IMMIGRATION: How new Canadians can make friends in a new country!

Published: November 5, 2012

NICK NOORANI
VANCOUVER DESI

Are Vancouverites not welcoming to immigrants?

A recent study commissioned by HSBC on new Canadians, found us to be the least welcoming city out of four metros and complements an earlier report from Vancouver Foundation that found a third of Metro residents find it difficult to make friends, most of us don’t know our neighbours or participate in community activities and over a third of us have no close friends outside our ethnic group!

According to the survey, Vancouver was found to be the least welcoming Canadian city with Toronto (79 per cent) a close third, Calgary and Edmonton (84 per cent) at second place and Montreal (89 per cent) being designated most friendly.

And one of the top three challenges immigrants face is making friends (34 per cent) with finding employment at the top (62 per cent). Having worked with immigrants for a long time, I understand the isolation that occurs in the migration process. And we are not alone in this, it happens with seniors as well as other groups. Speaking to thousands of immigrants across Canada I often get asked, “How do I make friends?”

To me, volunteering is the best way to tackle this problem.

When Anita (not her real name) first landed in Canada from India, the marketing professional didn’t know quite what to expect, but she never imagined finding a job in her field would be so difficult. She was repeatedly told she had “No Canadian experience.” To seek some advice, she approached a settlement counselor, who suggested Anita volunteer to get some Canadian experience.

Her initial reaction? “What? Work for free? That’s not why I came to Canada!”

But she decided to give it a chance, and began volunteering at the YMCA, working with new Canadians like her. Now, three years later, smiling at the memory of her original response, Anita tells me she is still an active volunteer with the YMCA, even though she now heads up a leading-edge social media company.

Today, she tells me of how her experiences in those initial days changed her life for the better: Through volunteering, she quickly started making new friends in her adopted country. She also discovered she enjoyed helping other newcomers and learned a great deal from the mentors who trained her.

Only three months later, through a mentor she met, she was offered a part-time job with a non-profit to help it submit a bid for funding a marketing plan. The part-time job turned into a full-time one when the bid was accepted! From then on, no one ever asked her about “Canadian experience!” Anita had arrived!

In case you think volunteering won’t be considered much by potential employers, think again. According to a LinkedIn survey, 46 per cent of Canadian professionals polled stated that they consider volunteer work equally as valuable as paid work experience.

Immigrants to Canada come from countries where volunteering is not as big as it is in Western countries, but, once here, volunteering is an important tool that can help immigrants settle in faster. In my 7 Success Secrets for Canadian Immigrants seminar, volunteering is a key step.

Here are nine benefits of volunteering for new Canadians:

1)     Gives you that elusive Canadian experience

2)     Often turns into your first job in Canada

3)     Creates a network and opportunities for mentorship

4)     Allows you to practice the official language

5)     Gives you a chance to learn Canadian idioms and phrases

6)     Gives you exposure to the Canadian work environment

7)     Helps you build a connection with Canada

8)     Allows you to meet people outside your own ethnic group

9)     Gives you Canadian references

Hopefully new immigrants out there can start on this path to success in Canada!

Nick Noorani is an immigration champion, social entrepreneur and Managing Partner of Prepare for Canada an online magazine for immigrants pre-arrival and post. He can be reached at nick@nicknoorani.com

Tags: ,




jag says:

lol judging by comments of non immigrants well they think their non immigrants now. their fullof hate & wouldnt want to be friends. how bout creat something to teach them howto stop the centuries of hate????????

Featured

The Canadian Flag flies over the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill on Feb. 15, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Ottawa unveils new immigrant investor program

VANCOUVER DESI Ottawa is now accepting applications for its new immigrant investor program, which aims to provide up to 60 “high-net worth immigrants” a path…
Continue Reading »

kid

Devastating, monthlong heatwave in India has killed hundreds, as temperatures surge close to 50 C

Heatwave ◄ Back Next ► Picture 1 of 12 An Indian child cools off under a fountain at a water park in Hyderabad on May…
Continue Reading »

pioneers

Ossie Kaur Thandi’s family was just one of seven Indo-Canadian families living in New West in 1934

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Ossie Kaur was 16 years old when she left her childhood home in the Lower Mainland to travel alone to India….
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

pioneers

Ossie Kaur Thandi’s family was just one of seven Indo-Canadian families living in New West in 1934

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Ossie Kaur was 16 years old when she left her childhood home in the Lower Mainland to travel alone to India….
Continue Reading »

A look at Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s first cabinet

THE CANADIAN PRESS EDMONTON — A look at Alberta’s NDP cabinet sworn in Sunday: Rachel Notley (Edmonton Strathcona) Premier, minister of intergovernmental affairs. Notley, 51,…
Continue Reading »

Japan-Canada trade talks stalled with no meetings in sight

By Mike Blanchfield THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Trade talks have stalled between Canada and Japan — one of the Harper government’s priority countries for…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

weight-loss

Do we need to exercise more or eat less?

JILL BARKER MONTREAL GAZETTE A battle is waging in the scientific journals between several prominent health and fitness experts. In one corner are physicians Aseem Malhotra,…
Continue Reading »

exam scores

Identical twins’ mark sheets almost as identical and the story of a courageous young achiever

HINDUSTAN TIMES AND VANCOUVER DESI They are identical twins and, interestingly, even their mark sheets look almost the same. Ranchi twins Aporupa and Anorupa Chattopadhyay …
Continue Reading »

India-pharma-under scanner

U.S. lawsuit puts generic drug imports from India under scanner

IANS Washington – A U.S. class action lawsuit accusing India’s Ranbaxy of large-scale deception on its generic drug applications puts a question mark on drug…
Continue Reading »

100 year journey

Apart from the overwhelming cold, Sucha Singh Bagri has fond memories of his first few days in B.C.

SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Sucha Singh Bagri arrived in Canada with his father Harnam Singh Bagri on Feb 2, 1935, on the Empress of Russia,…
Continue Reading »

swimsuits

Who wants to be a Princess? Beauty pageant contestants undergo rigorous training

VANCOUVER DESI Divas aspiring to become Indian Princesses are undergoing rigorous training before the grand finale of the beauty pageant in Mumbai. Indian princess pageant 2015 ◄…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

SALMAN KHAN

Is Salman Khan going to join Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables?

IANS Mumbai — Sylvester Stallone and Salman Khan seem to have a mutual admiration. The Hollywood star is all praise for the “super talented Indian…
Continue Reading »

Items of clothing are displayed in room 331 of the Martinez Hotel, where Parisian fashion house Elie Saab provides sartorial services to celebrities attending the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 21, 2015. During the Cannes Film Festival, room 331 is radically transformed into a red carpet emergency room - where celebrities like Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman can rush to if they pop out of a dress, or a zipper breaks. Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

‘Nip slips’ and broken zippers: Red carpet Emergency Room for Cannes wardrobe malfunctions always full of drama

THOMAS ADAMSON THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CANNES, France – For most of the year, room 331 of the Martinez Hotel is just your run-of-the mill luxury…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai doesn’t leave her daughter alone even for a night

HINDUSTAN TIMES Apart from walking the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is also screening footage from her upcoming film, Jazbaa. The first…
Continue Reading »