“So far so good” that was Naryn’s message when I spoke to him. Having arrived in Winnipeg just last March 28, he and his family have been living in Winnipeg for barely even a month. However, his immersion into Canadian life began several months before they actually moved. Through online training with SOPA and English Online, Naryn had been gearing up to be job-ready and familiar with Manitoba by the time he got here.
From the “Switzerland of Central Asia”
Narynbek and his family immigrated from Kyrgyztan. Just like many immigrant families, moving to Canada was a decision the couple made to provide their children a better future. So despite Naryn’s stable career as a senior electrical engineer in Kyrgyztan, they decided to move. “My wife and I discussed it, and we decided that we wanted our children to have better opportunities,” Naryn said. Right now, he is quite happy to see that his two daughters, aged seven and five, are adjusting well in school.
Just like his daughters, Naryn is doing well in his first few weeks. He said he didn’t really need to adjust to the climate as it is similar to Kyrgyztan’s. Also, his acquaintances from his home country have made it easy for them to settle. “Some friends from Kyrgyztan helped us look for an apartment and buy a car. So everything’s good. They have warned us about mosquitoes in the summer though,” Naryn said.
At the moment, he is busy familiarizing himself with the city. He is going around, trying to find shops and stores where he could get things for the house. He is also trying to locate other essential establishments for basic services. One of the best things that Naryn has discovered about Winnipeg is that everything is located strategically so they are not hard to find.
“I like the Coffee Chats because everything I learned there is useful. I also practice my speaking and listening skills, learn grammar, and hear about the experiences of other newcomers in Manitoba. I was able to speak with other newcomer Manitobans for the first time.”
After finishing the workshop at Entry Program, Naryn is looking forward to beginning Manitoba Start’s Career Program next week. At the same time, he has started his path to licensure by connecting with his professional association. Naryn has already researched on the requirements to become a member of the association and mapped out the next steps for his licensure. He says that he is able to plan his path clearly because of his preparations before coming to Manitoba.
Naryn took the Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) months back. Through the pre-arrival employment guidance program, he learned what to prepare for to practice his career, since his profession is regulated. His facilitator was a big help and gave him links to resources and his professional association. While training with SOPA, Naryn learned about English Online. He registered and started attending Coffee Chats. He also used self-learning materials online. “I like the Coffee Chats because everything I learned there is useful. I also practice my speaking and listening skills, learn grammar, and hear about the experiences of other newcomers in Manitoba. I was able to speak with other newcomer Manitobans for the first time,” he said.
Right after his training with Manitoba Start, Naryn plans to apply for jobs. “But not survival jobs, for sure,” he said. He is not expecting an engineering job right away but it was clear from his tone that he will make sure that his skills and training will be utilized in his prospective job. Aside from job hunting, Naryn wants to study more English and then later, French to broaden his horizons.
This is a busy time for Naryn but his positive outlook shines through. Asked for a message to other newcomers like him, he said: “I want to say: don’t worry about anything. You can do it. Just do it. Be brave. The change will be good. When you get here, movement is important. Do everything and go everywhere. Don’t be shy. Try everything!”