He appeared on Skype exactly at 1 p.m. Winnipeg time for the interview. Meanwhile, it was nearly 9 p.m. in Russia where Nikita lives. Despite the lateness, he was ever gracious and ready to share his experiences.
Not officially a newcomer yet, Nikita and his family are just waiting for their visas to arrive. In fact, he has not quit his job and is still working full time in Moscow. This is why he can prepare for their impending move only during his spare time. Finding Live & Learn was serendipitous for Nikita as it has provided a way for him to learn in his own time while still in his home country. Through the website’s resources and online community, he is able to learn about Manitoba, practice his English, and connect with other new Manitobans.
Waiting for their visas
Originally from Ukraine, Nikita moved to Moscow in 1995. There he worked for various companies for 20 years, building a successful career in sales. Currently, he is a sales manager for the multinational tobacco company, Philip Morris. Despite his career success, Nikita and his wife decided to immigrate to Canada because they want to give their children, aged 10 and six, a better future. “I feel that my kids will have more opportunities for growth in Canada,” Nikita said.
Prior to applying for immigration, Nikita did not know much about Manitoba. He did extensive research on the province, learning about its economy, cost of living, immigration streams, and employment prospects. He also learned about Manitoba’s vibrant multicultural communities, among them strong Russian and Ukrainian groups. He fondly recalls learning about Folklorama, having been acquainted with some of the event’s organizers and volunteers from the Association of Russian-speaking Manitobans. He met them at the ambassadors’ nomination dinner in Winnipeg one week prior to the festival in 2015. He looks forward to attending the cultural event with his family next year. In the meantime, Nikita continues to prepare and plan for their eventual move by August-September of this year, just in time for the school opening.
The best thing about learning with English Online is that it gives me the opportunity to communicate with a variety of people from different countries. We don’t only learn from an e-facilitator, we learn from all the participants. It is great to share views, hear about different experiences, varied accents, and different levels of English! This experience prepares us for living in Winnipeg as it is the most diverse city in the world
“It’s like going around the world”
An independent search on the internet actually led Nikita to Live & Learn. He was amazed to find free online services specifically targeted for new Manitobans. Since then he has been one of English Online’s most active learners, participating in many settlement and language activities. He also reads settlement articles which he feels provide useful information for living and working in Manitoba. Nikita’s favorite activity is the Coffee Chats where he participates in online discussions about various settlement topics.
“The best thing about learning with English Online is that it gives me the opportunity to communicate with a variety of people from different countries. Some of them still in their home countries and some already in Winnipeg. We don’t only learn from an e-facilitator, we learn from all the participants. It is great to share views, hear about different experiences, varied accents, and different levels of English! This experience prepares us for living in Winnipeg as it is the most diverse city in the world,” Nikita said.
“Another good thing is that we don’t even need to come out of our homes. It’s like going around the world without leaving your seat,” Nikita added. He looks forward to integrating into the Canadian community immediately after their arrival since he believes that it is crucial to avoid sticking to only one cultural group.
No looking back
Despite the excitement of their impending move, Nikita stays grounded. As early as now, he is setting realistic expectations about life in Canada. Just like all other immigrants, he is concerned about employment prospects, setting up their financial future, and of course, the adjustment of his wife, especially their children. But over and above these concerns, he continues to be optimistic.
Nikita imparts this advice to new immigrants like him: “To all newcomers, I advise them to be brave, and be open to new experience, new environment. Don’t look back! As soon as you decide to move to Canada, embrace your new life. Along the way, there will be a lot of troubles and doubts, but don’t let these get you down. Remember your ultimate goal, why you came to Canada. That will help you stay on target. There’s no looking back,” Nikita said.