This is the fifth profile in a series highlighting some of the Hamilton area’s successful immigrants.
Name: Maria De Tina
Country of Origin: Brazil
Came to Canada: June 2011
Occupation: Music teacher
Where are you employed?
I am a musician and work as a guitar teacher, giving private music lessons. I am enrolled in a full-time occupational therapist assistant and physiotherapist assistant (OTA/PTA) program at Mohawk College.
What brought you to Hamilton?
I am married to a Canadian. My husband had his job here and we decided it would be better for to raise our family in Canada.
What skills, experience, business knowledge, and global connections did you bring?
I have a bachelor’s degree in music with specialization in acoustic guitar. I have a master’s degree in sciences with concentration in oncology. I have 15 years of experience as a music teacher. I am hoping to get my OTA/PTA diploma next year.
What has helped you settle here?
My husband’s family has been here for a long time and that helped me a lot. I think my initiative to get involved in the community, such as my volunteer work at Brain Injury Service, also helped me.
Although my English reading and writing skills were good I realized that my listening and speaking English was not, so I enrolled in English classes. Those classes helped me to understand that I am not alone in this boat. With my education and experience, I do not have to start all over again but I need to understand Canadian workplace dynamics.
Do you belong to any professional or other networks or organizations?
Being an OTA/PTA student, I joined the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. Both associations have been valuable to my professional and academic development…
Describe a moment when you felt successful since your arrival in Hamilton.
That would be watching two of my students play the guitar at a graduation ceremony at Mohawk College. Having my students go up there and show what they had learned was a special moment for me and for my students.
What is your favourite place in Hamilton?
I love to go to see Lake Ontario. I just love to go to the beach, sit back and enjoy the view.
One thing you really like about Hamilton?
I love to ride my bicycle. Coming from a big city, I did not have the courage to do that back home, because of the traffic and also the fear of having it stolen. Now I just love to get on my bicycle and go for a ride. Some people may complain about the traffic here, but I don’t worry about it.
What advice do you have for people who are new to Hamilton?
Get involved with the community. Take advantage of the all possible courses and programs. If you are not confident about your language skills, improve your English. There are courses which can help you understand Canadian culture and communication. Today communication is fundamental to the workplace irrespective of your profession.
What are your future plans?
My future plans are to complete my OTA/PTA program and get a position in Hamilton as an occupational therapy assistant/ physical therapist assistant. I want to continue giving private guitar lessons as well.
* This article was originally published in The Hamilton Spectator and has been republished with permission.
** This series is a joint initiative of the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council, Workforce Planning Hamilton and the City of Hamilton’s Immigrant Attraction Action Plan.