Eva, and her now husband Maros (also a vet), arrived in Calgary knowing no one, with only $10,000 in cash and two backpacks of books. Without Canadian history and references, they struggled to convince any landlord to rent to them.
“After six refusals I begged a landlord to accept us by prepaying six months’ rent,” says Eva. “Then the very same day we hunted for jobs,” says Eva. “Many people wouldn’t consider us as we had so many qualifications. But we wanted any kind of work so we could get started in Canada.” Eva was eventually hired by a dog groomer. “But—because I had ‘no experience’ they only let me bathe them,” laughs Eva. “But at least I was working with animals.”
Eva soon secured a position as a technician working with animals at the University of Calgary and the couple attended evening classes to improve their already good English language skills. However, it took several years to complete the necessary exams and licensing to establish their veterinarian credentials in Canada.
With a loan from Windmill Microlending, Eva traveled to Oklahoma State University for a week where her skills were tested. “In Canada it was a three year wait to take the practical exams and I just couldn’t wait any longer to work in my profession,” says Eva. “I was really thrilled that Windmill would lend me this money. Nobody else in Canada had given us anything and this felt wonderful. It let me focus on my goal.”
From 2006, the couple both worked as locum veterinarians for more than 60 clinics in Calgary. In 2008 they opened their own practice in DeWinton, Alberta, where Eva is focused on her exotic animal practice. It’s her area of specialty and one she speaks and writes about internationally.
“I want to be an inspiration to others,” says Eva. “I would tell other immigrants—don’t give up. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Now I am working in my profession that is truly my dream job; we have two beautiful children. Now, we are happy.”