Settlers speak: Quick fire answers on the ‘initial days’

Beginnings are hard. It is often said, well begun is half done. However, with immigration, this adage doesn’t hold true. In fact, most would admit that it gets better with each passing year, more like the vintage wine.” With time, you understand the laws, the regulations, and the country better. The initial anxiety of the unknown dies down and it becomes easier to embrace,” says Sayantan Das, IT Professional, GTA. But how do people begin? What are the common hiccups? What is the one thing that they wish would change?  We explored these questions by interviewing a few new immigrants who shared their thoughts, their excitement, and their concerns with us.

First Impression of Canada

” I had a culture shock. But with time eased into this life,” says Mehak Malhotra, an Electronics Engineer from Mississauga. For Richa Sharma, a Telecom professional, “I was excited but worried about the harsh weather, but my first impression was very good.” Echoing the same thoughts, Purvi Patel says, “A multicultural land of dreams and the snow only enhances its beauty.” Agreeing to the vibrant culture, Sowmya Gopinathan says, “It is an immigrant dominant country (in a positive way). It feels home as compared to the part of the US that I am coming from.” Shipra Sachdeva, a Counsellor from Mississauaga describes her first impression with just two words, “I was pleasantly surprised.”

The best thing about Canada

“Coming from the US, I can’t help but say that the fair visa and travel policies are the best things about this country. They welcome with open arms,” says Purvi. “Diversity is the best thing about this country,” says Richa. Unanimously, diversity was the most talked about thing under this section.

 Hits and the misses

“A lot is being done in order to make the transition smoother. I would like to see stricter laws to maintain the cleanliness of the city,” says Sowmya. ” International experience is definitely not as valued as it should be. Most people have to start from scratch,” says Mehak.  Echoing similar thoughts, Srijani Som, an IT professional from Kitchener and Waterloo says, “I wish they would not judge us as new immigrants but according to our experience, skillset and expertise. “Talking about lifestyle, Richa puts it in perspective, “I wish they have more jobs for all segments, accommodation isn’t so expensive, rentals are affordable and taxes and insurances are bearable.”

(We interviewed a group of seven South Asian women (new immigrants) from diverse socio-economic background)

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