International student breathing new life into a career in Calgary

Denys Vynnyk

Denys Vynnyk came to Calgary from the Ukraine in 2015 with his family, hoping to further his education and forge new pathways for his skills.

Back in the Ukraine, I used to work in Health Sciences, and I knew I wanted to continue being useful to society in a similar way, says Vynnyk.

After much research and looking into different programs and schools, he decided on SAIT's Respiratory Therapy program.

“I was familiar with medical procedures and medical protocols and had some of the technical background. I felt I could apply these in the field, he says.

After graduation, Vynnyk received job offers in Alberta right away. However, there was a delay in getting his license to practice in the province. He was offered a job as a Respiratory Therapist at Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and was able to acquire a license there reasonably quickly, so he jumped at the opportunity.

Then, in 2022, he received his Permanent Residency status and was able to secure his Alberta licence, so he moved back to Calgary and began his current career as a clinical oxygen consultant for one of the biggest oxygen clinics in Calgary.

We work with a lot of palliative patients who require oxygen therapy. I provide them with respiratory assessments and treat them with oxygen therapy in collaboration with other specialists, he says.

This year, Vynnyk became a Canadian citizen and proudly carries a Canadian passport. Through the process of obtaining citizenship, Vynnyk has found time to reflect on his experiences and the many challenges he faced as an international student.

Looking back, he credits the support he received from SAIT in helping him succeed and graduate. SAIT's international advising department was so willing to help me through this process. I literally overwhelmed them with email.

Vynnyk has also gained new insight into the intrinsic value to having international students stay in the country and join the local workforce. International students from different countries bring different perspectives and views, he says.

Instead of looking at a problem with only one point of view and having tunnel vision, new perspectives can bring different approaches and ways to solve complex problems.”

If he had one piece of advice for other international students thinking about coming to Alberta, Vynnyk says it would be to prepare both logistically and financially.

“Be completely ready,” he emphasizes. “And accept life as it is – don’t expect things to be a certain way or the way it was back home. You need to work hard and be persistent.”

Looking ahead, Vynnyk envisions a continued career in respiratory therapy, recognizing the burgeoning needs and growth for community care in Calgary.

“For me, it’s enough to know that I’m being helpful and caring for my patients.”

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a view of the moutains and stream in between

Oki, Âba wathtech, Danit'ada, Tawnshi, Hello.

SAIT is located on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of Treaty 7 which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Îyârhe Nakoda of Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney.

We are situated in an area the Blackfoot tribes traditionally called Moh’kinsstis, where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. We now call it the city of Calgary, which is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.