It’s been said that “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” We all have our life happening while we are making our grand plans. And while that goes on, lessons are learned – some tough, and some soft. If life happened without its complexities and ups and downs that would not be life.
Ask any immigrant the best and easiest part of their immigration journey and most will invariably say coming to another country. The documentation, paperwork and the physical move, though they require a lot of time and effort, are actually straightforward. On the other side of that is the journey of integration to a society that is alien to you, your cultural surroundings, your natural environment and your social setups. And this is where you will face innumerable bumps and falls. For the faint-hearted, it is daunting, and they give up. For the courageous, lessons are learned, and they emerge stronger.
A First Generation Immigrant shares some lessons he’s learned on his integration journey:
I’ve learned that:
- There will be days when you will question your decision to come to Canada
- Don’t give up. Even if your Canadian dreams don’t materialize in one year, if you continue to work on your dreams and fine-tune your plans, you’ll get to where you want in 3-5 years
- It is wise to start small and scale up when it’s time
- Live a modest life. Even if you have all the financial resources to live a very comfortable life, it pays to start out modestly
- You must work hard every day to make a living.
- It is okay to ask for help. That help will arrive when you seek it.
- Help often comes from random and unexpected places.
- Believe in the power of your mind to make your life successful. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.
- Sometimes when you finally get what you wanted for long, you might not want it anymore.
- Broccoli doesn’t taste as good the first time but like many other things it will grow on you.
- It is unwise to compare yourself with others.Your path to growth and success will always be unique.
- You can listen to all opinions on your situation, but in the end, you get to decide what you want.
- Older immigrants don’t often have time for new immigrants because they are busy sorting out their own lives.
- Canadians are often polite, even if you’re annoying.
- Canadians would rather apologize for being distracted when you were talking rather than tell you they couldn’t understand you because of your accent.
- Canadians like you when they start to share their personal stories with you.
- If you don’t pay your taxes, you can end up in jail faster than you thought.
- There are poor and homeless people in Canada
- If you don’t know what to say to someone, you can never go wrong talking about the weather.
- You stand a risk of losing your children to Child and Human Services if you don’t acquire better parenting skills.
- Acquiring new degrees and certificates doesn’t necessarily get you a professional job in Canada.
- Volunteering empowers you, opens doors for you and teaches you what nothing else can ever teach you.
- If you want to send money back to family and friends, earn it first. Don’t fund it through credit cards.