Moving to Canada Allowed Me to Learn These Things
Immigrating to a new country will force you to learn innumerable things. Today, I will share with you my precious learnings and reflections after moving to Canada.
I hope these help you make your immigration journey more enjoyable.
Traveling within Canada is expensive.
Air travel is usually more expensive within Canada for flights of similar distances and services compared to the US, Europe, and Asia. The most cited reason is the lack of competition in the country and the low population density in Canada.
Of course, other factors such as dates of travel come into play. But I am a regular employee with limited vacation days and my schedule depends on my company’s activities. So, I don’t always have the luxury of picking the cheapest fare. If I were to choose between a trip to Eastern Canada or Europe from BC based on bang for the buck, I would choose the latter. The airfare is almost the same. Plus, in Europe, I can travel from one country or city to the next without breaking the bank.
The good news is that the recent entry of ultra-low-cost carriers like Flair and Swoop has somehow given Canadians a bit more options. Ideally, competition drives prices down. So, wanderers can explore the amazing landscapes of Canada.
Click here to learn about my travel adventure to Whitehorse, Yukon.
Volunteering is a big part of Canadian culture.
I found this fact incredible. In Canada, people of all ages share their time, talents, and resources with the community. Statistics Canada reports that 79% of Canadians or 24 million people volunteered their time in 2018. These amazing individuals enhanced communities and improved the health, safety, and education of Canadians.
Volunteering enriches the lives of both the recipient and the giver. It is an excellent way to enhance your skills, build your references, and widen your network.
The act of volunteering has another immense benefit for the volunteer. Witnessing the community come together for a great cause nurtures the soul. There are not a lot of things that can uplift you the way that helping others can.
It is therefore not a surprise that many Canadians find joy in volunteer work.
In Canada, there are numerous volunteer opportunities in non-profit organizations, hospitals, religious sectors, and others. But, of course, not all organizations and volunteer opportunities are created equal. You need to find those that are aligned with your values, goals, and interests. This will ensure your commitment.
Check out my article entitled Volunteering for These Organizations Enriched My Immigration Experience.
Networking is a valuable skill.
When we come to Canada, we need to adjust to the local ways of doing things. This includes means of finding opportunities.
They say that at least 70% of jobs are not advertised. Thus, networking becomes a critical skill to tap the hidden job market. However, networking is beneficial not just for landing a job.
As an immigrant, expanding our network can never be overly emphasized. Through our network, we acquire new skills, experiences, and ways of life. At the same time, we are able to share ours. This allows our thread to become part of Canadian society’s tapestry.
As immigrants, we leave everything and (almost) everyone that is dear to us in our home country. Our new network becomes our group of friends of “family” in this new country. This is another advantage of widening our network.
Networking is truly amazing. I know because I found my first job in Canada through networking. Read the story here.
Canadians are certainly nice.
You’ve probably read a gazillion articles or seen several memes about how polite Canadians are. Canadians are really nice but this does not mean that they are meek.
Based on my observations, Canadians are quite vocal. They usually don’t hesitate to speak up to correct an undesirable situation or give suggestions.
I’ve seen some Canadians get furious. The Asian in me got scared because of the words and gestures used. The great thing is that, in many cases, their anger dissipates quickly after. It seems like they just need to quickly hash things out or vent their emotions then they can be civil with the other party again.
Norms and societal expectations truly influence our behaviour. Here, authenticity and vulnerability are more revered compared to other societies. It’s refreshing and I love it.
I wrote an article about the 10 things I love about Canada. Use this link to access the article.
Free resources are available to speed up your integration, enhance your career, and elevate your quality of life.
The government and numerous non-profit organizations offer programs to enhance skills and job prospects. Organizations are also available to help with a wide range of challenges from mental health to housing. Do your research or expand your network to get more information about these programs.
Public libraries in Canada are wonderful. They do not just offer books but various programs and resources as well. For instance, they give free access to computers, the internet, and printers. They also organize classes, workshops, and community events.
Check out my article entitled Libraries in Canada Offer Knowledge, Entertainment, and Hope.
There are many individuals who want to help. But be discerning.
Aside from the government and non-profit organizations, there are also individuals who are willing and ready to help. However, be discerning.
As we know, not everyone has pure intentions. Also, since we are all different, we will have different ideas of what help looks like.
Fortunately, I have met more people with pure intentions. I am sure that you would, too. Some people might give you weather-appropriate clothes, invite you to their homes, and connect you to their network.
I met a lot of amazing people at Dress for Success Vancouver. Read my personal testimonial about this excellent organization here.
I learned to cook more Filipino food after moving to Canada.
I came to Canada with enough life skills to survive on my own. These skills include the ability to cook simple Filipino dishes. Also, since the Philippines is one of the top countries of immigrant origin in Canada, there is no shortage of Filipino restaurants here. For these reasons, I have easy access to my usual food.
My problem is that Filipino restaurants usually offer mainstream dishes only. I couldn’t find regional or less popular dishes. To satisfy my cravings, I expanded my menu at home to include dishes that I can’t find in any restaurant.
After moving to Canada, I learned to cook and appreciate Filipino food more. I consider that a great accomplishment since I can eat what I want anytime, control what goes into my food, and save a bit of money.
Click here if you want to learn more about my story.
Appreciating other cultures heightened my appreciation for Filipino culture.
We all know that Canada is home to a diverse culture. As I integrated into Canadian society, I started to learn and appreciate other cultures. In the process, I also cultivated the yearning to know more, cherish, and promote the Filipino culture.
Fortunately, there are organizations and events that help us learn about various cultures. Every summer, provinces and territories come alive with festivals. These festivals make us feel more connected to our roots. These also make it easier to appreciate the diversity in Canada.
Canada and its people place a premium on the country’s cultural diversity. In fact, Canadian Multiculturalism Day was designated to celebrate the cultural communities that compose Canada’s vibrant society.
Read my article entitled Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Canada and What It Means to Immigrants to learn more.
Moving to Canada might seem like your lowest point but you will find the strength within to rise again.
Rebuilding your life in a new country is not a walk in the park. You leave behind you your loved ones, familiar ways, and even your confidence. But these trials can polish you to be a better version of yourself. On top of these, you will learn many new things that will enrich your life.
Find tips, resources, and stories from inspirational immigrants here.
I hope that the learnings and reflections I shared in this post will help you thrive faster in Canada.