Below is an Immigration Experience narrated by a previous Immigrant including advices.
1.Don’t translate dollars into home currency
When I landed in Toronto, I had no idea how I would get my 12 big bags from the luggage carousel to the customs and immigration area. A big man walked over to me and said in Hindi,
“I’m a porter. I’ll get a cart for your bags. It’ll cost you $20.” I hesitated.
He obviously could tell what I was thinking, noticing my reluctance, and said, “Don’t start converting that into Indian rupees or you will go crazy in Canada.”
2.If you ask, many will help
I took a bus for the first time to go for a job interview. I showed the driver the address and he let me off at the closest stop. He then drove away but then stopped the bus up ahead when he noticed that I seemed lost. He invited me to hop in again and stopped the bus right in front of the office, which was on the bus route.
“Ask for help,” the bus driver told me, “If you ask, many will offer help. If you don’t ask, nobody can read your mind.”
3.Canadians expect a firm handshake
Ramesh Nilakantan, multicultural marketing and communications specialist with Publicis Diversité at Publicis Toronto, spends considerable time advising newcomers about the job market in Canada. I met him, too. In parting, I shook hands with him and turned to leave. But he asked to shake hands again, and he gripped my hand tightly.
“Your handshake must be firm,” he explained. “It indicates that you are both open-minded and confident.”
4.Do what you are good at
We stayed in Mississauga for a month and I attended an employment readiness workshop at a local settlement agency. I showed up with my five-page resumé that listed everything that I had done in the last two decades in my media career. Anita Shiwnath, then an employment counsellor at the Malton Neighbourhood Centre, told me to cut it down.
She politely said, “Your resumé has to market your potentials and demonstrate the benefits you can bring to the position. Focus on your core competencies and connect to the requirements of the position and sector.”
A young counsellor at ACCES Employment Services politely asked me to consider whether I really wanted to keep my greying facial hair. “You don’t have to look young. But you also don’t have to look older than your age,” the counsellor said. “You must look well-groomed.”
I turned clean-shaven for the first time in my life. No job yet — but, oh, yes, do I look younger
Howard Karel is a marketing and advertising consultant who has worked around the world. I worked as a security guard at the condominium where he lives. As winter approached, I remarked, “It’s getting cold.”
“Yes,” he said. “It feels like Canada. This place has two seasons — the cold and the very cold season. So protect yourself.”
7.Get a Local Certificate
Sunil Rao, editor of South Asian Focus, became a friend at our first meeting. “It’ll take time to get started. If you can, try and get a local qualification,” he said.
“I’m too old,” I said.
“You’ll be surprised to see people older than you happily going to school,” he replied. One of the best decisions I took since I came to Canada was to enrol into the Canadian Journalism for Internationally Trained Writers at Sheridan College in Oakville.
8.Get a survival Job
Many immigration and settlement experts say it’s not advisable to get a survival job because the longer you do a survival job, the longer it takes for you to get a job in your own field. That is absolutely true. “But when you’re here with your family, you need to start paying bills pretty soon,” Maheshwari (Maggie) Sivappa, my neighbour told me in her usual matter-of-fact manner. “And you have to do what comes your way.”
I followed her advice and became a security guard. It’s allowed me to pay my bills, while going back to school for journalism training. (I even had the chance to turn my security guard experience into an article for Canadian Immigrant’s May 2009 edition.)
9.Don't get into Debt
Maheli Pacheco was a social worker at my son’s school. She said, “This place will change your lifestyle. You will get loans at easy terms. But don’t get into that trap. Buy only what you can’t do without and what you can pay for.”
10.Keep enough funds to return
The person who gave me this piece of advice was interviewing me for a sales associate job. He said, “Keep enough money to buy tickets to return if things don’t go well.”
I politely told him, “I haven’t come here to return.” Nevertheless, I have always maintained a minimum bank balance that can buy my family return tickets to India. Just knowing that safety net is there makes me even more determined to succeed in Canada!