Date of post: February 12, 2021
If you are a new immigrant in Canada, you will get this question often: What made you come to Canada?
I find this question rather personal. In fact, people mean, why Canada, not other countries.
I learned two things from this simple conversation. One, our understanding of something may be different based on our perspective. Two, Canadians are interested in learning about your immigration journey.
Canada is very diverse nowadays. Everyone has their unique immigration stories. That is probably the reason why this topic is always popular.
I am Chinese and now working as an Immigration Consultant who brings people to Canada. I have lived in Canada for 7 years, and it still excites me when I look at my journey to Canada.
When we are asked this question, our answer will likely be personal. And nobody will have the same answer.
The reasons generate the desire for immigration and determine our journey, good or bad, exciting or flat, awesome or terrible.
Nonetheless, immigration is a choice for many people.
We may compare different countries. However, it is impossible to say which country is the best. For me, the best country to live in is where I love it the most.
I love Canada, and I am proud to call it home now. It has great nature, freedom, friendly people, a lot of support, and quality of life.
My journey to Canada
The idea of my immigration came up in 2013 when my partner at the time wanted to move to a country that is LGBTQ-friendly. Our relationship was discrete.
The desire for the freedom of showing our true selves was huge, even though we had to part our family, quit our jobs, and live in a strange country.
We specifically looked at the countries where same-sex marriage was legal, and among the few countries, Canada was the one that we thought we had the best chance to immigrate to.
It was my understanding then that we could only immigrate to Canada by studying. Therefore, we both applied for a study permit, and both were successful.
This brought me great excitement because my dreams were about to come true.
This is what I want
I came to Toronto in 2014. For a long time after my arrival, I wore rose-coloured glasses. Everything was beautiful, and I was so energetic to start a new life.
My school experience was fantastic. I was doing great and managed to graduate with an A+. I got an on-campus job in our school residence and volunteered throughout my studies.
The luckiest thing was that the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeal Tribunal (under the Ontario Ministry of Labour) hired me right after my graduation. This work experience helped me obtain my permanent residency.
Everything happened just as I planned.
When I was successful in each stage of my immigration journey, I felt the excitement and encouragement. However, some parts of the road were bumpy or without clear direction.
Steer your wheel with belief
We all have low times and might feel disappointed. However, we can make changes happen.
When I was in school, I lived on a budget. It happened many times that I had to go to different grocery stores to buy cheaper products.
My on-campus job was a housekeeper position, and I worked full time for the entire summer break. I was excited about it. However, my colleagues were shocked to know that I used to be a lawyer.
I think I explained the reasons, but I never actually expected them to understand. There are some things that only immigrants understand.
This earned me money, and I knew I would have a better job in the future. Therefore, doing a cleaning job did not matter to me then.
To my surprise, after the summer break, my manager offered me a front desk position because I was always nice, humble, and hard-working.
I managed most of the hardships because I believed in myself.
The dream that comes true
The dream of being able to show my sexual orientation was the most desirable for me. However, it did not come naturally. Changing the habit of being discrete required trust, bravery, and time.
I later realized I was not alone. When I met these like-minded people, the feeling of belonging was extraordinary.
The LGBTQ advocates, groups, and peers make the country better every day.
Now I know not only we can safely express our true selves but also we can celebrate what we are.
You can do it
I used to lack confidence in the job-seeking as an international graduate, but I got a governmental position.
Being an immigrant never stopped me from meeting people outside my ethnic group.
I have never been more involved in advocacy for minority groups and people in need of support.
My ambition is to help more people immigrate to Canada and create job opportunities for LGBTQ community members.
I grow stronger from my immigration journey. What I can do, you can do too.
Now that I am no longer a new immigrant, I wish to share some tips that may be helpful.
- Make friends and connections. Some of them may help you in your future careers (i.e., give you references, bring you clients, etc.). Others may become your chosen family in Canada.
- Volunteer. It is a great way to meet people and learn about local cultures.
- Be kind. If you are kind to people, they are kind to you. You can go a long way with it.
- Be confident. If you are determined, you can reach most of your goals.
We are collecting and sharing stories of Canadian immigrants. Those stories may be inspiring and help others with their resettlement in Canada.
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