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Helping Hands: Aminah's Story

My family has suffered immense suffering and turmoil as a result of the current situation in Syria; it is impossible to return due to the perilous security situation. I miss Syria’s warm climate and the farm that I had to give up upon coming to Canada. Although I left some friends behind, it has been relatively easy to keep in touch with them. My friends’ support throughout my immigration to Canada has made the process much easier. For them, I am in Heaven: a land of opportunity. They believe it was the best decision I could have made. My friends would love to come to Canada, but immigration is not quite as easy for some as it is for others.

In Canada, everybody helps everybody. The people here are welcoming and happy to help you get adjusted. When I initially arrived, I was overwhelmed with having to navigate this new lifestyle by myself. However, I met people who are native to Canada as well as fellow immigrants who graciously shared their knowledge and experiences with me. These people provided me with invaluable guidance and resources that ultimately made the transition smooth. I was provided with directions to the nearest grocery stores, gas stations, doctor’s offices, and other essential services. The people of Canada generously reached out to help me.

The greatest challenge with coming to Canada was the language barrier. Unfortunately, I experienced racism in the job force because it was difficult to communicate to English-speaking people while only knowing Arabic. I was eventually let go from my job as they were unwilling to be patient while I learned English. My performance on the job was irrelevant because they insisted they could not work with someone who was not fluent in English. Therefore, not speaking English essentially translated into not having a job. However, employers are more welcoming and understanding today than they were when I first came to Canada.

The people that helped me the most were students, professors, and people I met on the streets who gave me guidance and advice. Without these people, my story would be very different from the one I am telling today. Although I had to overcome adversity in different areas of my life, coming to Canada has been worthwhile. It has not been perfect, but it has been fulfilling for not only myself, but for my family as well.

One piece of advice I would give to new immigrants is to accept the inevitable change and to do your best to pass on the kindness that has been extended to you. Canada is a diverse place and the people here go to great lengths to make you feel welcomed. If you come to Canada with an open mind, you will be rewarded for your optimism.

Please note that certain facts have been altered for anonymity

This story is a collaborative effort between Raelynn Tkachuk and Aminah Ibrahim

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