at the previous institution, so they start with some of the coursework already done, right? Why would you wanna do that? Why would we counsel international students to start at a private institution, then transfer to a public or why is that necessary for some?

– Yeah, the main reason, the first one would be saving cost. So, not everyone can afford to pay, like about $20,000 a year right away. People are from different countries with different income, so when you go to private school first, you pay lower fees. And by this way, you can save money when you come to Canada, but also, you come here, you have opportunity to work while you study. All our programs, they include work component where you can work full time, so you’ll earn local salary, compare to country you are from, it’s like much more money, sometimes. But you earn more money, you can afford to go to public school, right? So, students usually use this opportunity to come to Canada early and pay less money. Another huge benefit that in between two programs in Canada, students eligible to work full time. So, it’s extra time for you to work more, to save more money, to pay for your future tuition. So, what happens, student graduate from Tamwood, they don’t need to leave Canada, they have this up to five months when they can work full time, before they start their academic program in public institution. Another huge benefit will be entry requirements. So, let’s say, you are intermediate, your English is not like, advanced, you’re not fluent, but you want to come to Canada now. So you can do that through the private school. You come earlier, you start study, but you don’t study only English. You study some courses in Business, Hospitality, or Web Development. You improve in your English by doing that. When you work, you improve your English even more. And then, at the time when your academic program starts in a public institution, you’re already ready to start the main program. And you’re well-prepared to study in a public institution. Another thing is that we have flexible intakes. Not everyone know, but public schools they usually have main start date in September, sometimes January, sometimes May. With private school, with Tamwood, we have start every month. So again, students usually want to come to Canada as early as possible to start manage their things here. And it’s a great opportunity for you to come, literally as soon as you get your visa, you just fly here. And you don’t need to wait till your next start date.

– Right.

– We do have small classes as well, so again, it’s less stress for you. When you’re new in the country, you need to integrate here. Tamwood has great people who work here, we will help you with everything. And then, by studying in small classes, you improve better and faster than if you go to university.

– Right.

– Mm-hmm.

– Yeah. It’s a big shock, isn’t it? Coming to Canada? I mean you did it,

– Yes.

– you moved from Russia to Canada. It’s a big shock. It’s a culture shock. You miss your family. It’s adjusting to, sort of operating in a new language, even if you know English or French if you’re moving to Quebec.

– Mm-hmm.

– ‘Cause Canada has both official languages, French and English. Even if you study those languages at home, you’re now studying in a foreign language, you’re in a foreign culture, if you have to jump into an academic program at a university or a public college where classes are really big, the campuses are very large. The student populations in the campuses are quite immense, you could feel a little lost, right?

– Mm-hmm.

– So starting small, where at a private institution, they’re typically smaller, the institution administration will know you, your teacher knows you. You’re gonna get the support that allow you to keep up as you’re adjusting to life in Canada

– Mm-hmm.

– And you know, I think statistically, students have a higher success rate at private institutions than they do in public, as we see, I think statistically about 30% of international students who goes straight to a public institution, don’t make it into their second year. They either drop out or fail.

– Exactly.

– Yeah. And that’s a big loss, if you’ve invested that much money, if it’s $20,000 a year for public institutions, and you don’t make it to your second year, you don’t get a diploma, you don’t get a certificate, you have nothing to show for your year in Canada. But if you go to private institution, you know, that first year is a lot easier to adjust to because of the supports and the small classes. And, you know, when you finish that year, you actually get a diploma,

– Mm-hmm.

– Right? If it’s a one-year program at the private college, which most are. Our programs are pretty much one year. So then, when you transfer into a public institution, you have the chance to actually earn a second credential. So, that’s another advantage, isn’t it? That students who do an academic pathway, you go into two institutions instead of one, end-up with two credentials, either a diploma and a degree, or a diploma and another diploma. And that gives them extra points for immigration, is that right?

– Depends of the student profile, oh, pardon, depends of the immigration profile. The, yeah.

– Right.

– Depends of the background, but usually, if you have work experience, if you have education from back home, yes, both credential will play important role in your immigration profile.

– Yeah, in your immigration. Right. Right. So, what kind of number of courses do typically can students transfer, at least, let’s use Tamwood as an example.

– Mm-hmm.

– Tamwood has quite a number of agreements with public institutions and private universities that allows students who complete a diploma with us to then start at the public or private university with “advanced” standing. What they refer to as “advanced” standing, meaning they’ve already completed some of the coursework required.

– Mm-hmm.

– What are universities or colleges typically in allowing to students to transfer over? How many credits are we looking at?

– It’s also depends. We have many, many different agreements with eight different schools. The most popular one would be almost one year of your tuition. In credits, it will be 24 credits or 30 credits. It’s maybe new word for the students, but it means you transfer literally almost one year of your tuition. And as I said before, average price, it’s about $20,000, so imagine that you save that much money,

– Right.

– to transfer.

– You still will study two years, minimum. But every semester, you will take less courses. You will have more time for your personal life, for your work, it depends.

– To study.

– Yeah, to study. Sure.

– Yeah.

– ‘Cause you have more time for your current courses, you have better grades, you have better success everywhere. And then, because you have more time, you can figure things out here with your immigration as well. ‘Cause when you go to public schools, you have like, six or eight courses every semester. And it’s overwhelming for the locals, but you when you’re foreigner, you need to think like, you need to translate everything in your head. For you, it’s harder to start in a public school, compared to Canadians. So, when you have less courses, it’s make your life easy, believe me.

– That’s true. Yeah, yeah. Having a full-course load is difficult, yeah, as you say, even for Canadians. You know, it’s a big shock, especially if you’re coming straight from high school.

– Mm-hmm.

– It’s always a big shock and then to take a full-course load, so that you’re right. Transferring the credits and then having a lighter course load each semester, it’s gonna make life a lot easier for the international students. What kind of programs, I know, but can you share for the audience? What are the programs that students are taking at Tamwood that are transferring into other institutions?

– The most popular one is Hospitality. As you may know, Canada is popular for Hospitality and Tourism industry. Our schools located in Vancouver and Toronto, big cities, students love our programs. And we have many jobs in different places. It could be hotels, restaurants, travel companies. So we do have main transfer agreements for Hospitality and Tourism. We do have transfer for Business. Again, big choice. If you’re from high school, you can complete your Bachelor Degree later. If you’re already experienced, mature person with work background, we have both graduate programs available. We do have transfer for Web Development or Graphic Design course. So if you are I.T. mind, your mind is in I.T., you wanna work with a Marketing or with developing websites, we do have transfer for those programs as well. And I would say it’s a key industries and booming industries now in Canada, so it shouldn’t be,

– You mean the I.T., the I.T. is booming industry, yeah.

– Especially Web Development, like I notice with our students, even if you have zero skills in I.T., but you wanna step in, Web Development would be a great way to start. ‘Cause Programming is not that hard. There are many jobs for you to find the work and practice your skills. And then, in a couple of years, you can move on if you want to development or something else. Yeah, so great way to start for you.

– Right, right.

– And we also offer UX and UI as well, and there’s also credit transfer opportunities for students who study in all of those programs at Tamwood, right?

– Yeah, if you designer,

– Yeah.

– designer mind, it’s booming as well. Like everyone, try to sell their products, they want beautiful design, beautiful logos,

– Right.

– so, you can take that opportunity

– Yeah,

– to get that course here.

– Right, right. So, explain your role and how you help students in this process? So a student approaches Tamwood, wants to ultimately, hopes to immigrate one day, wants to set themselves up for that, and what’s your role in this process?

– I’m a counselor, so I help you to get what you want.

– First, we will talk to you. Try to understand what’s the final plans are, obviously 99% of students they wanna immigrate, but then there are so many different ways to do that. So, depends of student profile, we make individual plan. What we need to do, what grades do you need to have. I help with the program choice, ’cause as I said, we have many different partnerships. So, it depends of student profile, we get like, up to three programs student want, like will think about later. Then, I help with everything with application process, so you don’t need to worry about how to apply, what documents to prepare, I will help you with everything. So, I will tell you the least, what you need. I will submit your application. I will track it down, so you just focus on your studies, and your work, and then just reply to my emails whenever you receive one. And before you start the program, I also help with course registration. And it’s another confusing thing here in Canada, so your programs in public institution, most likely, they are not fixed list of courses. You need to choose one, you need to register for once, and I help you with that as well. So, literally, from the beginning, till you leave Tamwood and you start your new program, I will guide you through entire process. And even after, if you still have some questions, you can always come back to us. And ask them and if you need help, we will help you out.

– Yeah. I mean, I’m proud of the service that you give. That’s a fantastic service and I love the fact that we can offer that to students at no cost to the students as well. It’s something that Tamwood offers as part of its service to its students, so, yeah, that’s wonderful. Any advice to students who want to pursue a pathway, anything they should know in advance? Or anything they should come prepared for?

– The big advice is just sit and think, “What you wanna do here in Canada?” You will immigrate eventually, I promise you, if you want to. But then, I noticed that the most difficult part for the person to choose their career, ’cause eventually you need to find a job, ideally, you need to like this job. So, when you come to Canada, you have opportunity to start your life from the scratch. If you wanna change your career, perfect, come to Canada and do that. If you wanna get higher salary, better job title, you can do that as well. So think first about what kind of career you want and then start from that, we can build the pathway for you from where you are now to reach your goal in the future. So, this yeah, I would say, the most important part, the rest is

– Yeah.

– just the process. Yeah.

– It’s such an exciting time in people’s lives, right? When they come to Canada and you’re playing such an important part.

– Mm-hmm.

– Such an important role in helping them, sort of guiding them and supporting them in this journey to achieve these goals, right? And it must be really fulfilling for you?

– Yeah, for sure. I really like,

– Yeah.

– like, yeah, I love my job. ‘Cause mainly, I help people to change their lives. And it’s nice to see when, even now here, I can see that students are happy where they are, they like the programs. They find good jobs, with some of them, we even become a friends. And you know that they eventually immigrate, they start families, buy house is here. But, they couldn’t even imagine to do that when they cross the border, right? Usually broke,

– Right. Yeah.

– try to find a job,

– Yeah.

– Frustrated, but then, at the end, everything is good.

– And Canada is just so welcoming right now. I know Canada has a very aggressive immigration strategy. It’s trying to increase the number of immigrants coming to Canada. And there’s seems to be a big push to recruit or to attract immigrants, I mean through an education pathway. That seems to be the case, isn’t it?

– Mm-hmm, yeah.

– Yeah.

– Very popular, yeah. ‘Cause main idea is for immigration. Like, Canada wants professionals to come here, so you can work, you can pay your taxes. And when you study here, you integrate in local culture. So, it’s also easier for you to find a better job and pay higher taxes, right?

– Yeah.

– So, Canada will help you, for sure.

– Well, there are taxes in Canada, but there’s also great public services that come with that, right?

– Right, definitely! The lifestyle is great, like you probably read many articles about how Canada, how Vancouver is the best place to live. So, yeah.

– Yeah, great. And you’re also helping students going to, I know you’re based in Vancouver, but you also work with our students across Canada. You’re also in touch with students in Toronto, so students have access to your services and to the Pathway Department, regardless of which campus they’re attending.

– Yeah. And thanks to technology, so we can have a call anytime. We don’t need to meet in person. Yeah, it doesn’t matter where you go. We can help you here, for sure.

– Yeah. Well, thank you, Veronika, for sharing your knowledge about Pathway Programs and opportunities for students through our Pathway Program to achieve their goals. And it’s been great having you on the show.

– Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It was fun.

– Okay.

– Thank you.

– Bye.

– Bye.

– That’s all for this week’s episode of “Work And Study in Canada”, brought to you by Tamwood Careers. Tamwood is a private education company operating career colleges in Toronto, Vancouver, and Whistler, Canada. Tamwood offers popular Work and Study Programs in fields like Business, Hospitality and Tourism, Digital Marketing, Web Design, UX, UI, and Entrepreneurship. International students who study with Tamwood gain valuable work experience in Canada, and start on a pathway to a successful career and immigration in Canada. If you’d like more information about Tamwood and its programs, visit our website, You can also check out our videos on YouTube and connect with us on social at Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn