Amanda Fogaca: Supporting newcomers to Canada
By Daria Bajus
Amanda's hometown: Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, BrazilAmanda de Oliveira Fogaça, 32, is pursuing the MLIS degree at Western University with a dream of pursuing community work.
Amanda Fogaça, 32, moved to London, Ont. from Brazil in 2016. With two Bachelor’s Degrees in tow, one in Law and the second in English and Portuguese Language Teaching, she attended King’s University College on exchange in the Fall of 2015. Falling in love not just with Canada, but with her now-husband as well, Fogaça returned for the MLIS program at Western University.
While going through her immigration process, she volunteered at the London Public Library, where she saw how much support they provide to Newcomers and community members around them. This is the kind of work she eventually wants to do. As a Board Member of the local organization Women&Politics, one of Amanda’s goal is to bring more representation into politics, which includes young and Indigenous people as well as immigrants.
“People often feel as if they are the only ones with hardships in life. You don't know what I have been through and I don’t know what you have been through. There is a popular saying in Brazil, 'Kindness begets kindness.' I believe if you can give people the benefit of the doubt, the better it is for everyone.”
Her fondest memory is during her co-op in Halifax, where she worked with 16 Syrian refugee families and their children, ages 3-10. For the children, the library was a safe space where they could go and BE children - something they hadn’t been able to do for a while. It made a difference for the children that she was similar to them in regard to not being born in Canada and English not being her first language, which helped them bond. Working with the children every day was the highlight of her job, and leaving them was the hardest part of ending her co-op.
Amanda can play the piano but cannot sing.
Amanda hopes to work in a public library or with a non-profit organization after she graduates this upcoming year. For now, she plans on staying in Canada and potentially sees herself moving back to Brazil only for retirement. Although she loves Canada, the one Canadian thing she will never be able to wrap her brain around is cold sandwiches. Why anyone would ever want to eat anything cold baffles her. “Heat it up!” she says.
---Profiles in the Meet Our Students section are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.