Brazilian Camila Lima aims to establish herself in Canada for the long haul
On first meeting Camila Lima, a George Brown College (GBC) fourth-semester architectural technology student, she seems much like any other student. Within a couple of minutes of conversation though, her modesty and reserve take a backseat to what really sets her apart from her cohort: the sense of drive that saturates everything she does.
In December 2016, The Dialog interviewed Lima for a story about a petition to establish a community garden at Casa Loma campus she was helping to spearhead. It has been over three months since that story ran, and by all indications Lima has imbued the project with the same kinetic energy she brings to everything.
In this interview, Lima mentioned that Claire Whitehead, Student Association employee and Casa Loma food bank lead, was planning to meet with Adel Esayed, the dean of the centre for construction, engineering and technology, about that very garden.
“She’s meeting with him today to talk about the garden and maybe get the carpentry students to make some raised beds for the plants,” Lima said, almost offhand, adding that she would have gone as well if her schedule allowed it.
The Student Association funds The Dialog.
Most student initiatives don’t get very far. This one’s not only alive and well but is actively gaining momentum months after its genesis, and Lima deserves at least some of the credit.
Lima’s drive to achieve her goals has deeper roots than school. Lima was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, living there for most of her early life. Then she got to see the world and her direction changed.
As Lima tells it, she participated in a high school exchange program when she was 16, spending six months in Halifax as a teenager. It was there that she realized Canada had more to offer her than a single exchange semester.
When Lima was 18 and in her first year of university in Brazil, she transferred from the Federal University of Bahia to GBC. She had no family here and made the move all by herself. A difficult transition for most people, but Lima adapted and flourished.
“I tried to get as involved as I can in the college community and off-campus as well. I like this feeling of being a part of something,” said Lima, adding that getting involved is particularly important for international students with no connections to their new home.
In Lima’s case, she hopes this home might be a permanent one. Lima wants to get a job in her field and save up some money to settle and establish herself in Canada. Later on, she wants to get a university degree.
And when it comes to advice for others in her position, her vision is even clearer.
“Be focused, know your goals, try to stay very objective on where you want to be at in a couple of years. (It’s about) what you want to achieve, and what your objectives are after college, not only ‘I’m here and I’m studying.’”