Student Spotlight: Carlos Carli is the captain of his own boat

Moving from Venezuela to Canada an international student says his success is due to working hard and never giving up

Carlos Carli came from Venezuela to complete a postgraduate certificate in international business management at George Brown College. He loves snowboarding, adventure sports, traveling, kite surfing, watching movies and cooking.

Carli said that he left Venezuela because of the political situation there that recently saw the socialist government defeated in parliamentary elections by the opposition.

“My country has been going through a 17-year dictatorship. So many Venezuelans had to leave there for a better future because our country doesn’t offer it,” said Carli.

While coming to Canada for a more opportunities, Carli acknowledged that his first months here were challenging. Carli has had nine jobs in Canada during the past 16 months. From dishwashing, hotel cleaning, working in a supermarket, construction and retail, he took everything that came in his way.

He says coming to George Brown College has been the turning point of his life.

“George Brown gave me the possibility to know people in the same circle, so all students, and that’s pretty cool.”  he said.

He then got a position as a peer coach at Peerconnect helping other students at the college.

“Things got better when I started at Peerconnect,” he said. “It kind of gave purpose to what I have known, what I have done back home in Venezuela.”

At his school in Venezuela, Carli was the student representative for 26,000 students. As a peer coach at George Brown he got a similar opportunity to work to help students.

“It has been an incredible experience because one get to meet Canadians and meet new people from other places,” he said. “Then you can help students who are in need like I was when I got here.”

While Peerconnect is a good fit for Carli, he noted how difficult it is to find a meaningful job, particularly if you’re adjusting your skills to a new place.

“Many of us come with degrees back home, what we did back home is probably not what we are going to do here,” he said. “So that process of adaptation is kind of rough.”

Surviving rougher times, Carli thinks that the main ingredient to his success has been his persistence.

“The key to success is that I never gave up, whatever came my way, no matter what the job was, what the opportunity was, you never know what that means. I never stopped.”

Carli faced a number of challenges at immigration as an international student, including the pressure of paying tuition and an inability to get better jobs because of visa issues. Along with this, another challenge was coming to an entirely new country, learning a new language, and managing expenses in a city like Toronto.

Living each day as if it’s your last, taking all opportunities, working as hard as you can, as much as you can. Carli’s philosophy is that no matter whether you sleep four hours a day or five hours you have to make it.

“You are the captain of your own boat,” said Carli recalling a saying that his father taught him. “You are the only one who can determine your future and it might sound weird but my inspiration has always been how I see myself in future, and what I want to become in the future.”


Student Spotlight: Carlos Carli is the captain of his own boat