Soon after coming to Canada I started looking for work in the research field in Canada. I felt confident about getting a job in my field. However, my confidence was fading away and was being replaced slowly by the frustration of not getting an interview call despite having the professional training and work experience that were sought by the job advertisements. Soon, I was advised by my acquaintances that I need Canadian work experience or academic training to get a job in Canada. My frustration level had elevated with that thought. I promised myself that I will integrate into the labour market and find myself an employment in my field. I started looking for scopes to gain Canadian experience. I discovered that there are several placement opportunities, publicly funded, for skilled immigrants with finance, marketing, computer etc. related background. Not a single opportunity had I found helps immigrants with research background by providing placement opportunities until I become aware of a new initiative launched by Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services in Toronto. The Immigrant Insight Scholar Initiative (IIS), an idea that was designed by the pioneers at Access Alliance, the Senior Research Scientist Yogendra Shakya and Director Axelle Janczur, to create a career-bridging program for internationally educated researchers (IERs). I randomly came across to the IIS opportunities and the rest is a history. The history of the beginning, the history of the journey of an internationally educated researcher who is passionate and determined about her research career.
The program offered me with the mentorship opportunities from the best researchers in the town. I was placed at the Institute for Work and Health and McMaster University and received tremendous guidance and support from my mentors Dr. Agnieszka Kosny and Dr. Stephanie Premji. During my fellowship period under the mentorship of Dr. Kosny and Dr. Premji, both of whom are the investigators and collaborators on projects focused on the work and health experiences of the newcomers to Canada. I worked in two projects which helped me hone my research skills, gain insights on the Canadian research sector and build a strong professional network. I finished my fellowship tenure and had a successful one year of local work experience to put in my resume. Without making any exception to the expectations posed by this design thinking by the pioneers at Access Alliance, that this fellowship will help internationally educated researchers to integrate into the Canadian labour market, I received an employment opportunity as a Research Associate and am currently working at the Institute for Work and Health. I believe, the IIS opportunity is the milestone in my journey of integrating into the Canadian labour market. I am grateful to everyone who believed in this initiative and supported this to develop. I have a strong desire to be in a position from where I can support this initiative in a meaningful way to bring about positive changes in the professional lives of the internationally trained researchers.