HR Professional invests time to prove herself through internship



Luisa Ramos immigrated to Canada from Colombia in 2015. Back home, she was a Human Resources business partner and had been working at General Motors for eight years. Luisa and her husband left their home, hoping to find a safer and more diverse environment to live. Her first stop in Canada was Montreal. Although it was safer, Luisa found integrating difficult. She didn’t speak French, was unable to find volunteer opportunities, let alone a paying job, and had lost much of her savings in order to rent a place to live.

A change was needed, so Luisa packed her bags and moved to Calgary with her husband after four months. She began a transitional job at Safeway as a cashier. Since the job was on call, Luisa found scheduling her work while allotting time to search for better jobs to be very difficult. Despite the challenge, Luisa was eager to find meaningful work. For the first few months in Calgary, she visited Immigrant Services Calgary as much as she could to attend workshops about job search. The workshops taught Luisa how to target her job search, craft appropriate resumes, and answer questions appropriately at interviews.

Apart from workshops, Luisa participated in a mentorship and internship program at Immigrant Services Calgary. The program connected her with a company called Schneider Electric that was offering an internship. At her interview with Schneider Electric, Luisa utilized the skills she learned at the workshops and performed well. Schneider Electric offered her a twelve-week Human Resources internship position to help the company on a project. The position was in a supportive capacity, but could let her utilize the skills and experience she had from working at General Motors in Colombia. One thing Luisa had to consider, though, was that she would not be paid during the internship and would have to give up her job at Safeway. After careful consideration, she quit her job at Safeway and fully immersed herself at her internship, knowing it would give her the Canadian experience in her field of expertise.

Entering her internship at Schneider Electric turned out to be the correct choice. During her twelve weeks at the company, she demonstrated her capabilities to management and learned about the Canadian workplace. Management acknowledged her contributions, and employed her for another year after the internship to continue supporting the project. Eventually, Luisa was hired permanently on the company’s Human Resources team.

Luisa’s advice to new immigrants is to be flexible. Do not let ego and thoughts about the past get in the way of starting a life in a new country. “Be patient and proactive!”