Some of the people that I approached to answer my 3 magic questions (insert wink here) would like to be part of this series but were hesitant to share their story because they thought that their stories are not inspiring or they felt that they don’t have any achievement yet.
Well as Cynthia mentioned in her story (in the first installment of this series), just being here in Canada can already be considered as an achievement. And I totally agree with her, in the past 5 years, I have been directly contacted by a lot of my blog followers and random people who just saw my blog. They want to come to Canada but they don’t know anyone in Canada, who can be their supporter, some had submitted their application but were rejected not just once while others have other different reasons that prevented them from immigrating to Canada. So yeah, consider yourself lucky if you are already here and have started your Canadian way of life.
On this post, I am so grateful to these 4 people for instantly saying “yes” to my request considering that I communicated to some of them through email only, I am fortunate to get another set of good people to share a glimpse of their immigrant journey.
Budget Accountant, WRHA
Kabir came to Canada with his wife and three kids from Nigeria on March 2009. Just like other immigrants, their first months were the most difficult part of their settlement. Before moving to Canada, Kabir worked for a commercial bank in Nigeria for 12 years and was holding the position of Relationship Manager. It was a challenge for him to get a job in the same field of specialization, he was expecting that his educational background and work experience in Nigeria will help him land into the same profession that he was in. Ironically, it was not the case, he had a hard time getting a job because he didn’t have Canadian education and work experience. Kabir narrated that he tried his best to ensure that he and his family can have a good life in Canada. “In order to integrate my self with the Canadian system, I decided to enroll for a program to upgrade my education to Canada’s standard, I decided to accept volunteer jobs to obtain Canadian experience. It was very tough for me then, I had to attend school in the morning and work at night. And my routine was like that for three years.”
To date, Kabir pride himself for being able to survive these difficulties and for getting the job that he wanted, a job where he could utilize his skill set and professional experience and to live the life that he imagined for himself and his family. Aside from this, he is now a proud Canadian citizen.
For him, the best thing about living in Canada is the freedom that the people enjoys. For Kabir, Canada is one of the best places to live not only because it is astoundingly beautiful but lets you enjoy the freedom to live your life the way you want.
Senior Financial Analyst, Loblaw Companies Ltd.
Alexandra and her family can still be considered as new comers as they have been in Winnipeg for leas than a year. They moved from Israel to Canada in April 2016. It can be said that the timing of their arrival in the city is well planned. They did not come on the very coldest season and since they came they’ve seen spring, summer, fall and winter. They had enough time to adjust to the changing weather and enough time to prepare for the winter. But their adjustment is not just all about the weather, for Alexandra and her family, their first two months were very challenging. Their first challenge is to find a school for her preschooler twins. And while she and her husband are trying to adjust with the culture in Winnipeg, they are also looking for jobs and have been coming in for job interviews. She felt that here in Manitoba, employers give more importance to skills than education and previous work experiences.
But despite these challenges, Alexandra is happy to see that even in their very short stay in Winnipeg, her children are now able to speak both Russian and English fluently. And she and her husband both have jobs and are now working on improving their knowledge. Aside from that, they met a lot of people who became their friends.
For her, the best part of living in Canada is having family and life balance. Despite being a working mom, she still has the opportunity to play with their children that she and her husband are enjoying right now. She greatly appreciates how she can spend time with her kids now.
When asked, what advise she can give to other new immigrants, “Be patient, ask people for advice and learn from their mistakes. Before coming to Canada, plan for your move. Prepare your budget for the first two months, in case you won’t be able to get a job at once, you are prepared for your expenses for your food, shelter and transportation.
One of the best things that she learned from her friends in Canada is when she showed her around and took her to do grocery shopping. She thought her how to shop and showed her how and where to get the items she need and check their prices.
For Alexandra, attending the Manitoba Start courses was a huge help for her when it comes to settlement and employment services. It also helped her language wise. Another organization that helped them in their settlement was the Jewish Child and Family Services, she finds that settlement services to be beneficial to new immigrants, as for their family, JCFC provided support to deal with the many stresses of the relocation and adjustment to a new cultural and social environment.
Health Care Aide, Southern Health – Sante Sud
Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
On April 25, 2016, Oliver and his wife, Gladezza arrived in Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. Just like most immigrants in Manitoba, they came to Canada through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program, though, they do not have any relatives in Manitoba, their godmother became their Manitoba supporter.
During their first months, it was a challenge for both Oliver and Gladezza to adjust to the new life that they chose to take, financially, emotionally and spiritually. Though they prepared for their move and ensured that they have money to get them through during their first months, they had to struggle considering that for each dollar that they needed is equivalent to Php 38.00 pesos not to mention that prior to coming to Canada they also spent hundreds of thousand pesos for their air fare, things that they brought with them and the landing and immigration fees that they paid. Hence, they are very grateful for their Manitoba supporter for letting them to stay in their house, hence, they were able to save the cost of their accommodation for a couple of months.
Oliver admits that even before they flew to Canada, he and his wife were both worried if they will be able to get a good and stable job. In the Philippines, Oliver and Gladezza both worked as nurses, as much as possible they both want to get a job that is related to this profession. But being determined and very flexible they hid to the advice of not concentrating into getting the same job that they had in the Philippines, they tried to look for jobs as Residential Support Worker/Health Care Aide. In months’ time, they got hired as Health Care Aide in Portage La Prairie and in just a few months, they both got a permanent full time positions.
Oliver also shared that he and Gladezza experienced emotional difficulties as well, coming from a closely-knit family, they find it hard to adjust themselves in a place where they do not have even a single relative. Hence, they are very thankful to the modern technology that we enjoy now, whenever times come that they miss home, Facebook messenger or Skype will be their ally.
After being in Canada for almost a year, Oliver recounted the things that they consider to be their success and on the top of their list is being able to get a job almost as soon as they landed and they were able to get a brand-new car just in time when they moved to Portage La Prairie. And because they both have permanent and full time jobs they are also blessed to be able to send financial assistance to their family back home. And since the new “addition” to their family will soon come (yes, Gladezza is 21 weeks pregnant to their Canada-made baby), Oliver considers their move to Canada to be a good decision. And their advice to new immigrants and those who are planning to move here in Canada is to be more prepared and to be open-minded. Before coming to Canada, plan and do your research. Look for friends that can give you tips and advices. Whatever bad habits that you may have leave it and bring your positive attitude with you. Oliver’s tip is to always look at things positively, if others can do it, so can you. While Gladezza’s tip is to be emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically prepared and as soon as you leave your country, conditioned your self that you are in Canada permanently, once you set your foot to Canada there is no turning back…
Oliver and Gladezza agreed that the best advice received is “don’t be afraid to talk to others, reach out…”
For this couple, the best thing in living in Canada are the health and medical benefits, clean environment, experiencing 4 seasons in a year, reaching your goals and getting what you want faster, being surrounded by supportive community, work-life balance and of course the family assistance/child benefits that they will soon receive.
Payroll and Benefits CS Representative, WRHA
Ayoola came to Canada from Africa in April 2012 all by herself as an international student in the University of Winnipeg. After completing her program in the university, she decided to apply for the provincial nominee program, after a few months of waiting her application was approved and she then became a permanent resident.
Since she came to Canada all by herself, one of the biggest challenge that she had to face is living and adjusting to her “new home” aside from the fact that she feels so sad every time she misses her family that she left behind. She also experienced going through a culture shock, as the way of living in Canada is really different on how it is in Nigeria.
But she was really determined and brave to overcome the challenges that went on her way, she worked hard to be able to let her family join her in Canada. Until in 2014 her family finally moved to Winnipeg with her. As of now, Ayoola and her spouse both have stable and permanent jobs and a year after her family came they were able to purchase a house for their family. “I am glad that I took the courage to decide to immigrate to Canada. My husband and I are both happy to where we are right now and through our joint efforts, we are meeting our goals for our family,” Ayoola shared.
She believes that Canada is a place of equal opportunities, everyone is treated similarly. You could be of any race, religion or sexual orientation and there is always a place for you in Canada.
Ayoola and her husband are looking forward to continue achieving their goals and to becoming Canadian citizens in 2018.
Help me reach my goal, I am still looking for more immigrants who are willing to share their immigrant story, please let me know if you can be one of the #150CanadaImmigrants that momsiecle.com can feature.