Continuing Studies leads immigrants like Waqar Jan to new opportunities
If you’re new to B.C., Waqar Jan is a good man to know.
Jan works with immigrants to help them settle into life in Canada, connecting them to language and job training and introducing them to the ways of their new home. He knows the journey well. Jan came to Vancouver from Peshawar in 2004 and it took him three years to settle into a profession and career path.
A UBC Continuing Studies program was instrumental in helping him find his way.
“I have been in that situation, I know what’s going through their mind,” he says of his path toward a full-time job with the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society. “To help them is the best feeling because I have been through that.”
“The most important thing I learned was the confidence to communicate with people with other perspectives.”
In Pakistan, Jan worked in international development. He has a master’s degree in social anthropology and spent 12 years working with local communities, community based organizations and non-governmental organizations in remote, mountainous rural areas of Pakistan on issues related to forestry, watershed management, environment and integrated rural development.
When he moved to Canada, he was suddenly in a very different position. He was in a new place and nobody could fully appreciate what he had to offer.
“What I thought I could build on was my experience working with people.”
Jan knew he wanted to work for a non-profit, helping immigrants settle quickly in the country. After much research, he decided to pursue a Certificate in Intercultural Studies and a Certificate in International Development offered by UBC Continuing Studies.
Five reasons to check out UBC Continuing Studies
Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership
Intensive one-week professional development program.
UBC Certificate in Digital Strategy
New online program in collaboration with the Sauder School of Business.
UBC Certificate in International Development
Award winning online program with a new field study option in Thailand.
Summer Institute in Social Media: Introduction to Social Media Tools and Community Engagement
One-week immersion program on the fundamentals of social media.
One Day @ UBC
Single-Saturday liberal arts courses with UBC professors.
For more information on these and other UBC Continuing Studies courses and programs, visit cstudies.ubc.ca.
When he started his courses in 2007, Jan had what he calls survival jobs. He drove a cab and worked security.
Like other immigrants, he looked for a way to build his credentials and networks while earning a living. The flexible class schedule and the option to pay course by course allowed him to complete his Certificate in Intercultural Studies.
“It was a big class, lots of different cultures and I learned to engage with the whole class,” he says. “The most important thing I learned was the confidence to communicate with people with other perspectives.”
Now he is a full-time staff member at the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society, introducing newcomers to the job market and helping them settle and integrate into Canadian society.
Over 13,000 people take Continuing Studies courses every year and more than 1,200 of them sign up for certificate programs to advance their careers.
“Continuing Studies has always been a gateway to campus for adult learners,” says Karen Rolston, a program director in Continuing Studies. “Many of those learners are professionals looking to transition to the next step in their careers.”
More than 250,000 people immigrate to Canada each year – 40,000 of them settle in British Columbia. Rolston says Continuing Studies works with UBC faculties and employers to create programs that meet the ever-changing learning needs of professionals in Canadian workplaces.
“We’re creating more bridging programs for new immigrants to help them transition their experience from their home country to a career in Canada. Ultimately it is Canada that will benefit from having people with their skills and talent.”
Recently celebrating its 75th anniversary, UBC Continuing Studies is developing new online programs to make learning more flexible and accessible to students. It is also expanding its summer learning programs, offering more than 90 one-week courses on subjects as diverse as Mandarin Chinese, social media and sustainability.
To see more stories of Continuing Studies adult learners, visit: http://stories.cstudies.ubc.ca/