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Immigrant Stories

Meet The Patel Family

By Petrina D’Souza, 25 Nov, 2015

    Usman Patel works as an Underwriter at Intact Financial Corporation
    Sunita Patel works as an Underwriting Assistant at Intact Financial Corporation
    Suhayl Patel is 12 years old

    Getting Here:

    With the hope of securing a brighter future for themselves and their son, Suhayl, Usman and Sunita Patel migrated to Vancouver in August 2009 from Mumbai, India. Their first impressions of the country ‒ beautiful, serene and diverse.

    They lived in Sunita’s brother’s place the first year, eventually moving to their own apartment. It took the family a few months to get used to the country, its people and surroundings. “Weather, finding jobs, and settling in our own home were some of the challenges we faced,” says Sunita, recalling her initial years in Canada.

    Back in Mumbai, Sunita used to work in a stock broking company as a manager (office administration) and Usman worked as a lighting technician. Yet, due to the lack of Canadian work experience, they were ready to accept any suitable job that came their way. “We were aware of the fact that we should take what we get and not be too picky,” the couple explains.

    Usman got his first job as a gas station attendant within the very first week, thanks to some friends who owned a chain of gas stations. Sunita, however, did face a challenge getting a job. She was disheartened for not receiving a call from any of the various banks and retail stores she applied to. “Finally, I walked into Walmart at Capilano Mall and requested to meet the manager; the lady was very kind and referred me to the manager. The two were so pleased with my brief talk that they called me for an interview the next morning,” adds Sunita.

    And there began her work journey in Walmart in November 2009 in the ladies fashion area. In December, Sunita started her second job as a cashier at Extra Foods close to her home. “At a time I had two jobs and volunteered when time permitted at my son’s school, the Recreation Centre, and the Community Police Centre to gain Canadian experience and be an integral part of the society,” points out Sunita.

    At present, Usman and Sunita are happily employed at Intact Financial Corporation. “Within two years of toiling really hard and for almost seven days a week, I was offered a job at Intact Insurance in September 2011. After which I referred Usman and he was offered a job too,” shares Sunita.

    The Patel family is thankful for their warm and supportive community of family and friends who welcomed and supported them in every possible way – making their overall journey in Canada very comfortable. “My brother and sister-in-law accommodated us for almost a year (that helped us save towards our home), friends helped us find jobs. When we were at work, family and friends were always around to help out with our son who was then only six years of age (we saved our money on day care).”

    They hope to have a future that is relaxed, peaceful and hopefully mortgage-free earlier than the stipulated time.

    Biggest obstacle faced so far in Canada:

    The biggest obstacle so far was finding the right job (before getting into Intact).   

    Resolutions made for yourself or family:

    Life is unpredictable; enjoy every moment and take time to share joy and peace throughout this beautiful community.

    Advice for immigrants:

    If you are a new immigrant or intend to immigrate to Canada, come with an open mind and be ready to face a few challenges, it’s not always easy for everyone. This community is very welcoming, beautiful and diverse, but you have to be flexible and ready to adapt. To fit in the society, you have to change a little and mould yourself accordingly, as you have opted to immigrate for a change in lifestyle or maybe for a better future for yourself or your loved ones and no one forced you to do so.    

    Memories of Homeland:

    Wonderful people (we still have family and friends there), the diverse cultural events, festivals, the tasty street food, over crowded trains (in spite of which we had train friends and train parties), ready homemade food when we got back from work, and of course not to forget, our mega annual summer picnics with family, friends and neighbours which were simply awesome.

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