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SuccessBeyond

Dani Magsumbol

After completing the Liberal Arts University Transfer program at Seneca, Dani transferred to a degree program at the University of Toronto through a Seneca pathway. Upon completing her degree, Dani went on to complete a Master of Science in Planning (Social Planning) also at the University of Toronto with a collaborative specialization in Diaspora/Transnational Studies, Social Planning and Policy. She will be beginning a Ph.D. at York in September 2019.

What factors influenced your decision to pursue the Liberal Arts University Transfer (LAT) program at Seneca?

As an internationally educated immigrant who had previously completed a university degree from the Philippines, I was looking for a program that could fulfil two criteria: provide training within a Canadian educational context, but also help facilitate a university degree transfer to the University of Toronto. The Liberal Arts University Transfer program at Seneca does both.

How would you describe your overall experience at Seneca?

I felt supported at every step while I was at Seneca. The professors were always more than willing to discuss things with us. They helped to clarify content covered in lectures, guide us with assignments, and even encouraged us to further our education by providing advice on possible majors to pursue in university. Their doors were always open and they had plenty of valuable information and advice to share.

Can you share a standout experience or memory that you have at Seneca?

It is hard to choose because I had such a positive experience in general, but I made friends during LAT that I still keep in regular contact with, even six years after graduation! I also met my future husband in the LAT program. For that, I am especially grateful to Seneca.

What influenced your decision to continue your education after completing your diploma?

My goal was always to pursue university through the partnerships that LAT had established.

How did your Seneca program prepare you for your degree program? Your master’s program? For your current career?

Seneca has prepared me extremely well for the career I am pursuing, which is academia. Going to college first allowed me to acclimatize to the Canadian education system, as well as life in a new country. When I made it to university, I did not feel overwhelmed because Seneca had equipped me with the tools I needed to thrive: from basic things like how to take effective notes and write academically, to more complicated things like how to find reliable sources and how to think critically and approach problems analytically.

What are you up to now (life, work and school)?

I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Political Science at York University. I start in Fall 2019!

How did you decide which degree program to pursue?

At the University of Toronto, I started as an English major because I have loved reading and writing from a very young age. When I began my studies, the number of programs offered at the undergraduate level amazed me. I learned which classes were the ones that really spurred my interest, and realized what real-world issues I was interested in exploring and researching. By my second year, I had settled into what was very much an inter-disciplinary experience. I graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts. I did a double major in Urban Studies and Diaspora/Transnational studies, and a minor in English.

How did you enjoy your experience at our partner institution?

I loved being at U of T. In fact, I loved it so much I went on to do a master’s degree in Planning, with a focus on Social Planning.

From experience, what do you think is the value of having a diploma, bachelors degree and master’s degree?

Having all three credentials have proven invaluable to me as I pursue a PhD. It allowed me to look at Canada from different angles. For example, LAT provides students with a broad overview of the social history of Canada. During my BA, I was able to take a yearlong Canadian history course, along with more specialized courses dealing with Canadian history through the lens of migrants and immigration. While in my master’s program, I focused my research on Filipino women working as live-in caregivers in Canada's private homes. These, in turn, have given me a more nuanced understanding of how to approach the history of immigration in Canada.

Any words of advice to students who are currently in the program you graduated out of at Seneca? And considering pursuing further education?

Keep at it! Your experiences at Seneca, while it may seem tough at times, are preparing you for further education. I found that making sure to have experiences outside of the classroom gave me the tools to really understand how history happens on the ground – for example, I am involved with the Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture in Toronto, and I have been since I was in my third year of undergrad.

What are your plans for the future?

Short-term, I will be pursuing my studies at the doctoral level at York University's Political Science department. I am very excited since I will be able to further explore what I was researching for my master’s: how Filipino live-in caregivers experience Canada through their employment in private spaces. This is a matter that is close to my heart, as my mom was a live-in caregiver and that is how she was able to send for my brother and I to join her in Toronto. One may say it was the impetus for my very own Canadian experience.