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Asian Star – Vishwa Patel

Asian Star – Vishwa Patel

Native Village/Country parent’s background

I was born in Ahmedabad, India. My parents, both engineers, and grandparents raised me in a household that valued education, hard work, and compassion above all else. This rich heritage fostered my deep love for learning from a young age. Growing up in a family full of engineers, teachers, and physicians instilled in me the importance of knowledge and dedication.

Your Early Education

I began grade 5 in Ahmedabad but had to start from grade 4 upon arriving in Canada. My journey in Canada involved moving schools every year for four years, which made it challenging to make lasting friendships. However, I found my community in T.D. Baker, where I stayed for three years. From there, I earned a spot among the 120 students in the Old Scona Academic Class of 2021.

When & Why You came to Canada

I moved to Canada at the age of 9 and settled in Edmonton at age 10. The decision to move was driven by my parents’ desire for better educational and career opportunities and a higher quality of life. I vividly remember our first day in Edmonton, greeted by a thick blanket of snow, a sight both beautiful and daunting.

Your career advancement initiatives, volunteer work and present occupation

I am entering my fourth year of Honors Nursing at the University of Alberta. Since my teenage years, I have been a dedicated community volunteer, contributing to organizations such as the Misericordia Community Hospital and The Steadward Centre. Currently, I volunteer at the TELUS World of Science – Edmonton, the University of Alberta Hospital, and with Kids Cancer Care.

At the University of Alberta, I hold several leadership positions: VP Events for TeamUP Science, co-President of the Indian Students’ Association, and President of the Health Sciences Students’ Association. Additionally, I serve as co-Chair for the Edmonton chapter of ISSO Seva, an international non-profit focused on inspiring and engaging communities in humanitarian efforts.

This summer, I am participating in a studentship focused on women’s cardiovascular health. My academic and volunteer work is a tribute to my parents’ sacrifices, especially my dad’s relentless work ethic and my mom’s perseverance in re-educating herself while caring for our family.

Your Regret in Life

One of my regrets is not being able to fully appreciate the extent of my parents’ sacrifices while I was younger. As a child, I couldn’t grasp the magnitude of their efforts, but I am deeply grateful now and strive to honor their hard work through my achievements. I am striving to give my parents all that they couldn’t have and all that they deserve and more.

Pick Any One of Your Best Achievements

One of my proudest achievements is being accepted into Old Scona Academic High School. This accomplishment reflects my dedication, my family’s unwavering support, and the blessings of Shree Swaminarayan Bhagwan. 

I vividly remember the moment I received the news. It was a random spring afternoon, and my dad was catching up on sleep after a long night shift and preparing for the next one. When the call came, he answered groggily, initially confused about its purpose. However, he fully awoke when he heard that his only daughter had been accepted into the most prestigious school in Edmonton. Overjoyed, he immediately called me, and I answered while performing Seva at my temple.

This moment felt like everything had come full circle: my parent’s relentless efforts to provide for our family, my hard work in school, and the divine blessings I received through my Seva at the temple all converged to make this achievement possible.

Were You Ever Discriminated?

I have encountered significant challenges and biases, particularly as an immigrant adjusting to new cultural and educational environments. During my first nursing school rotation, I faced explicit discrimination from an instructor who displayed a clear bias in favor of my Caucasian peers. She consistently looked down on students of color, often failing to remember our names and confusing us with one another despite our distinct appearances. These experiences, while difficult, have ultimately strengthened my resolve and resilience, reinforcing my commitment to overcoming adversity and excelling in my chosen field.

Are You Happy in Canada?

Yes, I am very happy in Canada. The country has provided me with countless opportunities for personal and professional growth. I appreciate the diverse and inclusive society that Canada offers, which has made it easier for me to adjust and thrive. 

Any Comments on Canada’s Culture

Canada’s culture is a rich mosaic of various traditions and customs from around the world. The respect for multiculturalism and inclusivity is one of Canada’s greatest strengths, fostering a sense of belonging for people from diverse backgrounds. As an immigrant, I have found the cultural diversity and acceptance in Canada incredibly welcoming and supportive, making it easier to integrate and feel at home. This environment not only celebrates different cultures but also encourages personal and professional growth, contributing to a vibrant and dynamic society.

Any Comments on Canada’s Weather

Canadian weather is diverse and can be challenging, especially the harsh winters. Adjusting to the cold and snowy conditions was a significant change for me as an immigrant. However, the beauty of the changing seasons, particularly the vibrant fall colors and serene summer landscapes, makes it a unique and memorable experience. Each season offers its own charm, from the blooming flowers of spring to the warm, sunny days of summer. Despite the occasional weather-related challenges, the distinct seasons contribute to Canada’s unique charm and appeal.

What Brought You Success in Canada?

My success in Canada can be attributed to a combination of hard work, determination, the unwavering support of my family, and the continuous blessings from my Bhagwan Swaminarayan. The emphasis on continuous learning and the inclusive nature of Canadian society have also played crucial roles.

Are You Willing to Help New Immigrants and How?

Absolutely. I am deeply committed to helping new immigrants by offering mentorship, sharing my experiences, and guiding them through the challenges of integrating into Canadian society. I believe in giving back to the community that has welcomed me, mirroring the efforts of my father, who actively assists new immigrants and international students. He provides mentorship, answers their questions, helps them find housing, arranges transportation from the airport, and supports them in finding work. Inspired by his dedication, I strive to extend the same level of support to new arrivals, ensuring they feel welcomed and empowered to succeed in their new home.

Your Message for Canadians of Asian Origin

Stay connected to your roots and take immense pride in your heritage. Embrace the myriad opportunities that Canada offers while sharing your unique culture and traditions with others. Our diverse backgrounds enrich the fabric of Canadian society. Support one another and contribute positively to this great nation.

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