7,664 miles from home

Chelcie Soroka
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People Tim Hortons attracting university grads from the Philippines

Why would someone with a degree in industrial engineering move from the Philippines to Happy Valley-Goose Bay to work at Tim Hortons?

Ask 28-year-old Beverly Recaido.

"I always wanted to travel and maybe doing that, at the same time, earning a little bit more than we make back home," she said.

Happy Valley-Goose Bay -

Why would someone with a degree in industrial engineering move from the Philippines to Happy Valley-Goose Bay to work at Tim Hortons?

Ask 28-year-old Beverly Recaido.

"I always wanted to travel and maybe doing that, at the same time, earning a little bit more than we make back home," she said.

Recaido's degree took five years to complete. She said after she graduated she got tired of waiting around for employers to call her and she needed to make some money, so she took a job at a Starbucks in the Philippines.

While she was working at Starbucks, she found out about an agency that puts Filipino workers in contact with Canadian employers.

"We did this video rÉsumÉ thing and I think our employers watch those and they pick (employees) from those videos," Recaido said.

She said there was a lot of paperwork and she had to submit her passport and birth certificate and have a pre-employment medical. She also had to apply for a work visa.

Recaido said all of the Filipino workers currently at Tim Hortons are college graduates who learned English from school.

She said some people have to wait for two years or more before they are offered a job in Canada.

"I only waited for seven months. I was so lucky."

Recaido arrived in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in late January.

"I'm used to watching foreign movies, so I kind of know the culture here. I didn't have a culture shock or anything," she said.

She went through the application process with a couple of her friends from back home but they ended up working in Alberta.

"It just so happened that we have different employers," she said.

She said the owner of the Tim Hortons where she works provides a house for 12 employees to live in, but they pay rent. Everyone has his or her own room.

"It's big enough for us and we're not there all the time," she said.

Recaido has made friends with her coworkers from the Philippines.

"I'm so thankful I'm not the only Filipino here," she said.

"It made it easier to adjust knowing that I have fellow Filipinos here."

Even so, it's hard not to miss family and friends sometimes.

"The people here are great, they are all so kind and sweet. I will feel kind of homesick and nostalgic, but all you guys here are very kind and nice from Day 1."

Recaido said her family and friends were happy for her to get the chance to work in Canada.

"They know that I have been dreaming about it all my life, so they're happy for me. Now they all want to go here, too."

She said she's heard rumours from people in other provinces, who used the same agency that they were able to go home for a visit after one year.

"If we won't be able to go (home) for two years we don't mind it at all. It's not that long," she said.

Recaido isn't sure what her long-term plans are. She said her father and stepmother live in the U.S. but she wants to live in Canada.

"I want to stay here for a bit. I have friends here that have been close to me, they're like family. You need people here because the land is so big for the population."

She said the weather and shopping were the biggest adjustments she had to make when it comes to life in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

"It's just so cold, especially when I got here. I miss the sun once in a while," she said.

"And sometimes you're jealous of other (places) that have malls."

In the Philippines, the native language is Filipino, and English is a second language. Recaido said speaking English every day isn't hard; it just takes some getting used to.

Next she wants to visit is Paris.

"Me and my friends were planning on going to Paris but ... the visa thing is making it difficult for us.

"So we said to each other, 'I think we have to stick to Canada for a little while.'"

Organizations: Tim Hortons, Starbucks

Geographic location: Philippines, Happy Valley, Goose Bay Canada Alberta Paris U.S.

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