For Dr. Stephen, the expression “three times a charm” couldn’t be truer. Coming to Canada in 2015 from Nigeria with over 10 years of experience as a family physician, Stephen began studying for his re-certification to practice medicine before he even arrived in Canada.
Settling his young family in Windsor, where his friend, also from Nigeria, had relocated, Stephen set out to take his MCCQE1 exam. Except there was one problem – the tablet that contained all of his study notes had crashed and was unable to be fixed. “I had nothing to fall back on, other than what I remembered,” recalls Stephen. Unfortunately, Stephen didn’t pass.
Shortly after that, Stephen decided to go back to Nigeria to continue his medical practice so he could earn money in order to afford more recertification exams. This meant leaving his wife and young children in Windsor. “It was difficult, but my wife and I were determined to make a new life for ourselves in Canada.”
Stephen stayed in Nigeria for two years. He came back to Windsor in 2017, where he prepared to take the exam a second time, this time with the help of a loan from Windmill Microlending. “A friend of mine, a fellow doctor from Nigeria, told me about Windmill (IAF at that time), and I got a loan of $10,000 to help cover my exam costs.”
As fate would have it, technology failed Stephen a second time. With one hour left to his exam, the computer platform he was using in the exam centre crashed – it stopped working. The Medical Council of Canada told him that he would need to write the exam again. “My coach Joyce asked me what I was going to do, and I told her, I’ve made up my mind, there’s no going back. I need to write the exam a third time.” Six months later, Stephen wrote the exam and passed, much to his relief and joy.
Today, Stephen lives in Quesnel, BC, with his wife and three children, where he works at the Holley Clinic as an independent family practitioner.
Even though Stephen has paid off his Windmill loan, he still keeps in touch with his coach Joyce, who he considers a friend. “Joyce constantly kept in touch with me. She was always checking up to see how I was doing. This showed me what a wonderful organization Windmill is – a bank or other lenders would not have kept in touch with, nor offered support to their clients like I received.”
“My advice to newcomers would be to not be afraid to take out a loan. I know it’s scary to add an additional burden by having debt, but in the end, it’s worth it. Without the loan from Windmill, I wouldn’t be back in my field practicing medicine. Get a loan from Windmill and go for it – your dreams will become true earlier than you can imagine.”