Welcome To Canada, Bienvenue Au Canada!


Canada is a multicultural society with almost 6.8 million immigrants adding to its diversity. One in every five persons is a visible minority. It is true that a few of these visible minorities are a visible majority in some municipalities.


Immigrants arrive in a foreign land with a couple of suitcases to start a new life. “Welcome to Canada” brings a smile to the tired faces. It seems like music to the ears. I am aware that people keep in mind the ‘jet lag’ factor while scheduling important meetings. Who would understand jet lag better than those facing the immigration authorities upon landing in Canada? Some of these individuals have never been in a plane before. It is the beginning of a new experience from their very first step on the Canadian soil. Adjusting to the new time-zone, a different climate, a varied culture, and unknown faces- all play their individual part in laying the foundation of life in this amazing land of opportunities.


Now, the struggle begins. In my opinion, there are two broad categories of immigrants: the self-made and the well-supported. I had to mention this because the thought process differs among the individuals. The self-made are those who come on their own without any support or any sponsorship. These individuals have to prove their merit and meet the required criteria to enter Canada. The well-supported are those who are sponsored by relatives in Canada. The only (main) requirement for them is the sponsorship documents, e.g. spouse sponsorship.

It is time to plan, prepare and take action. Beginning a new life in Canada (a new country), is not an easy task. It is harder for the person who knows no one here.

First of all, one has to look for a place that can be called home. This is followed by the visits to the bank and the government offices to complete the required documents. The shopping trips follow next. One has to get the necessary items for the home. Groceries are to be bought. It is probably a couple of days before a person gets to cook and eat at home. The visits and the trips are either on foot,  in  public transit or a cab (the cab being the more expensive option). One has to learn to navigate the routes as well. No one forgets the first few days. The tasks, the navigation, the shopping, the jetlag, the feeling of loneliness and missing family, friends and all domestic help.

Thereafter, one has to start looking for work. This is a big task and it can be very stressful. One begins to search for jobs and starts applying in the hope of being considered for them. There has to be a source of income because the reserved funds drain out quicker than one can imagine. The harsh reality dawns. Lack of Canadian experience makes it a little difficult to enter the workforce. Networking is an important tool. One has to be patient and one should be willing to accept this change in life. There are centres for newcomers and these are a great place to start one’s Canadian life. It is important to adopt a positive attitude to succeed.

I wish good luck to all!

Jasleen Chawla

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