I am participating in #MoreThanALabel: Immigrant Stories, Simmons College’s online MSW Program’s campaign to promote transcending labels. By participating in this campaign, I will be sharing my story and how I believe we can shatter the stigmas often attributed to immigrant communities.
In most of my blogs, I proudly mentioned that I am one of the thousand Filipinos who decided to immigrate to Canada. My blog is dedicated to creating posts that are not only about myself or my family, but I also made my site to be a place to come for aspiring Canadian immigrants and for those immigrants like me who are embracing life in the “new world” that they are in.
Today, I would like to share to all my readers my immigrant story and my thoughts about the challenges that an immigrant like me has to face…
I am Cristina Licup.
My husband and I were both born and raised in the Philippines, together with our then 2 children, we migrated to Manitoba, Canada through the Provincial Nominee Program.
I am a supermom wannabe – a working professional, a blogger, a community volunteer and most of all a wife and a mother.
We are Filipinos turned Canadians citizens and have been living in Winnipeg, Canada’s Gateway of the West for almost 7 years now. I will not deny that when we started our new life in this used to be foreign land to us, we had our share of challenges. And yes, I did experience a certain level of culture shock and I will not deny that I also felt alienated. And even now that I am already a citizen of this country, there are still times that I feel a hint of unbelongingness.
Here in Canada, if you are neither a white nor an aboriginal, you are classified as visible minority, a classification used by the government for a number of purposes. Canada is one of the countries known for its immigration and diversity policies. However, by just being asked to identify oneself, as a visible minority will still send you the message that somehow, you are still considered different from the other citizens.
This feeling of unbelongingness did not stop me from striving and persevering to achieve the life that I want for myself and for my family in our “new home.” Whenever, I look back on how my husband and I started, I feel proud that we chose to stand above the challenges. Our humble beginnings, wherein we have to start from the bottom and climb our way up was not easy… When we set foot to Canada, we were never afraid to do things that we have never tried doing in the past, we were not ashamed to welcome help from people who offered help and we were brave to explore the opportunities that is there to discover. In every thing that I do, I always ensure that I do it with pride – at work, I always do my best to produce great output; I became a settlement volunteer to assist immigrants like me to settle and integrate into new community they are joining; and as a mother, I always instill to my kids to always treat everyone, regardless of their color or race equally and with respect.
Despite the dehumanizing labels and sometimes disparaging remarks and the discrimination and complexities around recognizing an immigrant with the same classification with all the other citizens, I will always be proud to raise my hand as an immigrant, as a member of visible minority. As immigrants like us bring talents to the country’s (Canada, in our case) skills and capital.
How about you, what’s you immigrant story?