Today, he works as a Small Business Advisor at Scotiabank.
We caught up with him to ask questions about his journey as an immigrant to Hamilton.
Tell us your story of coming to Canada as an immigrant.
AG: We came to Canada 5 years ago from Romania. Life was challenging in Eastern Europe, my wife and I had great jobs, but that wasn’t enough to prosper. We realized that middle class was shrinking in our county every year and we might not be able to afford an education for our daughter and offer her a decent life. We looked at multiple emigration options and we choose Canada.
Tell us about your work/school/family life in Romania.
AG: I have a degree in finance and banking and I worked for a bank in Romania, I was dealing with small businesses which I really enjoyed doing. Previously I worked in sales.
What has been your journey of entering the workforce in Canada?
AG: When we arrived, I had a chance to get my degree from Romania recognized, but after a few attempts of finding a job at a financial institution, I realized that it would be much easier if I had a Canadian diploma. I decided to go back to school. Before I could back to school I had to improve my English – which I did at IWC – where I attended the evening classes for over a year.
One year later, I graduated from the Financial Services Program at Mohawk College. Going back to school was a great experience. I had the chance to meet extraordinary people. Before my graduation I had multiple jobs offers from different financial institutions. The college was a great place to network and meet new people. Since my graduation, I have worked for Scotiabank, as a small business advisor.
What was your experience adjusting to life in Canada?
AG: Adjusting to life in Canada wasn’t easy, things work differently. The first year was a learning curve. After that we found our place in the local community. We had a plan in place and worked according to that regarding school, jobs, etc. We started to enjoy our life here when we started to accomplish a few things.
What do you enjoy about life in Hamilton?
AG: Hamilton is a great place. It is very diverse and welcoming and we meet many people with different backgrounds. In addition to this, the city is changing in a very fast pace. Hamilton offers a lot of opportunities to study or start your own business, and is conveniently located between Toronto and Niagara Falls, so it gives you the option to work anywhere between those two cities.
Do you have any advice for newcomers to Canada today?
AG: Even though it’s difficult in the first couple years, try to learn as much as you can about the culture – about how things work – and set some goals for yourself. Work towards those goals every day. Don’t give up. Make the best out of it.