The initial days were full of struggle as we were starting from scratch, but this country values hard work and honesty and gave us many opportunities to rise in spite of the challenges of moving to a new country.
Why did you decide to migrate to Canada?
We wanted to have a stable life. Both of us being in travelling professions, it was difficult to give enough time to our children. With our qualification and experience, Canada was a good option to give our kids a good life and future.
Which year did you migrate?
We came to Canada in 2015 with our PR but went back to wind up a few things in India. We came back to settle down in March 2017.
What were your first impressions of Canada?
We found it so beautiful nature-wise. People are so unconditionally helpful to the newcomers, very humble and welcoming. It made it easy for us to settle in.
Where did you stay when you reached Canada?
We rented a basement in Surrey with the help of a relative before we came to BC. We didn’t want to be dependent on anyone though they offered us to stay with them.
What challenges did you face when you and your family moved here?
Commuting with kids was the first hurdle we faced whenever we had to go somewhere like to a park, library or even a grocery store. Another challenge was converting or getting recognition for our education as per Canadian credentials. It took a few months to get the Canadian equivalent license to be eligible for the required job and before applying for the same. Till then, we were exhausting our savings.
How long did it take to get used to the people, weather or surrounding?
Having the experience of travelling to other countries and seeing different cultures, it wasn’t difficult for us to adjust or get used to the weather, surrounding or people.
How was your experience getting a job here?
Harpreet: Once I got the equivalent Canadian license in engineering and my wife did a dental receptionist course, it was not very difficult finding a job. Where were you working before moving to Canada?
Harpreet: I was a marine engineer in Merchant Navy and my wife was part of the Cabin Crew for Air India. How do you see your future in Canada?
We want to raise our children in a better and safe environment towards a bright future. This country provides a lot of opportunities in many fields, and we are very optimistic about it.
How has your overall journey in Canada been so far?
The initial days were full of struggle as we were starting from scratch, but this country values hard work and honesty and gave us many opportunities to rise in spite of the challenges of moving to a new country. We have enjoyed every moment as we were in this together supporting each other.
What do you like and dislike about this country?
Likes: People here are very accommodating and helpful. Canada has a multicultural community which really helps in overall personality development especially for children and gives them a broad perspective and makes them more accepting.
There are many institutions, like schools, DIVERSEcity and libraries, which provide free knowledge and guide you through many difficulties a newcomer might face. My wife being a Library Champion got to know and spread the knowledge about the other services and resources a library can provide such as free skill-improving certified online courses, ESL course, English classes and conversation groups, and resume writing course. These can be of real help when immigrants are building a life in a new country. Dislike: The Canadian education system doesn’t accept foreign education/qualification, thus getting a job here is a very long and tiring process.
The biggest obstacle faced so far in Canada?
Besides finding a job, we had to think about who is going to look after the kids if both of us wanted to work as we both are ambitious. We looked for daycares but they were expensive. With two kids it was sensible for one of us to stay at home and grow gradually. Also, when you are new with no credit history, you have to defer buying necessary items through the banks.
Any advice for future immigrants?
A new beginning is a big decision, you just need to be patient. Also, accept the changes around us. The community accepts us if we wholeheartedly accept them. You should know whom to approach for the right guidance. There are many institutions that help and guide newcomers. They are the best resources to get answers to all your queries.
Share your memories of your homeland.
On a lighter note, we missed having house help, which was a huge dependency back then. We never knew we could survive without them. The culture is so different back in India. Our whole family is there and we used to pay regular visits to them. The dhabas on the highway were open all night and were an option for midnight snacks with friends – we made a few memories down the lane.