Golden Key Member Wins Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants Award

Congratulations to Ai Thien Tran, Winner of the Prestigious Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants Award 2012!

Ai joined Golden Key at McGill University and was awarded the Golden Key Geico Life Scholarship in 2006.

Here’s the story from

It was a long and arduous journey for Ai Thien Tran when he left Vietnam as a 20-year-old boat person. He spent 12 years as a stateless refugee in a refugee camp in the Philippines, facing many hardships as a displaced person. One day, he received a letter from his long lost childhood friend who had been trying to find him for years, even though she had immigrated to Montreal in 1993. The two were married in 2000 and she sponsored him to come to Canada in 2001.

When he arrived, Tran faced the typical challenges that most newcomers face, in addition to the psychological and emotional trauma leftover from having lived in isolation.

Through it all, Tran has shown great resilience. Eventually, he found a simple warehouse job at a manufacturing company in Montreal, and, within four years, he rose to the rank of human resources co-coordinator for the company.

He also enrolled in the social work program at McGill University to add value to the practical experience he had in the field where he graduated with honours. He was ranked among the top 15 percent in his class, with a GPA of 4.0. Because of this achievement, Tran was invited to be a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, an organization honouring some of the top university students around the world.

In 2006, he won the Golden Key award that recognizes members who achieve academic excellence while balancing additional commitments such as family and career. Tran was one of 10 students from around the world and the only Canadian student to receive it. He was also selected by Thoi Bao Canada as one of the 10 outstanding students of Quebec to receive a scholarship. “I study hard for my wife. I want to prove to her that she made the right choice. And to thank her for saving me,” says Tran.

Tran says family support, self-motivation and a “can-do” attitude are key factors that helped him succeed in Canada and he strongly believes that those are the very same things that would help other newcomers to Canada, too.

Currently, Tran is also actively involved in the Vietnamese Canadian Federation and the Citizen Advisory Committee of the Ottawa Parole Office.

“We’ve all been given a great opportunity here in North America. I’m not going to waste my chance or take it for granted.”

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