Leonor Villanueva used to visit Ryerson University’s campus on weekends and dream about someday being a student. “I would come down to walk around and see ‘RU’ on buildings around campus. It was a funny feeling, some kind of instinct I can’t explain, saying ‘R U one of us?’ It’s the truth! It seems crazy, but I kept thinking: one day, I’ll be a student at this university.”

Leonor’s dream is now a reality: she’s working towards her Bachelor of Health Administration at the Ted Rogers School of Health Services Management. Here, she tells us about her journey to Canada, her discovery of the Health Services Management program, and her goals for the future.

Leonor Villanueva

Coming to Canada

“I was born and raised in the Philippines. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurial Management from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and after graduation, I worked in the city government. But because of my ambition to help my family improve their lives, I really wanted to come to Canada. So I decided to leave my government job and go to Taiwan, where I worked as a nursing aid at a mental health institution for six years. Finally, in 2012, I was able to come to Canada through the Live-in Caregiver Program.”

Finding the Ted Rogers School of Health Services Management

“I have a passion for business and healthcare – I’ve always wanted to help improve people’s lives. When I came to Canada, I did a lot of research about how to get into the healthcare field and I found the Health Services Management program. It is exactly what I was looking for: a combination of my business management and healthcare experience. I was really interested, so I thought I’d try the Certificate in Health Services Management program first. I sent an inquiry to the university and I was really impressed with the excellent customer service. It has been incredible. From my initial inquiry until now, they have always been there to assist me. I actually wrote the director, Dr. James Tiessen, directly. As a professor, Dr. Tiessen is always there for his students. He invests time and is really helpful. When I receive emails from him, I feel really motivated, like he brings out the best in me. He’s very humble and always there to guide and motivate me.”

“I started the certificate program in September 2014 and realized I wanted even more. So I am now pursuing the degree.”

The TRSM Difference

“Having campus right downtown provides students with great opportunities. Toronto opens the door to a worldwide perspective. I really like to learn about a lot of cultures and the only chance for me to learn is to experience it and Toronto gives me that opportunity. The diversity of experiences really helps with your learning.”

“I have had classmates from a lot of different countries and other all over Canada. It’s really amazing to be able to adapt all the things they’re sharing about their own healthcare systems from all over the world.”

“Ryerson has exceeded my expectations. I really like my classes. I hadn’t expected that my classmates would be so friendly. You learn to accept and appreciate the diversity. I’m so thankful for Ryerson. I love the culture, the service, and how they treat the students like a family.”

Maintaining an Open Mind and a Pure Heart

“My strategy for success is maintaining an open mind and a pure heart. Those two things motivate me to achieve my goals. My inspiration is my family back home in the Philippines. Whatever obstacles I face, I am able to overcome them because I have them as inspiration.”

“My goal is to become a case manager at a hospital. I really want to help people make differences to improve their lives.”

Do you have a passion for business and healthcare? Check out the Ted Rogers School of Health Services Management to learn more.

Are you a current TRSM student or thinking of joining us in the future? Share your TRSM story with the hashtag #ThisIsTRSM.

Posted by Shane MacInnis

Shane MacInnis is TRSM's Writer/Content Specialist.