Viktor Nedelchev in “Canadian Immigrant”

Case in point

Unable to practise medicine, a Bulgarian immigrant embarks on a new career path in Canada

“It was not easy, but coming to Vancouver has given me the chance to make all my biggest dreams come true.”

 

For Viktor Nedelchev, moving abroad was a lifelong dream.

Trained in Western medicine in his native Bulgaria, Nedelchev always considered Canada a place that offered many opportunities for self-development – where “you can do what you want.”

Finding Bulgaria “too small” to fulfill his desire for personal, cultural and professional growth, Nedelchev and his wife decided to leave for a new life in Canada. Without much English but fluency in French, the couple decided to apply for residency in Quebec.

“I did a lot of research,” Nedelchev recalls. “On the internet I made contact with a woman who was also a doctor that immigrated to Canada.

She said, ‘Forget about medicine in Canada,’ because her experience was not good. Canada did not recognize her foreign credentials, and she did not have much hope.”

Nedelchev knew immigrant physicians faced a difficult process if they wished to have their medical training recognized in Canada. “I did school and a residency in Paris, but I’d have to redo exams and a residency in Canada to be certified,” he says.

“You must pay and study for exams, and there are only few residency spots that many fight for. It’s a difficult process.”

But Nedelchev, an eternal optimist, refused to give up his dream. He started considering alternate ways to make his immigration to Canada a success. Drawing on his keen passion for holistic health and healing (he trained in martial arts for years and, as a medical student, volunteered with an acupuncturist), he returned to the internet and discovered a unique opportunity to put his passion into practice in B.C.

“I always had the idea to do Chinese medicine,” explains Nedelchev. “But in Quebec the market is not big. Vancouver is more open to the idea and has an opportunity to study this discipline in college. I knew I needed proper training and knowledge of Chinese medicine to practise it, so plans changed and we moved to Vancouver.”

After the couple arrived and settled in New Westminster in 2004, Nedelchev took work as a security guard and began the second phase of his academic career in Burnaby’s PCU College of Holistic Medicine’s three-year traditional Chinese medicine practitioner program. The program, which includes a clinical internship, covers acupuncture, medicinal herbs, massage and other holistic/Eastern medical practices.

Today, Nedelchev works as a registered acupuncturist at Fuscaldo Chiropractic and Total Health Centre in New Westminster under the name Qi in Motion Acupuncture (qiinmotion.com), offering treatment in pain management and facial rejuvenation.

Despite having to veer slightly from his original career path, he doesn’t regret his decision to immigrate for a second. “It was not easy, but coming to Vancouver has given me the chance to make all my biggest dreams come true.”

Having achieved his own dreams in Canada, Nedelchev now volunteers time to helping other immigrants do the same.

He has been an active member of the Association of International Medical Doctors of British Columbia, working to facilitate access to the licensing process for internationally trained doctors living in B.C., and has more recently joined the Canadian Bulgarian Society of British Columbia’s board to help strengthen and promote the Bulgarian culture and community in B.C.

Noa Glouberman – 23 June 2008