As a mature student, Deepanjali was told time and again she would never gain a Canada student visa at her age and she had almost given up on studying in Canada. Then she found Elaar Immigration.
Deepanjali Sachdeva knows education better than most people. In her mid-40s, she had been working at a school in New Delhi, India for about 25 years and, in the last few years, came to recognize she needed a change that would bring her growth and new opportunities. As an educator, she knew she wanted to earn her master’s degree in education in a traditional classroom setting. This study and program structure wasn’t available in India so she started looking abroad.
“Canada wasn’t the only place in my mind,” Deepanjali says. “I started looking at the UK because it was closer with the flights. But I started to see that some students preferred to go to Canada rather than the UK.”
Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to matter where she was looking to study. She was told by those who worked in immigration in India that she was simply too old to qualify for a study visa.
“Perhaps if you immigrate to Canada then apply to schools after you are a permanent resident,” they told her. “You may not get admission to a high-level university, but maybe you could get admission into a college.”
They wanted her to lower her expectations. They told her that even if she somehow managed to gain admission to a good university, she would never get the necessary Canada study visa.
But Deepanjali didn’t want to relocate to another country. Her husband, daughter, friends, social system and current job were all in India. She also didn’t want to attend a college. This was about earning an advanced education suitable for an experienced educator.
“Not every program offers the same courses,” she explains. She knew the types of schools she was interested in. “If you’re not going to get what you want, why spend all the money?”
Feeling disheartened, one of her friends in New Delhi was able to connect her with Keshav Sharma of Elaar Immigration.
“I had so many questions for him. For so many years, I had tried to find people who could help me to study in Canada or the UK,” she says. “My first question was, ‘At my age, you think I could get admission to a good university?’ and his answer was, ‘Why not?’. For so many years I’d been asking this question.”
Keshav explains that every application is different and while Deepanjali’s was quite unique, he felt they could achieve her goals. Understanding the complexity involved is key as there can be no cookie-cutter approach; every aspect of the case must be reviewed carefully.
“It’s important to know what your goals are in the immigration process,” Keshav says. “She was very clear about what she did and didn’t want and that made it easier to identify the best immigration paths to consider. The bottom line is if there is a strong enough reason and a genuine story, then one can study at any age.”
The process was lengthy (about eight months) but together, they managed to get Deepanjali’s paperwork together. In the interim, she took the IELTS (English language proficiency) exam and considered different universities. When the exam results were in and were found to be satisfactory for a master’s degree level of study in Canada, she applied to five universities in Canada from a shortlist created by Elaar Immigration from all available options – not just a few possibilities. Keshav and his team crafted the list based on institutions that were the best fit in terms of Deepanjali’s education, background, work experience, the program offered, and immigration options if she’d like to pursue this at a later stage.
“I didn’t have a clue that the paperwork took that much time,” she says. “I had to get my transcripts done. Not an easy task in New Delhi. I got everything in place and it took at least three months.”
Keshav explains that the process can definitely take a while for complex applications. It’s important to be ready to gather the information required and do so accurately.
“He has been not just a positive person,” she says of Keshav’s guidance, “He has been actually like a mentor. He really guided me well.”
Her first acceptance came from the University of Prince Edward Island. While family had suggested she might not like the winter climate, Deepanjali felt relief. Even if no other university accepted her, she had one of her five choices as an option. Now, it was a matter of securing a Canada student visa and seeing if her other choices came through.
“Then I got accepted from Thompson Rivers University [TRU],” she says. “Everyone spoke so well of Kamloops. I was so happy. After living such a hectic life.”
She called Keshav who was just as happy about her news as she was. They completed some more forms and within two weeks they submitted her Canada student visa application.
“It was like someone who helps you, who walks you through everything,” she says of Keshav. “Every little thing, he would call me, he would advise me.”
The next step was to go for biometrics with a visa facilitation service in New Delhi. Once complete and Elaar Immigration submitted her visa application online, it was a matter of waiting, again, to see if Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) would approve her request for the study visa. It would take about two weeks for the answer. This was the step that others had told her would be impossible and she wasn’t looking forward to waiting.
Yet, as Deepanjali explains, there was some special kind of magic at play.
Within just 12 hours of submission, Keshav called her to say he had received the request from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Her Canada student visa had been approved and it was time to submit her passport for stamping.
“I was jumping and I was going crazy,” she says. “My daughter and my husband and I were all crying.”
With the student visa approved, they accepted the offer from TRU and she was admitted as a student. Afterwards, she received an acceptance from Vancouver Island University, the third of her five chosen universities to accept her. She’s happy she selected TRU.
Keshav explains that while luck helps, being prepared, getting information together and working with an immigration consultant who is knowledgeable helps make luck happen.
Deepanjali arrived in Canada on August 5, 2019 and started her studies with TRU in September. She is now going into her third semester. She is on a sabbatical from her job in India, where she headed up the primary section of a school.
“I’ve fallen in love with this place,” she says of Kamloops. “Only time will tell how much I miss my country and my people. I will definitely consider a plan to work here if there’s a good job.”
She’s enjoying her studies, while finding them challenging. Her daughter has come to visit and her husband will in the future as well. She credits Keshav and his team at Elaar Immigration (Immigration Consultant Surrey, Canada) for making her dreams to study abroad possible when everyone else said it wasn’t.