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HomeCommunityA Story of Resilience: How To Adapt to Canadian Life.

A Story of Resilience: How To Adapt to Canadian Life.

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Getting ahead and achieving your desired success as a newcomer in Canada depends on how you quickly fit into the Canadian society. It is a survival skill here.

Samuel Akuma looks like your regular guy-next-door with average height and good looks, chatty with no special airs about him. Yet under this unassuming demeanor Akuma exudes refreshingly profound wisdom.

Born and raised in Nigeria, a West African country where he had his first degree in Computer Engineering with First Class honors, Samuel came to Canada for Masters at the prestigious University of Waterloo and has since made Canada his home.

His mother died when he was in school and then he faced more adversities when he lost his father at 20 when he was in university, and his older sister four months later. These circumstances added responsibility of having to take care of his younger siblings. Samuel kept on persevering and doing what he had to do. “It was like being thrown into an ocean and you learn how to swim while drowning.” And that’s exactly what he did.

In this episode of the Immigrant Life Podcast, Samuel shares his life’s journey, and how he was able to pull through. He also shares tips on getting ahead at the workplace as an immigrant; cultural integration; getting a hit through your resume and at interviews, and so much more

He says that getting ahead and achieving your desired success as a newcomer in Canada is totally dependent on how you quickly fit into the Canadian society. It is a survival skill here in Canada. You should not joke with it.

As with any other country, community and society or family, — from your home environment, to schooling, to the workplace, even to food and shopping, Canadians have their way of viewing and doing things. The society has certain expectations, which if met, will guarantee a better living experience for you.

Here are some dos and don’ts for your reference:


  • Be hungry for knowledge: Canada is a very organized country which can mean one thing: there is ample information available for you to use. Visit the library. Use the internet, after all, Google is your friend. Visit your bank to ask, for example, what’s available for you on banking. Read, read and read. Ask more questions – all those awkward ones too.
  • Study your map: Determine your location on Google map to see how you can navigate your immediate environment and walk through those neighborhood, markets, streets and alleys.
  • Obey traffic rules: Knowledge of what’s allowed and what’s not and the rules and regulations is key here. Ask questions and soak up knowledge wherever you find it.
  • Read signs everywhere: I once narrowly escaped paying a $50r fine. My saving grace at the time was seeing the sign indicating the penalty at the nick of time. So, pay attention and read the signs.
  • Have a budget: It is suicidal to spend without taking a close look at your income just because you possess a credit card. The earlier you know that credit card is just what it is – CREDIT card, the better. Pay day will soon come so spend by budgeting.
  • Learn about the tax regime of your area: Tax rules differ from place to place so learn about what applies where you are.
  • As a professional, never underestimate the power of LinkedIn: You might be more accustomed to Facebook or other social media platforms but LinkedIn is what works here for any professional links, learnings and getting noticed.
  • Be mentally strong: Expect anything to happen and never take anything personally. Racism is still an issue around here. Developing thick skin to negative perception and negative experience is a survival skill that will come handy to you.
  • Be very thorough: Read and understand every document before signing it.
  • Be on the pathway of continuous self-improvement: Take courses that interest and inspire you and enhance your skills be it on writing, interviewing or anything. Go to LinkedIn learning before you go for any professional interview. It is comprehensive enough.
  • Be honest! Honesty is a skill that will be appreciated and valued.
  • Open a savings account: Learn to save and save yourself from the tough times that might come without warning.


  • Don’t be assumptive: The rule of the thumb is to ask when you’re in doubt. Never assume.
  • Keep yourself away from the sales boom: It is very enticing here to get swamped by the sale offers and the way market operates to make you buy more things that you might never need. If you don’t exercise restraint early enough, the credit piles up and you’ll end up frowning at everyone for no fault of theirs. There’s a reason those items are on sale in the first instance. It’s there because people refused to buy.
  • Don’t jaywalk: Follow the cross walks or zebra-crosses. Meaning, don’t cross or walk in the street unlawfully or without regard for approaching traffic.

The list is not exhaustive. You can never be wrong if seek more information and try to understand more. Be open to both knowledge and change. To do otherwise is to prolong your period of integration. Don’t forget that the secret of your success lies in your daily routine. These little, baby steps add up, leading to an improved version of yourself.

Listen to this episode 56 of the Immigrant Life Podcast to learn more and apply to your life.

Related article: 111 Lessons Learned on my Immigration Journey

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