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New Home. New Challenges

M.A.S.K. for Success

You arrived recently to Canada and you find yourself overwhelmed and going through a cultural shock.  You are facing so many challenges including language barriers, finding a job, raising children, lack of recognition of your previous education and training, and being disconnected from your family. These are only a few of the challenges that can discourage you and add stress to your life, but this should not be the case because with patience, perseverance, and the right mindset you can overcome these difficulties and be successful in your new home.

Let me tell you a story about a little creature that is called the “red crab”. Red crabs live on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean where they go through their own migratory journey every year in October or November. During this one-week journey, adult male crabs leave their burrows in the forest and head to the coast to dig burrows and get ready to mate with female crabs that follow them later. Female crabs lay their eggs into the ocean and then head back to the forest while the eggs hatch into the water as larvae once they hit the ocean salty water. Baby crabs then head back to the forest on a nine-day journey that is full of challenges starting from being eaten by predators in the sea to being crushed by cars and people and climbing five-meters long fences. There is not a single year that crabs gave up on their migration journey and stayed in the forest. Do you see the similarities in your migration journey and the red crab migration journey? If red crabs can do it so can you. Stress and challenges are part of life and it is our own perception that makes us view these challenges as barriers or as stepping stones for success.

M.A.S.K. your way to success by shifting your perspective to ease your transition during your resettlement years by following these steps:

  • Modify your expectations. Most newcomers arrive in Canada with high expectations of establishing themselves in a very short period and when this doesn’t happen, frustration starts to build up and then disappointment sets in. While some may find jobs immediately depending on their field of expertise, most take them longer to find jobs and settle in the province. The most unrealistic expectation that I came across over the years is that some newcomers expect to find jobs with the same position and the same salary they earned overseas especially if they were working in the Middle East. These expectations must be modified to match the standard of living in Canada and labor market jobs.
  • Ask Questions. If you ask no one will tell you anything and you are more prone to do mistakes and run into trouble. It is as simple as that. Don’t let language stop you from asking questions and getting the answers that you are looking for. You are lucky enough to live in the GTA area where there are a lot of settlement agencies and other social service providers that can assist you in answering your questions. You will be amazed at the number of services that are offered in many languages so find one that offers services in your language.
  • Shift your mindset. This is one of the most important factors for success in Canada. Shifting your mindset to be more flexible and open to accepting new experiences and new social and cultural norms will help you adjust quickly and achieve success at a quicker rate than staying in a rigid and inflexible mindset.
  • Know exactly what you want and go for it. This is not an easy task to do at the beginning of resettlement; however, once you have been in Canada for few months you can now formulate an idea of what you want to do and how can you achieve it. Setting goals are one of the most important elements for success, otherwise, you’ll find yourself years down the road with no progress and no achievements because you allowed the daily living to drag you away from achieving your dream which was what you immigrated for in the first place.

This article appeared initially in “The Canadian Newcomers” Newspaper Vol. 01 – Issue 01 on April 16, 2018

Raja Mishal, Ph.D. is a transformational author, speaker and a societal influencer who is passionate about supporting individuals overcoming life challenges.

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