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International learner turned employee

Daniele Clasen draws on her learner experience in her role on the International team.

When Daniele Clasen was applying to Bow Valley College as an international student, it was the little things that confused her. “I didn’t understand how a semester could be three and a half months when I was used to a semester being six months,” says the Brazil native. 

Now, as the international enrollment representative in the College’s International department, part of her job is to make those little things clearer for international students before they arrive in Canada. She also assists students who have confirmed their program with other pre-arrival duties, including getting a work-study permit, and sends letters of acceptance. 

Daniele and her husband came to Canada in 2013 to improve their English. “When I was working in Brazil, I spoke English, but for better opportunities, my husband and I decided to go somewhere where people speak English to learn a little more,” she says. “We chose Calgary because it was supposed to be the place with the most sun.”

Even though Daniele had a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Brazil and had worked in market research there, she felt it was important to learn business from a Canadian perspective. She enrolled in the Business Administration Diploma with a Marketing Major at the Chiu School of Business.

She is glad she took the diploma because it taught her the style of business in Canada, which she wouldn’t have otherwise known. For example, in Brazil, when she would get in to work in the morning, she and her colleagues would exchange hugs and kisses. “Can you imagine if people kissed their director here?” she laughs. 

Daniele knows adapting is one of the biggest challenges of being an international learner, but she stresses its importance. “You can’t keep doing things the same way. You’re in a different place.”

For students currently enrolled in classes at the College, our international advisors can counsel them through that adaptation. Daniele knows the process can be frustrating, but she reminds students to listen to their advisor. “Listen to the people who actually have the information,” she says. “Sometimes, it’s not the information you want, but you just have to see how it works.”

Is your story waiting to be told? If you’re a learner with an interesting story, we may want to tell it on bowvalleycollege.ca. Email us at newsroom@bowvalleycollege.ca.

Posted on April 23, 2018

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