How an ECA Helped Kirti Find Her Home in Canada
Kirti Tambe was seeking new opportunities when she moved from India to the United States in 2013 to pursue a master’s degree from New York University (NYU).
After receiving an undergraduate degree in computer science and engineering in India, Kirti was led to NYU by a desire to experience life outside of her home country. She already knew she wanted to obtain a master’s degree and, as she explains, “When I got admitted to NYU, that was it. I wanted to go to New York.”
Kirti pursued a degree in technology management at NYU, which led to a significant stay in the U.S. “I was in the U.S. for seven to eight years,” she recalls.
The Journey North from NYU
Kirti has been in Canada now for nearly three years after moving in the middle of the pandemic because of the uncertainty of her U.S. immigration status. “I was on a student visa, but I couldn’t get my work visa. It was making me feel unstable. Not knowing how long this was going to go on for and what was going to happen, I think all of that triggered my decision to move to Canada.”
Kirti also says that she took the time to see what moving to Canada would be like before she made a decision. “I saw how things worked over here. I got my permanent residency, so things would be more stable if I moved here.”
Elaborating on her decision to come to Canada, Kirti alludes again to the idea of certainty. “I think I had reached that point in life where I needed the stability. I had to do it for myself, basically.”
Becoming a Canadian Permanent Resident
Talking about her journey to becoming a permanent resident in Canada, Kirti notes that part of her process was obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from World Education Services (WES) which is required for immigration to Canada.
An ECA is used to assess the equivalency of educational credentials (degrees, diplomas, certificates, and so on) earned in other countries, and to compare them to Canadian standards.
Note: Since April 2013, WES has been one of five ECA providers designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Kirti explains that receiving an ECA from WES was straightforward. “My university had to send transcripts directly to WES, and that was fairly simple for me,” she says. “The university did their part, and WES got it in time, so I didn’t have issues there.”
There were some steps in the process which Kirti admits were unclear to her. But she quickly points out that her confusion was minimized because of the instructions that WES provided and the assistance she received from the WES customer support team.
Work Life in Canada
Kirti’s ECA from WES also helped her transition more seamlessly in her career from the U.S. to Canada, where she now works as a senior business analyst for TD Bank at its Toronto headquarters. However, Kirti’s path to this career was not a straightforward one. “When I moved here, I didn't have a job,” she says.
Immigrants sometimes struggle to find a job in Canada because prospective employers do not understand their international education achievements and how they compare to Canadian standards. This confusion often arises from a lack of understanding of what material is taught to students in other countries compared with what is taught in Canada. For instance, does earning a bachelor’s degree from India suggest that the degree holder can sufficiently perform the same job in Canada as someone who obtained a bachelor’s degree locally?
ECAs can help by clearly establishing the equivalency of an internationally earned educational credential. ECAs could make it easier for employers to assess an international candidate’s fit for a job based on their educational achievements in another country.
Once WES receives, reviews, and accepts all required documents and fees, the processing time for an ECA is approximately 35 business days. This means applicants who obtain an ECA with WES can move quickly to begin establishing their career in Canada.
Note: WES also offers ECAs for candidates educated in France and other Francophone countries, and WES accepts academic documents in French and offers French-speaking customer support.
Now, thanks in part to her ECA from WES, Kirti says that she is exactly where she wants to be.
“I was looking for and worked with a couple of other companies. But I think I landed where I want to be,” Kirti shares.
Life in Canada Beyond Employment
Beyond building her career, Kirti is finding time to engage with her community. “Besides working with TD Bank, I am doing some volunteer work. Now I have time where I can think about the other things I want to do,” she says.
In her spare time, Kirti volunteers with Together Project, a Toronto-based charitable initiative that assists refugees who are new to Canada. Volunteers like Kirti are matched with a refugee family whom they help with settling down in Canada. “According to the needs of the family and what skills I have, they set us up, and over the course of about six months, we work with them and help them with anything they need. Any settlement processes or anything that they need help with basically,” Kirti explains.
When she talks about why she volunteers with Together Project, Kirti points out that she can relate to the refugees she works with. “You can relate to their struggle since you’ve been through the process. You can guide them. These people come in with families and kids. There’s so much that you can do to help them. And I think that’s been great for me.”
Advice for Newcomers
Kirti says her advice for others considering a move to Canada largely depends on the person’s goals.
“Everybody has different goals and reasons they would want to move here. If you really want to move to Canada and questioning if it’s the right move, my advice would be to go ahead without any apprehensions.”
Immigrating to a new country may come with challenges but as Kirti shared, making the move to Canada was ultimately worth the journey.
“Every country has different [things to offer] and has pros and cons, so it depends on what you are looking for. But I would say go for it. Don’t second-guess it. It’s going to work out well for you—career, personal growth, everything.”
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