Name of mother: Harsharan Kaur
Designation: Honorary Director Kendriya Likhari Sabha (North America)
Also author of 7 poetry books
Name: Dr. Rishi Singh
Working at: Innivec (www.innivec.com)
Designation: Vice President, Academics
Name of wife: Shriya Rishi
Working at: Fraser Valley Real Estate Board
Designation: Head of HR & Safety
Name of 1st child/children: Anhad singh
Occupation: Simon Fraser University, BBA first year student
Name of 2nd child/children: Suvi Kaur
Occupation: Grade 8 student
Why did you decide to migrate to Canada?
During my late teens, this idea was first shared by my father Ravindar Singh Somi’s friend, Eric, who lived on the Vancouver Island. Importantly, this is one of the few places on our blue planet that offers the scenic views of the majestic mountains as well as the serene Pacific Ocean, while also allowing newcomers to maintain their culture while adding to the country’s tapestry of multi-culturalism.
Which year did you migrate?
We arrived in Canada in the summer of 2006, when our son was 18 months old.
What were your first impressions of Canada?
When I first arrived in Vancouver in 1999, I was invited to be a part of a program at the University British Columbia; it was then that I decided to settle in the land where the ocean meets the mountains. Along with the welcoming members of the Indigenous community I met, the streets of UBC were breathtakingly beautiful at that time of the year – lined with Cherry blossoms all around. My first impression of this land was that it is filled with natural beauty, and with beautiful and kind people.
Where did you stay when you reached Canada? Hotel, relative or friends place?
For the first few weeks, we stayed with some family members – and then moved into our own house.
What difficulties/challenges did you face when you and your family moved here?
Like all immigrants, the foremost challenge was to find a job in my field. As I was coming from a very prestigious role in London, UK and earlier in the India’s capital city working with the stalwarts of our nation, it took some time getting accustomed to dynamics of this city – especially as Vancouver was not a knowledge-based economy at that time, and vacancies in post-secondary institutions were few and far between.
How long did it take to get used to the people, weather, or the surrounding?
As we were arriving from London in the United Kingdom, we really liked the weather and the people! The surroundings were beautiful, inviting and less crowded – all pluses. Our commute to enjoy a savoury samosa used to be a good two hours from our Central London home to Southall – and in Surrey, it was reduced to less than 15 minutes – and who could complaint about that?!
How was your experience getting a job here? Was it easy or troublesome?
We all know that securing a job is one of the biggest challenges all immigrants face, and it was no different for us. Even though my recent education and experience were from United Kingdom, it took some time to find a foothold in the labour market. Fortunately, I got a break as the Editor in Lower Mainland’s leading South-Asian lifestyle magazine and the rest, as they say, is history.
Where were you working before moving to Canada? As what?
Before moving to Canada, I was a researcher at Control Risks, a global specialist risk consultancy that provides the insight and intelligence to multinational organizations.
What do you like and dislike most about this country?
Like – one of the most beautiful, serene, ethical and giving nations.
Dislike – there is a lack of knowledge-based opportunities.
How do you see your future in Canada?
I see a bright future ahead for myself while playing a leadership role serving the larger community.
How has your overall journey in Canada been so far?
My overall journey has been very pleasant and rewarding; it is a very giving country that values its citizens’ rights and freedoms.
Biggest obstacle faced so far in Canada:
It was to engage with knowledge-based professions, as compared to a city like London, England.
Resolutions made for yourself or family:
- To work closely with Indigenous communities, and,
- To travel more across the country, to see and learn more of Canada, and,
- Serve more people coast to coast.
Advice for immigrants:
Make sure to learn about the country before making the big move! Canada is a very giving land filled with generous and thoughtful people.
Memories of your homeland:
I have nostalgic memories of my birthplace, Dehradoon, and hiking in the Himalayas; and I miss Delhi’s history, its bustling markets, and its unending supply of historical and modern eateries with fantastic food fare!