International student is a role model for others in the LGBTQS+ community
“In Canada I was able to find myself. I was welcomed and accepted for who I am as a gay man,” Pawan Dari opens up about his experience coming to Canada. Dari left his home country of India at age 18 to pursue his post-secondary studies at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in 2014.
“I wanted a better life for myself,” he says. “Canada is one of the greatest countries in the world. What better country to move to than here?”
He admits the move presented some challenges as he adjusted to the change in climate and culture but the supports he received from the International Education and Student Services teams at Sask Polytech helped guide him through the process. Assistance with how to manage his studies and the expectations of his program were very helpful as was the support for adjusting to life outside the classroom.
“Everyone was so helpful. I can’t thank them enough,” he says.
Dari received his Early Childhood Education (ECE) certificate from Sask Polytech eight years ago and returned for another year of education to complete his ECE diploma. The distance delivery option offered through the School of Continuing Education allowed him to maintain his employment while advancing his career goals. Currently the assistant director at the YWCA Downtown in Regina, Dari speaks enthusiastically about his team and the children in their care.
“We can learn so much from children,” he says. “They are always exploring and learning. They don’t come with a manual. Each child is different and helps us open our eyes to a new world.”
Dari credits his instructors in the ECE program with preparing him for his initial position at the YWCA as a care provider and now for the more advanced roles that involve curriculum planning, licensing and grant writing.
Dari speaks very fondly of his instructors at Sask Polytech saying they make a true effort to celebrate the differences of each student while also bringing the class together as a community. All students were encouraged to participate in class discussions and share their experiences as learning opportunities for the program. In addition, their cultural traditions, clothing and food were also celebrated through potlucks, picnics and events outside the classroom.
“They really made me feel like I was part of a community – part of a family. We had a very diverse class and everyone became friends.”
When Dari came to Sask Polytech it opened doors to him through formal training, hands-on learning and acceptance.
“When I came to Canada, I was very unsure of myself. I had so much to discover about myself, and I did,” he says. With both an ECE certificate and soon-to-be-completed diploma in hand, Dari’s career is moving in a positive direction. He has also found happiness in his personal life and is engaged to be married to his partner of five years. He hopes by sharing his story that he can inspire others to pursue personal happiness as they pursue their career goals.
“There aren’t many openly gay Indian guys out there. I want to be a role model for others. I want them to be able to look up to me. I am happy. I am loved. You can be too.”
Learn more about the Early Childhood Education diploma program.
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