Surrey woman wins Canadian immigrant contest aimed to inspire others to find success

Published: August 1, 2014

Vandana Khetarpal moved to Surrey from India in March. Within two months she landed a job in her profession. Her success story won her $1,000 in a Canadian immigrant contest. Submitted photo.


When Vandana Khetarpal was first planning to move her family from India to Surrey, she mainly heard immigrant horror stories where experienced professionals were forced to pick up “basic jobs.”

“People had always been telling (us) it’s very difficult to get into your own profession,” the former Olympia College business professor told Vancouver Desi. “It’s very easy to capture a negative perspective.

“If 10 people are saying the same negative thing — it’s easy to get in that trap.”

So instead, she stayed positive and did her research before moving to Canada with her husband and two children in March — and by April 30 she was happily working as a part time business professor at Fraser Valley Community College.

She even entered her inspiring success story into a new immigrant contest called What’s Your Secret, organized by online immigrant magazine Prepare For Canada, and won the $1,000 prize.

“People [often] talk about immigrants who failed,” said contest organizer and Prepare for Canada managing partner, Nick Noorani. “There are strugglers, I understand that.

“But it’s important to realize that the glass is also half full.”

So he helped launch the What’s Your Secret contest a few months ago, as a way to “turn the spotlight” on immigrants who have found success.

“It’s important for immigrants to see role models,” said Noorani. “Let’s ask them what’s worked for them.”

Khetarpal chalks up her success to good old fashioned research and positivity.

“I kept that positivity inside,” she said, adding that she also found that regular meditation helped.

She also researched before arriving in Canada, “otherwise if you come here and then you’re starting to do your research then … you have that added pressure,” she said.

Not only did she research immigrant organizations like Skill Connect and Prepare for Canada, but she also looked at job postings, so she could prepare herself for what employers are looking for.

“If you’ve done these things before it’s [helpful],” she said.

So by the time Khetarpal landed in B.C., she was able to help her husband find a volunteer position where he could gain the necessary job skills, which eventually led to a position, while she sorted her kids out with local schools and connected with the immigrant organizations she had researched. Here she learned how to upgrade her skills and update her resume before she carried out the job hunt. And within two months, she started teaching at the community college.

“I’m really liking it — teaching is something which I’m passionate about,” she said.

To enter the What’s Your Secret contest, enter your immigration success story at The story with the most votes wins the $1,000 cash prize.

Nick Noorani’s Seven Success Secrets for Canadian Immigrants

1. Learn the language:

“Without the language they don’t care how smart you are — you’re not going to get a job,” said Noorani.

But it’s not enough to just attend an ESL class — you must practise.

“A lot of immigrants go to language schools, learn ESL, but they come out and start speaking their language the moment they exit the class — that’s not going to help you,” said Noorani, adding that he ‘prescribes’ eight hours of English per day for 90 days.

2. Stay positive

3. Embrace Canada

“Understand what Canada is all about — the people, the history,” said Noorani.

4. Have a Plan B

5. Move out of “ethnic silos”

6. Take risks

7. Get Canadian experience through volunteering, mentorships, and networking.

Related stories:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Indian guru lynched after beheading boy, 5, in suspected child sacrifice

IANS Guwahati – Simmering tension prevailed in Assam after a guru sacrificed a five-year-old boy to appease the God of death and was later lynched by…
Continue Reading »


Officials: Gunmen hijack buses in Pakistan, kill 19 passengers and battle security forces

ABDUL SATTAR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS QUETTA, Pakistan — Around 20 armed men hijacked two buses in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province, killed 19 passengers and battled…
Continue Reading »

premature babies

Canadian pediatricians recommend letting 22-week-old preemies die. Should doctors try to save the tiny newborns?

TOM BLACKWELL POSTMEDIA NEWS Measuring just 10 inches long, Carter Lake should never have made it past his first few desperate hours outside the womb….
Continue Reading »


premature babies

Canadian pediatricians recommend letting 22-week-old preemies die. Should doctors try to save the tiny newborns?

TOM BLACKWELL POSTMEDIA NEWS Measuring just 10 inches long, Carter Lake should never have made it past his first few desperate hours outside the womb….
Continue Reading »

Surrey MP Nina Grewal

Tory safety minister praises Surrey MP Nina Grewal for helping make Surrey safer

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW OTTAWA — Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney has thanked his Conservative colleague Nina Grewal, MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells, for…
Continue Reading »

Editorial Exchange: Voluntary CPP payments no fix

By Winnipeg Free Press THE CANADIAN PRESS An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published May28: High principles and foreign policy have never been easy…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

sexy legs and breasts

Men prefer brains over big breasts and long legs: Study

IANS London – What do men prefer, beauty or brains? According to a British evolutionary biologist, men prefer intelligence over big breasts and long legs…
Continue Reading »

blood sugar-desi

South Asian people poor at managing diabetes

IANS London – Limited knowledge of diabetes and the belief that the state of their health is out of their control has led to poor…
Continue Reading »

Aga Khan

PM Harper, Aga Khan discuss threat posed by violent extremists

VANCOUVER DESI Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed his condolences to the Aga Khan Tuesday for the recent terrorist attack on the Ismaili community in Pakistan. The spiritual…
Continue Reading »

tallest man-India-desi

India’s tallest man spends his days in a cage-like structure posing for photos at an amusement park

VANCOUVER DESI Life is not easy for India’s tallest man Dharmendra Singh, who stands at 8-ft 1-inch, his height being the biggest barrier for his career and…
Continue Reading »

indian summer

It’s so hot in India right now the roads are literally melting

At least 1,100 dead in month-long heatwave THE ASSOCIATED PRESS & NATIONAL POST STAFF It’s so hot in India right now that the streets are…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

Sunny Leone

Celina Jaitley says Sunny Leone “drove me to seek legal help”

VANCOUVER DESI AND HINDUSTAN TIMES Indo-Canadian actress Sunny Leone, who was living in a house owned by Bollywood actress and activist Celina Jaitley, has been…
Continue Reading »

Ramleela Bollywood

Bollywood babe Deepika Padujone finds rumoured beau Ranveer Singh ‘incredible’ in ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’

IANS Mumbai – Deepika Padukone is “blown away” after watching Zoya Akhtar’s film “Dil Dhadakne Do”, and she is especially impressed by rumoured beau Ranveer…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood badshah tweets first look of Salman Khan's Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Bollywood gives ‘blockbuster alert’ post ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ teaser

IANS Mumbai – There is style, glamour, action, energetic music and dance — all packed in one. The teaser of Salman Khan’s next “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”…
Continue Reading »