“Be in the present, there is nothing more important. You should not worry about the past or be anxious about the future. We only have limited time, so don’t waste it on worrying. The best time is the present.“
This is what Joy said when asked for a message for other newcomers like him. Sage words from a wise man. And quite eloquent from someone who, just about two years ago, did not speak any English at all.
Joy Frett and his wife, Rosily Kochuvareed, were newcomers to Toronto when Rosily was offered an opportunity to work as a social worker by the Manitoba Health Sector. A year after moving to Ontario from India, they moved once again and landed in Manitoba on March 29, 2014. The couple settled in Dauphin, a scenic city that is part of Manitoba’s Parkland Region.
An accomplished engineer and manager
Prior to moving, Joy was a field engineer and business owner who travelled extensively. Later on, he accepted a position as a Technical Manager for the Al-Massel Group, a general trading and contracting company in Kuwait. Before leaving for Canada, he had been working with the company for 17 years. Despite this success, Joy and his wife immigrated to Canada in search of a better life.
At first, the couple was worried about the harsh winters they were told they would face in Dauphin. They were also uncertain about finding decent and affordable accommodations because they did not know anybody from the city. And, with the predominantly Ukrainian community there, they thought that they would have problems fitting in.
“I like the enthusiasm, involvement and team spirit of e-facilitators. They are always open to listen and encourage the participants to communicate their own ideas and views in various important topics. I feel all participants are comfortable to talk and learn in the group. Irrespective of language capabilities, e-facilitators ensure that everyone gets their turn. Also, the topics discussed in the group have great importance in our daily life. These virtual classes really motivate newcomers to work on their language”
It turns out that their worries were unfounded. With advice from their friends, Joy and his wife were able to find a good place to live in. They found that the community was quite welcoming and open to other cultures, so they had no problems integrating. As for the weather, Joy could only smile when he thought about his fears. “In the past two years that we’ve been here, we have been experiencing the mildest winters. The weather here is even better than in Toronto,” he said.
This left Joy with his final concern – learning English. He knew Arabic and Malayalam (a mix of Tamil and Telugu languages) and did not speak English at all. It was a good thing that Joy learned about English Online (EO) from the Friendship Centre in Dauphin.
An active learner
Wasting no time, he registered with EO. He became active in Coffee Chats, Drop-in Workshops and attended Multi-Week sessions. Later on, he joined the LINC Home Study program to further hone his language skills. He has been, and continues to be, one of EO’s most active learners, making the most out of the sessions and connecting with the e-facilitators and e-tutors.
“I like the enthusiasm, involvement and team spirit of e-facilitators. They are always open to listen and encourage the participants to communicate their own ideas and views in various important topics. I feel all participants are comfortable to talk and learn in the group. Irrespective of language capabilities, e-facilitators ensure that everyone gets their turn. Also, the topics discussed in the group have great importance in our daily life. These virtual classes really motivate newcomers to work on their language,” Joy said.
“I appreciate all the efforts of Yulia, Blaine, Arra, Iwona, Margarita, and my e-tutor Louise. I am thankful especially to Blaine, who I regard as more than an e-facilitator; I consider him my friend. He is a dedicated teacher. He is always ready to assist me whenever I need help, sometimes even when he is off or during weekends,” he added.
Staying positive and being mindful of the present
Aside from his English classes, Joy is currently busy volunteering and making connections in his community. Just a few months ago, he volunteered for the former MP for Dauphin (between 1980-1984) Laverne Lewycky. He had the opportunity to go along with him during courtesy visits. Through this exposure, Joy learned many things about the process of community-building. From Mr. Lewycky himself, Joy was thankful that he learned many phrases and proverbs in English. Aside from these, it allowed him to interact and mingle with the community, which, Joy says, is essential to settling in a new place. He believes that to really learn the culture of a country, you have to observe and immerse yourself.
He further advises newcomers to stay connected with local settlement providers and community organizations, learn to network, and understand multiculturalism. Most importantly, he emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning. “Be ready for continuous education and skill development. Maximize your time for learning but don’t forget to allot time for enjoyment,” Joy said.
The change of pace for Joy to a much calmer lifestyle seems to agree with him. He is positive that he will soon prosper career-wise, but in the meantime, he is enjoying volunteering, learning English and the Canadian culture, and taking care of his wife. “We like living in Manitoba. The people are friendly, the landscape is beautiful, there is no congestion and it is very easy to move around. My wife and I are happy here,” Joy said.