Sima Gul Qasemi
Arriving from Afghanistan with a strong educational background, Sima Gul Qusemi began seeking advice on how to build her career, and she was surprised that she was told by people to start over and do a bachelor’s degree again because employers won’t recognize her previous education in Canada. Having worked so hard to achieve her academic credentials, this advice discouraged and confused her.
Then when Sima found the York University Bridging program, she realized she did not have to start again.
” As an Afghani refugee and participant in the Foundations Program at York University, one of the significant challenges I faced was the lack of recognition and understanding of my qualifications and work experience from Afghanistan within the Canadian context. This posed a barrier to securing employment in my field and required me to explore alternative pathways and opportunities”. In addition, she explained, “As a newcomer in Canada I faced specific challenges and barriers when I searched employment, I didn't know how to start and what is the best way”.
“Through the Foundations Program, I was able to bridge this gap by gaining Canadian-specific knowledge, enhancing my language skills, and acquiring relevant certifications or credentials”, she explained. “I gained several valuable skills and experiences. I developed a strong foundation in Canadian workplace communication and interpersonal skills”, she added. Sima explained that “the program also enhanced my understanding of labor market trends, job search strategies, and the importance of continuous learning and professional development”.
Another challenge faced Sima and many Newcomers was having a limited professional network and connections in Canada. “Networking plays a crucial role in accessing job opportunities, and as a newcomer, building a network can be particularly challenging. The IEP Program provided me with a supportive events, seminars, webinars, and professionals who guided me in expanding my network. This helped me gain access to job leads and valuable insights into the Canadian labor market”. Sima also explained that Cultural differences and unfamiliarity with Canadian workplace norms and practices were additional challenges she faced, “the Foundations Program not only equipped me with the necessary skills but also provided us resources to better understand the Canadian work culture. This enabled me to adapt and integrate effectively into the Canadian labor market”. In summarizing her experience in the program Sima explained: “Overall, my unique experience as an Afghani refugee navigating the Canadian labor market has been challenging but rewarding. The Foundations Program at York University has played a crucial role in helping me overcome these challenges and provided me with the necessary tools and support to succeed.”
“The IEP Program provided me with supportive events, seminars, webinars, and professionals who guided me in expanding my network. This helped me gain access to job leads and valuable insights into the Canadian labor market.”