If you are aspiring to study in Canada, admission to your dream university is only the first step. You will also be thinking about networking, finding internships/Co-op, jobs, and maybe settling down eventually, right? In this post, we will discuss one important hack that can help you with college admissions, networking, employment, and immigration/PR in Canada.
Volunteering and Community Work are an Integral Part of Candian Culture
Throughout Canada’s history, its culture has been influenced by European culture and traditions, mostly by the British and French, and by its own indigenous cultures. Canada is often characterized as being “very progressive, diverse, and multicultural”.
In Canada, there are several ethnocentric communities with many diverse backgrounds, including Chinese, Indian, Italian, and Greek.
Our lifestyle gives us a sense of belonging; it gives us our identity which is vital for our well-being and happiness. When newcomers arrive in Canada, they have to rebuild their friendships and connections to help them feel welcome.
– Susan Hancock, Embracing Canadian culture through community connections
Volunteering is an integral part of Canadian culture. Children are encouraged to do it, and high school students must complete mandatory volunteer hours. Adults volunteer their time and skills at charities, non-profit organizations, political parties, religious faith organizations, youth groups, and many other places.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2013, 44% of the population, aged 15 years and older, participated in some form of volunteer work. Even if you look at the Canadian Government’s Immigration page, you will understand more about it.
Now, let’s understand how exactly volunteering and community work can help you in Canada.
How Community Work can help you in Canada with Admissions, Networking, Jobs & PR
Snow-capped mountains, amazing sea beaches, the majestic Niagara Falls, and scores and scores of maple trees – that’s Canada for you! The country is one of the most sought-after places for students, given its hospitable people, work culture, and high quality of education. Canada stands out as one of the most prominent education hubs in the world for many reasons:
- Education is affordable
- The country promotes cultural diversity
- Academic excellence
- Ample research opportunities
- Earn while you learn
- The country is safe and peaceful
- Offers a vibrant and lively campus life
Education is a broad concept. It encompasses numerous other aspects apart from academics alone. Community work or community service is one indispensable segment of education. This refers to any kind of work performed by an individual or a group for the development and upliftment of society without any remuneration.
If you are a student and planning to move to Canada for further studies, then it is of utmost importance that you take up some community service. This would not only amplify your chances of getting admitted to your dream university but also, help you with networking, jobs, and settling down.
How Community Work Can Help with College Admissions in Canada
Universities in Canada do not necessarily look for academic excellence in a student. They look for individuals who are not only academically inclined, but are also impactful intellectuals who are creative, have leadership traits, and are willing to make an impact in the society they’re living in.
Your willingness to work with communities – neighborhood, families, or across societal boundaries would fetch you brownie points when you apply for Canadian Universities. When you are deeply and passionately invested in volunteering opportunities, you reap meaningful contributions.
Quality always matters over quantity, in community service. You teach one underprivileged child. You transform one life. This is more impactful than teaching a score of children who are unable to get your exclusive attention.
Very recently, we have seen young individuals come forward to provide relief kits for frontline Covid-19 warriors. If you have done something like this, or have volunteered in some storm / flood-stricken area, it comes as a very valid point for college admissions.
How Community Work Can Help with Networking
This is perhaps a bonus when you are engaged in community service. When you serve at the grass-root level, you come in contact with real people and real issues. Strategic volunteering comes with valuable networking prospects.
When you work towards greater goals, with socially conscious individuals, you get to network with like-minded people. Canadian Universities call for cultural diversity. There, it is even more interesting when you get to connect with people from different socio-cultural backgrounds. These connections, if cultivated properly, might help you land your dream role at an organization.
You might as well be employed by some really big MNC with strong corporate social responsibility principles. Who knows, you could even be the face of the company’s CSR projects! Networking comes with hidden surprises.
Canada has a hidden job market. The hidden job market refers to positions that are filled without the employer advertising for it publicly. It is said that as much as 65-85% of the jobs are not posted online. This is why building your network is crucial, and volunteering is a great way to get started.
How Community Work Can Help with Finding Jobs in Canada
Engaging in community service allows you to explore those aspects of an organization, which otherwise go unexplored. For instance, if one is volunteering for a food bank, s/he might develop a knack for accounting. Then again, when someone is engaged with some kind of community arts, s/he finds dealing with social media quite interesting.
Thus, in these few ways (and many more) one might be able to impact his / her own life, but also those who are being served. Canada is one place where these activities are embraced with the utmost consideration.
Community service also helps in advancing your career if you are already working. These can help develop new skills and reinforce those skills which you are already using at work. Serving a community, more often than not, helps to develop leadership skills – serving an opportunity for you to place yourself in a better position for the next job. It can as well help you build a Canadian work portfolio.
Workplace Culture in Canada
In Canada, workplace expectations are sometimes quite different than many other countries and cultures. Canadian workplace culture expects you to be good at speaking, listening, and socializing with other people; to know the etiquette of working harmoniously with co-workers, colleagues, and supervisors; and to understand a good range of cross-cultural differences in the workplace. This is why volunteering and community work can be very advantageous for you to be a good fit for Canadian organizations.
How Community Work Can Help You with Immigration/PR in Canada
If you are a newcomer to this country and dream of settling down, it is important that you start interacting with your local community and get involved in some kind of community service.
Volunteering is an important part of Canadian culture. Canadian citizens devote a lot of time, money, and energy to issues they feel strongly about, and they do this on a daily basis. However, they do not expect anything in return.
If you are deeply invested in this country and wish to make an impact on your life and others, it is time you start making friends. This could be a little challenging at the outset. However, there are volunteers who could introduce you to like-minded people and you can start thereof.
Settling down in Canada is not difficult if you have a strong portfolio of one or diversified community service. A few of the causes you might like to volunteer could be:
- Environmental issues
- Refugee welfare
- Women’s rights
- Managing donations
- Organizing events
- Planting trees
- Cleaning beaches
As mentioned earlier, Canadians are extremely hospitable and progressive people, and calling yourself a Canadian citizen would entail a lot of dedication, devotion, and determination towards community issues the country faces with.
You are sure to emerge as a transformed, educated, and enlightened individual, once you devote yourself to the service of this nation.
Featured Image Source: CBC News