Preetinder Kandhola is a second-year student in the post-diploma in Information Technology program. He has been an active volunteer at the college, and wants to help new students from India adapt to the Canadian culture.
Damon: Can you start by introducing yourself?
Preetinder: Yeah, so my name is Preetinder Kandhola and I’m from Punjab, India. I am currently trying to get a post-diploma in Information Technology. Almost finished, I think the next semester. Hopefully. I play cricket, and support the cricket community here at CNC. I played professionally back in my home country. I am also trying to start up a vlogging channel aimed at teaching Punjabi students about Canada and how to integrate themselves into the community. It’s called “Canada Vibes”, and I hope new students benefit from what I’ve learned during my time year. I want to move into short movies too, but it’s only a plan right now.
Damon: Can you tell me a little bit about where you have come from, and why you wanted to come to Canada?
Preetinder: There were a few reasons why I made that decision. When I finished my degree, I decided that I wanted to make a career in IT. A couple of my friends who were already in Canada, came and told me about Canada and their culture. They told me about all the opportunities here and I was ready to go. I looked online and found CNC, and saw that their PDIT program was exactly what I needed. I said to myself that ‘CNC is the place. It’s the one.’
Damon: So you make it to Canada, start in PDIT, what happened from there?
Preetinder: It was interesting. When I started here I had some trouble finding my identity, creating a Preetinder that was at the college. I personally believe that if you speak and take initiative, people will notice. I always tell my fellow students that if they can do that, come forward, show your skills. I decided to work with students union and contribute to promoting my culture at the college. I worked with Harman Dandiwal, the previous organizer of the students’ union. I also worked with International Education to help with the projects they were doing.
Damon: I’m sure everything must have been a big change coming over then. It’s hard enough for domestic students to find themselves, let alone someone moving across the world to study here.
Preetinder: For sure, everything was new. One of the biggest challenges that I faced was the new types of study here in Canada. It’s a lot different than how we did things back in India. That was definitely something I had to get used to, alongside a lot of other things that are different here. In India, everything was about the theory or hypothetical, in Canada everything is practical. We didn’t have assignments, or projects. At the end of the year, there would be tests but that’s it. For the first semester, it was definitely difficult.
Damon: I can definitely see that. A lot of students face a lot of adversity when they arrive, and it sounds like you’ve definitely been put through the ringer. Is there anything you want students to take from your story? Any advice to give?
Preetinder: Make sure to help people in need, without expectation for help back. It creates a good person, and that’s what you need to be successful. Because of my passion for cricket, I helped develop a community in the college. People appreciate those moments, and those are the things that get you know. It’s difficult without the resources you have at home. For a lot of students, they don’t have the friend groups, mom or dad here to support them. They have to make their own identity here. I personally suggest to them to go and be a volunteer, make those relationships. Bring your ideas forward and make a change. Show your skills and what you can do, and people will eventually notice.