As students from across the globe converged on Vancouver Island University last week to start their school year, some arrive from their home countries of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, India and the Philippines with grand ideas of what Canada has to offer.
Some become elated with the opportunities and some disillusioned, but whatever happens for Vijay Bollini, he said he feels strong enough to weather any situation.
Arriving 10 days ago from India to start his MBA program at VIU, Bollini already holds a bachelor's degree in business and a master's degree in English, both received from the Visvesvaraya Technological University in Bangalore. He is also busy with the company he founded that is still based in southern India, that manufactures and re-packages lithium ion batteries Bollini arrived from southern India to begin his MBA program 10 days ago, but he is also still busy with the company he launched back home.
Operated in a partnership with his brother Kiran, they manufacture and re-package "green" lithium batteries that are in demand for products ranging from cell phones to ticketing machines and electric cars.
In his new home on Bowen Road, Bollini shivers in a backyard lawn chair, the apples on the tree above his head all but gone. It is colder here than in his native India, he says with a smile. He spent his childhood in Anantapur in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
A clock tower stood at the centre of the town, he said, and the weather was hot for most of the year.
"It is a very spiritual culture, and there are a lot of deities. People are also very sentimental and emotional, and very attached to their families," said Bollini. The bulk of Indians are Hindu, though Bollini said he identifies as Roman Catholic.
His father was the director of the district's agricultural department, and it was his lifelong dream to go to Canada so he might sink his hands into what he saw as a rich agricultural environment. That dream was never realized, as he didn't have the doctorate the government was seeking.
But Bollini has managed to make it, choosing Canada over any other country because of its relative safety and solid economic position.
"The economy is going 'boom,' but in India it is going down," he said, on why he wanted to come to Canada. "The tech industry is growing, but not as much as in Canada."
The first thing he noticed about Canada was the difference in food.
"Everything here is so sweet," he said with a laugh. "In India I am used to spicy food. Very spicy. I used to eat raw chilies with rice, with you guys it is impossible."
Beyond schooling, Bollini has his sights set on establishing a green battery manufacturing company locally, employing Canadian families and stamping their product with a 'Made In Canada' badge for sale internationally.
"Why not learn the Chinese technology and set it up here?" he said.
© Copyright 2013