To achieve post-secondary goals, learners require commitment and sacrifice to make their dreams a reality. For those who study internationally, costs multiply and extra determination is needed to succeed.
On November 30, Selkirk College will hold its annual gala at Mary Hall on Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus where the community is invited to join in a celebration of student talents while raising funds for scholarships and bursaries. This year’s theme is “Remarkable Together” with proceeds from the evening going towards helping both international students and domestic students who study abroad to reach their educational goals.
Kristina De Castro (left) and Anju Pradeep (right) are students in Selkirk College’s Post-Graduate Diploma in Gerontological Nursing Program on the Castlegar Campus. This year’s Selkirk College Gala 2019 is raising funds for scholarships and bursaries to help both international students and domestic students who study abroad pay for the cost of their education.
“All of the students in my program, it takes courage to leave their home to come here and survive,” says Anju Pradeep, a second-year student in the Post-Graduate Diploma in Gerontological Nursing Program. “It takes lots of pain for us to leave our country and adapt to another country. But Selkirk College and the Canadian people are so supportive, that helps make us do it.”
In line with federal and provincial government strategy, post-secondary institutions across British Columbia have bolstered the number of international students on campuses over the last six years. At Selkirk College, international students study in an array of programs from the School of Business to the School of Hospitality & Tourism. The goal of many students is to combine credentials with a Canadian education to immigrate, build a new life and contribute to their adopted communities.
Great Sacrifice Required to Study Internationally
From southern India, Pradeep earned her Bachelor of Nursing and worked in the health care field for a number of years before deciding to seek new opportunities in Canada. She discovered Selkirk College’s Post-Graduate Diploma in Gerontological Nursing Program and joined a cohort of international students on the Castlegar Campus in 2018.
“The dignity that a nurse has in India is less than in Canada, in this country it is a dignified position,” says the 28-year-old, who left behind her husband and daughter to study in the West Kootenay. “Leaving my family was so difficult, my daughter was only one-year-old when I left. But when I think it about it, it is for her own future too. If I stayed in India, all the things that I can give her in life will be less compared to Canada.”
After spending the first eight months alone, Pradeep’s husband and daughter were granted visas and joined her in Castlegar earlier this year. Though her husband has a full-time job and she works 20 hours a week, making ends meet is a challenge. The base cost for international students to get a post-secondary education is more than double that of domestic learners.
“I’m so excited to hear about this kind of support for future students,” Pradeep says of Gala 2019’s fundraising effort. “When we come here, we do need support financially because it costs us a lot of money. This kind of financial support is important because the struggle will be less for future students.”
Inspired by Promise for a Brighter Future
Kristina De Castro arrived to Castlegar from her home in the Philippines to join the Post-Graduate Diploma in Gerontological Nursing cohort at the same time as Pradeep. Like her classmate, De Castro earned her Bachelor of Nursing and by the time she decided to leave the Philippines was in a supervisory position. With a similar view of the nursing profession in her home country, the single mother of a seven-year-old son decided to seek a brighter future in Canada.
“For the first three months after I arrived, I was crying every night because I missed my son,” says De Castro, whose mother is caring for her child back in the Philippines. “But when I think about how my future is better in Canada compared to the Philippines, it’s the family that provides me that inspiration to keep going.”
Though she receives some support from her parents, it’s a struggle for De Castro to afford an international education. Earlier this year, she received a $500 bursary from Selkirk College and it helped reaffirm why she chose to advance her education in the West Kootenay.
“We study hard and to get a financial award, it makes it feel like a reward for all the hard work we are putting in,” says the 31-year-old. “It also helps you feel appreciated and supported. It’s very difficult to leave your home and live in a new country, you get down emotionally. When you receive an award like this, it helps make you more determined to complete your studies.”
The funds raised at Selkirk College Gala 2019 will also go towards scholarships and bursaries that encourage domestic students to study abroad as a compliment to their post-secondary education.
The annual gala is a showcase of student talents in the Professional Cook Training Program, Resort & Hotel Management Program and Contemporary Music & Technology Program. It is a remarkable evening of food, service, music and great company. The night includes a silent and live auction supported by the generosity of regional partners.
Tickets for Selkirk College Gala 2019 are $70 each or $520 for a table of eight. You can purchase tickets and find out more information here.