Maria Villacorta

Maria Villacorta at a festivalMaria Villacorta considers herself an explorer. Her travel has taken her to lots of countries throughout the world. Now that she’s a British Columbian, all of Canada is at her doorstep. In early 2013 Maria found herself at a crossroads—20 years as a dentist had made her tired; she needed a change—she needed a fresh start.  Maria values quality of life and adventure —she planned a move. Next stop: B.C. 

“I had lived my whole life in Manila, but seized every opportunity I could to travel, explore, and learn about new cultures. I needed a change—B.C.’s known for its multicultural makeup—and its climate is regarded as the best in Canada.”

Maria outdoors with friendsShe didn’t think twice about hopping on a plane and leaving the sandy beaches of Manilla—split-second decision-making is something she’s always had a knack for. “I think it’s from having so much responsibility owning a dental clinic—I was always making decisions, it becomes second nature,” Maria says. “One of the reasons I was comfortable with my decision was because I had researched immigration programs—I used the Federal Government’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website and became a permanent resident here in B.C.”

Decision making aside, Maria needed a quick online resource to help her get started. WelcomeBC’s Newcomers’ Guide helped Maria answer the various questions she had about living, working, and settling in B.C. “The guide was important for me. I think any newcomer needs information about getting a SIN number, setting up an RRSP, and figuring out work opportunities. The guide is where to start.”

Maria with a friend in a mallIt is now eight months since Maria’s arrival and she’s upbeat about her new life in Richmond, B.C. and getting back into dentistry. “I’ve adapted and am training towards reentering the dental profession. I’m active in my community; I already have a fantastic network of friends and I volunteer in various organizations.”

Maria’s found a home in B.C. She’s settling into her new life and already has scheduled plans to check out the snowcapped peaks of Whistler and Victoria’s inner harbor. Maria’s adventure continues—she’s writing her newest chapter in life; who knows what the next will be. 

Are you new to B.C.? WelcomeBC's multilingual Newcomers' Guide are available in 11 different languages. The guides provide newcomers and their families information on how to get settled in B.C., including topics such as: housing, banking, healthcare, jobs and business.