If you’re wondering what happens in our Work & Study Programs, we asked some of our successful applicants for you!

We understand that it’s not easy to make the decision to study and work abroad and leave your home behind. But you don’t need to make that decision yourself. Help is always available for those who ask for it — and we heard you!

In this first of a series, Trisha Sagun (taking up Hotel and Restaurant Operations at Niagara College Canada) answers some of your burning questions about life once you start your study abroad journey. Niagara is located at Welland, Ontario, which is home to 50,000 residents in the heart of Niagara Region.

See Trisha’s Q&A below:

How would you describe the people and the environment?

I love it here! People are polite and respectful. I never felt like an outsider. 

How would you describe the cost of living?

My campus is actually in Niagara-on-the-Lake and I’m staying at Downtown St. Catharines.

I believe cost of living in Welland is more affordable than in Downtown. My rent is at 550 CAD a month but there are room rentals that are so much more affordable and bigger than mine. Budget is tight because we are only allowed 20 hours a week of off campus work that is why some students considered working two jobs: on and off campus. But I guess we just have to be responsible and smart with the spending so that we can save a little. 

Photo courtesy of Trisha Sagun
Tell us about the nature of your work. Also, is it easy to balance work and studies together?

I just started training as a team member at Tim Horton’s two weeks ago. It’s a Canadian quick service restaurant that serves coffee, donuts, pastries, etc. (think Starbucks but more affordable). The first week of working: it was quite difficult to balance work and study considering that I am still adjusting to way of living here but employers are so considerate and flexible in giving you hours that are convenient for you.

Was it easy or challenging for you to find part-time employment?
During spring, summer, and autumn, finding a job would be easy; everybody is hiring. I got my job with a referral from a kababayan I met at school. She said they’ve also experienced to be the “new kid” in a foreign country so they help out as much as they can. 
On winters, though, most companies cut their employees work hours (or that’s what they told me).
Photo courtesy of Trisha Sagun
Would you say that your hourly wage is enough to offset your living costs?
It would be enough, like I said earlier, we just have to spend smart. Tiis while we’re still at school because I know that after graduation we’re going to get more hours i.e. more money.  But we can work full time on holidays and reading weeks (mid-term break) so that’s extra cash.
We can earn more or less 1200 CAD a month — my rent is at 550 CAD monthly (all inclusive including my own ensuite) and I budget 50-75 CAD max a week for my food and trust me when I say “I can eat.” Haha.
Name one thing that you miss the most about the Philippines.

I miss my family the most! Coming home to a meal ready for you to pig on. But I chose to come here for them so I guess I’ll be fine.

Did you encounter any difficulties when you first came to Canada?
I did! Getting a local ID, opening a bank account, applying for work permit and SIN (Social Insurance Number). Travelling around here was so confusing and I was scared! I didn’t know anything in this place, I got lost a lot of times (I don’t know how many people I’ve asked for directions when I got here but they’re all really nice to be truthful) and I didn’t know how the system works. Now I realised, everything was just in my head. A few months after staying here, I can say I’ve adjusted well enough to go around to places I’ve never been to. 
Photo courtesy of Trisha Sagun
A lot of Filipinos are interested to go abroad through the Work & Study Program. However, some of them are conflicted because it is a big investment (both personally and financially). What would be your advice to them?
I believe investing on yourself is the best one you can make. It’ll be worth it. And … I might be broke now but I know my future self would thank me.
What are your plans after you graduate?

After graduation, I am taking a term off and will start working full time (January-April 2019). I will come back to school on May for a second program to become eligible for a two-year post graduate work permit. Before I left for Canada I was worried that I won’t be able to save enough money for my second program, but just recently, Canadian Immigration changed the rules and are letting international students to have at least 150 days to work in between programs and still be eligible for the post-graduate work permit.

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Study abroad now.

Start your studies abroad as early as now. CIS’ info seminars serve as the first steps for you to learn more about the Work & Study Abroad program, meet our partner schools, and ask away those burning questions.

You may drop by our office or schedule a general orientation here.

We hope to see you soon!

2 Comments
  • PATRICIA DAVID
    Posted August 28, 2018 11:33 am 0Likes

    I am interested. Where is your office?

    • Rene Bueno
      Posted August 28, 2018 12:32 pm 0Likes

      Hi Patricia. We are located at 605 Taipan Place, F. Ortigas Ave., Ortigas, Pasig. Please let us know if you will visit! You can set an appointment with us in the website as well: https://www.studyabroad.net.ph/appointment

      Hope to see you soon!

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