Kanupriya Sidhu knows that when you help others, you help yourself.
Sidhu came to Canada from Punjab, India in early 2016 to study Business Administration at Red River College. While here, she sought out volunteering opportunities as a way of adjusting to a new country and culture.
“The first year I was pretty much trying to adjust to what was going on. Everything was different,” says Sidhu, 21, who graduated from the program in 2018.
“Studying wasn’t really hard for me. I was a bright student and I was doing well with my courses. I wanted to focus more on fitting myself into this culture and community, to get to know people and feel more comfortable and more at home in this place if I’m going to stay here for awhile.”
Sidhu acted as a Diversity Ambassador at RRC, a role that saw her promoting diversity on campus, providing peer support and assisting in the organization of events and activities.
“I used to volunteer a lot on campus, just because it kept me busy and also helped me interact with new people,” she says.
“I learned a lot about how the community thinks, how it works, and a lot about the culture of Canadian people. I also got to interact with instructors and management while organizing the activites. Volunteering added a lot to my experience here.”
In addition to her ambassador work, Sidhu also co-chaired RRC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP) committee, an initiative of World University Service of Canada.
“Every year, the SRP sponsors a student refugee and we support them on campus,” Sidhu says.
“I went to Ottawa in August 2017 and there was a leadership training program for SRP committee heads. That was a whole new experience because I got a chance to interact with people from more than 100 colleges and universities from all over Canada.”
Since April of last year, Sidhu has worked as a Member Service Representative at Assiniboine Credit Union. She says she landed the job through RRC’s annual First Impressions Recruitment Event.
“There are about 40 different employers every year and you can apply to each one of them, whoever you like. Then you get a call from them, a 15-minute introduction interview,” she says.
“I applied to 10 or 11 of them and about eight replied back to me, and Assiniboine Credit Union was one of them. That’s really helpful, me being new in Canada and this is my first step out of college and into the job market.”
Sidhu says she’s grateful for the industry-related training and opportunities she received at RRC.
“I remember seeing a lot of employers again and again at different career events and it really helped me build a bond with them,” she says. “That is how I got my job, even before I graduated. I felt safe and secure that yes, I was doing something right.”
“I would say I really appreciate the College. They give you that platform where you can connect with people and be in the job market.”
Sidhu is currently working to become a permanent resident of Canada. After that process is complete, she plans to further her studies at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba.
Sidhu, who won the Enterprising Women Award at RRC, says she’d like to start her own business one day. She credits RRC with instilling in her the work ethic she’ll need to be a successful entrepreneur.
“When I got into the program, one of the student enrollment coordinators told me, ‘At Red River, you hit the ground running.’ And that’s very true,” Sidhu says.
“You have a full course load, assignments and deadlines, and in the second year you have the Entrepreneurship Practicum project, which is a lot of work and research. It’s a lot of deadlines and time management that you build over time. It’s like a job.”
Profile by Jared Story (Creative Communications, 2004)
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