Living your dream life in a new place as an immigrant is not a tea party. Settling in some place that is not familiar to you, integrating into a new society whose ways and values are different than yours are tough tasks but many of us take on this gigantic step despite the challenges. A new immigrant faces multitude of issues and hurdles — from the extremely cold weather to language and food to jobs and finances — and are particularly prone to feeling isolated.
Fortunately, there are numerous groups and organizations that are here to help you through the journey. Some of these organizations provide support, resources and services to help new immigrants. One such group is the Filipino Association, which has local presence all over Canada. Their sole aim is to welcome newcomers and help set them on the right track.
Krispin Ontong, originally from the Philippines, arrived in Canada in March 2010. Nine years down the line, he was sitting in Immigrant Life podcast studio as a guest, highlighting the impact of community support and how the Filipino Association in South east Manitoba has helped thousands of Filipinos get more easily integrated with the local population. The organization helps new Filipinos through networking events, welcome parties, seasonal events, festivals, and other social events. The association offers one-on-one counselling, parenting workshops and youth engagement activities, among other programs to new Filipinos who are unaware of the Canadian way of life and doing things.
Krispin believes that members of the immigrant community can help each other by being there for one another. “Immigrants generally, are not to look at other immigrants as competitors, but as collaborators.”
He understands the tendency of immigrants to live and socialize within their own community but he urges all immigrants to get out of their comfort zone. “Start from your own community. But to thrive in Canada, you need to mix with and learn from other cultures,” he says.
His experience in Canada has taught him that there is much one can learn from others by listening to their experiences. “No matter how old we are or how long we live, we can’t live enough to make all the mistakes that others have made.”
But to be successful and make the best of your life, the real incentive comes from a person within. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter all the external motivations and support that we get. If we internally give up, that’s the end!”
Getting integrated into the Canadian society is better fast-tracked when you join community support groups. Find out about the available support groups in your community that can help you to learn, understand and thrive. Join the Immigrant Life community. Get involved. Serve your flavor and get served too.