Don’t be afraid to follow your decision!

Don’t be afraid to follow your decision!

Natalie Tran, CIS Class of 2015, Office Manager at VietCan Immigration, Canada

Hi CISS-ers!

My name is Khanh Nhi and I studied at CIS for Grades 10 and 11 in 2014 before coming to Canada to complete my high school studies at Governor Simcoe Secondary School in 2015. I graduated from the Paralegal Program at Sheridan College in 2017 and am a Licensed Paralegal with the Law Society of Ontario. Currently, I am working as an Office Manager at VietCan Immigration, a Vietnamese immigration firm locating at Mississauga, Ontario.

During my studies, I achieved the Governor General’s Academic Bronze Medal for academic excellence upon graduating from a secondary school in 2015. I also achieved several academic awards during my post-secondary education at Sheridan College. You might think that I am bragging about my education, but I earned these awards because I followed my own decisions. I hope my story will help you believe in yourself as I did and become a successful person in life.

In Grade 11, my friends and I had to face the first big decision in life which was, “Whether to stay at CIS to study Grade 12 or study abroad”. I wanted to take on new challenges and decided to graduate from high school in Canada.

Nhi with CIS Grade 11 students in 2014

At that time, my brother was living in Vancouver so my parents hoped I would go there so he could take care of me. This was the first time I did not follow my parents’ advice and decided instead to go to St. Catharines, Ontario.  It was my first correct decision, as I met such great people and learned priceless lessons about Canadian culture and norms. Thanks to the knowledge I had learned at CIS, I was not too shocking when I came to Canada and I easily blended into the new environment and started my studies.

At the end of high school, when I was struggling to decide on a major and a university my friends had already registered with their undergraduate schools. They told me that they just simply “followed their parent’s choices” to study what their parents wanted. For me, I did not want to do that. I wanted to follow my own decisions and did not want to have regrets later.

High school graduation with friends from CIS - Governor Simcoe Secondary School, St.Catharines

In the beginning, I applied for several universities including University of Toronto, Queen’s University and York University in Political Science. All because my mother, who is a lawyer, wanted me to be like her.  At the time I dreamt of becoming a wedding planner but I was persuaded to study law. I did intensive research on each occupation, listed the advantages and disadvantages of both. Eventually, I realized I did not have a future in the wedding industry. I then accepted the offer at Queen’s University but one day, I met a paralegal and our conversation changed my life completely.

A paralegal can be explained as a licensed legal practitioner in Canada, similar to a lawyer, but with a limited scope of practice. For example, a paralegal cannot work in Family Law but a lawyer can. The respective paralegal told me about his stories whenever he went to court for a case or how he resolved a hard case and helped his clients reclaim their hard-earned money. Those stories inspired me deeply and  changed my mind.

Since I was not passionate about studying law at the time but also did not want to disappoint my mother; studying a two-year diploma paralegal program was “the best of both worlds”. I could study law as my mother wanted and complete it early so I could  become a permanent resident in Canada sooner and study whatever I wanted later. I spent a month persuading my parents and brother and eventually they accepted my decision. As a result, I cancelled my offer from Queen’s University and enrolled in the Sheridan College Paralegal Program.

I studied extremely hard, got into an Immigration firm for my internship after the first try, and graduated in 2017 with a High Honours diploma. Sheridan College taught me such hands-on practical skills that I could apply these right away at my workplace and proved my abilities to my supervisor. My hard work paid off as I got a permanent full-time job offer at the same firm immediately after I graduated. I worked there for a year and became a Licensed Paralegal in 2018. Afterward, I moved to VietCan Immigration and became an Office Manager for both Vietnamese and Canadian branches after just 1.5 years.

College Graduation - Paralegal program - Sheridan College - 2017

Now, I am loving my job in VietCan Immigration, helping my juniors and clients achieve the same goal I had before. Seeing their happiness when they are approved for a Work Permit or Permanent Residency makes me feel so proud of my decision to study the paralegal program. My parents are also happy with my current success and proudly “bragging” about me to their relatives and friends.

Represent company at Top Agent Awards with Seneca College - Oct 2018

I truly hope my long story has helped you to believe in yourself.  Listen to advice, compromise, and decide for your own future. Thanks CIS for teaching such treasured knowledge and confidence in myself that has become the basis of my success today.