Less than one year ago, married couple LJ and Cachellene Perea arrived in Toronto from the Philippines with no knowledge of the Canadian job market or how to find career success. With a goal to find residency in the city to be closer to family, the couple was determined to build their employable skills so that they could build long-lasting careers. That’s how Evergreen College came to be part of their plan.

Before arriving in Canada, the couple was researching schools to study at that offered hospitality programs. Back home, LJ was employed in a family business that focused on real estate in the hotel sector, so continuing to pursue that field in Toronto was a natural fit. While many colleges came up in their search, the couple says Evergreen College superseded the others.

“When we were dealing with admissions at Evergreen College, the process was quicker and more convenient for us,” LJ said.

Both LJ and Cachellene were accepted into Evergreen’s Hospitality Management program, running for 88 weeks split between classroom theory and an internship component. The program is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to fulfill leadership roles that center on providing exceptional guest experiences. Cachellene says it’s a perfect fit as she hopes to work in front desk operations of a hotel after graduation, while her husband hopes to manage a restaurant.

The program’s curriculum, which they say is delivered in a hands-on way, is what’s helping to prepare them for these dynamic careers.

“We arrived in Toronto not knowing anything about how employers work in Canada,” LJ said. “I learned I needed to develop my management skills and how to deal with people legally and professionally – I developed these skills in the classroom.”

One specific classroom exercise that stood out to LJ in building these skills focused on creating an entire restaurant operations plan including its style, design and menu. “It’s a new environment,” LJ said. “I’ve learned a lot in the classroom especially and it helped me to build confidence.”

For Cachellene, she said learning about property management systems really helped to develop her knowledge for the front desk hotel operations. And currently, she’s putting this knowledge to use during her internship at a local Toronto hotel, while her husband is doing the same at a different hotel in the city. She notes how the dynamic classroom environment helped to prepare her for this practical experience.

“The professors really dig into the book with examples so that you can understand,” Cachellene said. “They let us do activities about how to serve customers and we created our own designs to build our own restaurant.”

For students looking to arrive in Canada and pursue the same career path, Cachellene says focus and determination is key. “If they want to pursue their goals, they have to be driven,” she said.

Looking back on the last several months of their education, the couple is excited for the next chapter as their internships get underway, and both credit Evergreen College for opening a door for them to their new careers.

“We love it here in Toronto, and we hope to stay,” LJ said. “Working in Canada is a big deal and we are so happy that Evergreen College made this possible.”

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