Country of Origin:
Immigration, Asian Heritage, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity, Adjusting to Life in Canada
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I have over 10 years of experience in the banking industry and owned a consulting business. I hold a BA in Administration and Information Management with Honours from Ryerson University in Toronto, a diploma in Adult Training and Development from the University of Toronto, and two accredited certificates in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESL Canada and Trinity College London, England). I have lived and worked in three international cities (Beijing, Hong Kong and Toronto) and travelled extensively across 15+ countries.
I have facilitated and designed over 200 public and private experiential training programs which have been used by learners globally. My day-trading venture was in The Record (local paper of the Kitchener/Waterloo Region). I led a Toastmasters movement in Hong Kong and won the Area Governor of the Year award (Pan-Southeast Asia Pacific Region). I am the first Distinguished Toastmaster in the Hong Kong Division.
I was born in Hong Kong. My father was an electrician and owned a store. My mother was a full-time housewife taking care of four children. It’s very unfortunate that my father passed away unexpectedly when I was six. You could imagine the challenges my mother faced as she was only 30 and a single mother of four (ages 8, 6, 4, and 2). However, I did not lack anything because my mother took good care of me. I never worried about food and education. She always wanted one of us to have a university degree.
I worked very hard and strived to save some education funds. Canada was very receptive to professional immigrants back in the 1980s. I applied to both Canada and Australia as an administrative professional. Got their visas within months. I chose Canada because it struck me as a very open and diversified country. I also loved the education system. Very affordable at that time for one with a landed immigrant status.
My university life has always been the best time of my life. I completed all the required credits a year sooner than most of my fellow students. Here is a typical day:
Got up at 6:00 am. Bought a small coffee and occasionally a bagel with cream cheese before an 8:00 am class. I often had half a bagel left for dinner around 8:00 pm when I worked as a lab monitor. To save some transportation money, I would choose to walk instead of spending a subway token. Winter times could be quite challenging. Back in the 90s we had severe winter days around -40 degree C with wind-chill. You may be curious to know how much I saved by not taking a subway train. It was less than a dollar.
There are months when I considered Wonder Bread as my best friend. I had 2 slices as my daily meal. Occasionally with margarine when it was on sale for less than a dollar. Most would feel sorry for me as I did live like a church mouse for my university years.
I completed my university degree with honours and I was one of the favourite students of most lecturers. Being alone in a foreign country, I had only myself to count on. If I had questions, my shaking hand would be the first one up to ask questions.
If you have a dream that’s worth pursuing, go for it! Enjoy the tangible challenges and intangible rewards throughout the pursuit.