Filipino Canadian Students of University of Manitoba

Filipino Canadian Students of University of Manitoba

by Leila Castro |

In 2014, a study Understanding Intergenerational Social Mobility: Filipino youth in Canada was made by the Institute for Research on Public Policy. There were 650 Filipino youth in Canada surveyed focusing on Winnipeg, Vancouver and Toronto. The study found Filipino Youth, particularly males, are less likely to hold a university degree than their parents and their peers in other immigrant groups. Professor Phillip Kelly, director of the York Centre for Asian Research in Toronto and author of the study, cited three factors. First is the lack of money and time as most immigrant parents who came here were not fortunate to get jobs equivalent to the professions they practiced back home. So, they took in multiple jobs to cope with financial hardship, thus not much time is left to oversee and assist their children. Another factor is the lack of role model for the Filipino youth with “deprofessionalization” of their parents.

Another factor is the networks, information and mentors of the Filipino youth. According to Mr. Kelly, the social network of individual Filipinos tend to consist of Filipino-background friends and relatives, which are limited sources. Another observation was the networks within the Filipino community were segmented. An example is the separation that sometimes exists between those who arrived through channels leading to caregiver jobs and those who arrived through other channels.

When 204 Filipino Marketplace started in November of 2015, the social media group that connects half of Filipino Manitoban households, we saw injection of new ideas, rich experiences and learnings from experts in the community, that inspired and motivated fellow Filipinos. A lot who have interest in entrepreneurship emerged as business owners.

Community issues were actively discussed by over 30,000 members and norms were openly challenged. We saw bigger gatherings and celebrations of Filipinos. At present there is massive information exchanges, and the Filipino immigrants are more united towards empowerment. With these positive developments in our Filipino Manitoban community network, I believe it is time to start more widespread conversations and encouragement to the Filipino youth to aspire for big dreams and realize those by pursuing post secondary education; so that someday our situation will be turned around, where there will be more Filipinos in the spectrum of higher paid professionals occupying key positions and leadership roles.

Every day I drive my daughter to University of Manitoba. I feel happy whenever I see Filipino students in the campus. I thought of interviewing some of them to find out their ambitions and their reasons for pursuing a university education.

Below are their very inspiring responses:

“I decided to pursue a post secondary study because I want to have a settled life in the future. I also want to help my parents by getting myself a decent job and earning well. Being an accountant is my dream, going to a university to study Accountancy is my first step towards my dream.” – Maica Rodriguez

“I pursued post secondary education because I see it as an investment towards the future. A degree can make a person more marketable in the work force, provide job stability and open many doors to higher level job positions; which means an increase in salary. Another reason that is more personal to me is — I am able to find myself doing something I am passionate about. It can be argued that going to post secondary school is just like going to high school with more workload. Although it is more work, it is rewarding in the end if you found a program that you enjoy being in.” – Kristine Agravante, arrived as immigrant in 2001 from Cebu City.

“To learn things and find my passion.”- Mary Nichole Cruz, arrived here in 2006 from Pasay City

“Post secondary education will give me the opportunities to find work in the field of Computer Science. It also gives me the chance to make international connections and meet people to help me in the future.” – Kyle Calinisan, arrived here in 2012 from Las Piñas City.

“We migrated to Canada in 2013. My family was from Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte. I was 19 at that time and had 3 years background in Nursing. It was tough at first, I had to attend Grade 12 to be admitted in the university. Then an opportunity came, I stumbled upon a free HCA program, took it then later pursued post-secondary education. What made me decide to pursue a degree? Well aside from making my parents proud I strongly believe that higher education is important. I know that sounds cliché, not only will I achieve my dreams and goals by doing so, but I also want to have a better quality of life for me and my family. Although going in university is expensive, but in the end the money used is money well spent.” – Cherry Cagbabanua

“Education is of great importance in today’s society. Pursuing a higher education, of course, gives opportunities for career advancement. Not only that it has an advantage on your future career, there are also other reasons why I want to pursue further education. I want to explore, discover and learn a lot more information in my chosen career path. Also, I want to help my parents and make them proud, and repay to them the hard work they have given to be the person I am today.” – Kent Charles Cagbabanua

“As a child, I was always fascinated in building and creating things, which sparked my interest in engineering. This specific mindset of mine throughout my middle and high school years, is what eventually led me to pursue post secondary education in the Faculty of Engineering.” – Mark Bautista, parents arrived here in the 1980’s

“Pursuing a secondary education opens a door to a lot of opportunities. It increases chances of getting a better job, thus earning more money; providing a better quality of life for me and my family. Also for me, getting a degree shapes you as an individual, because you will gain more knowledge and develop new skills as you work yourself to success.” – Airah Ramos

My admiration and respect for these youth. They bring so much pride to our community. We hope to see more and more Filipino Canadian youth making decision to pursue big dreams.