What is the most important ingredient to newcomer success? (part 2)

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Learning the language, staying connected, maintaining positive mental health, and setting goals were the focus of our first responses to this question. These next gems tell us more about the importance of a positive attitude and self-motivation:

Taking ownership

“My advice, based both on my experience working with newcomers in Manitoba and also from my experience of living in another country with a new language myself, is to “take the initiative and take ownership.” Some newcomers do this very naturally. They take the initiative to find and make use of the many resources and programs that will help them start a new life here in Canada. They meet new people and build relationships. They get involved in their communities, and they put a lot of work into learning and using English on their own time in addition to attending formal English classes.

“For others, taking the initiative and taking ownership might not come as naturally. They may have to make the commitment to do these things and be more deliberate about setting goals, tracking their activities, and reflecting on what they’re learning and how things are going. For all newcomers, that extra investment of time and energy during your first few years in Canada definitely pays off! It is an investment that nobody else can make for you, only you can do it for yourself. It’s exciting to celebrate with newcomers as they learn the language, build new relationships, come to feel at home in their communities, and achieve their goals at work.”

Steve Reynolds MA, TESL Cert., Program Coordinator, Workplace and Employment Services
Regional Connections

About Regional Connections:
Regional Connections is one-stop-shop that provides free services, resources, and referrals to newcomers living in south central Manitoba (Winkler, Morden, and Altona).
Programs and services: Settlement services (settlement needs assessment, settlement information and orientation, community connections), English as an Additional Language (EAL) classes, literacy classes for adults, employment services, community integration events, and a volunteer program.

“For others, taking the initiative and taking ownership might not come as naturally. They may have to make the commitment to do these things and be more deliberate about setting goals, tracking their activities, and reflecting on what they’re learning and how things are going. For all newcomers, that extra investment of time and energy during your first few years in Canada definitely pays off!”

Self-motivation is the key

“The most important ingredient to newcomer success of motivation. Because motivation will lead you to deal with housing. It will lead you to deal with language. It will lead you to deal with employment. And motivation only comes from within. Unless you internalize something and drive the boat yourself, you can never be successful at anything. And I can see that newcomers are motivated. They want to get from point A to B; they are driven to accomplish this and that. This is admirable because they are making major life changes. It is their self- motivation that is the key to success.”

Don Walmsley, Settlement Services Coordinator, Neepawa & Area Immigrant Settlement Services

A tip for settlement provider organizations

“The most important ingredient to newcomer success is making the newcomer feel like they are part of the group and community. If we can get the students to come to class, they then feel that they belong and can share their feelings and heartaches with others who are going through the same emotions. Once we can make the newcomers feel secure and valued their success rate is much greater. Success at learning a new language and also having the confidence to apply for a job. They also have the teacher for a reference.”

Murray Martin, EAL Lead Resource Teacher, Neepawa & Area Immigrant Settlement Services

Perseverance, self-motivation, good judgment and faith

“I believe that perseverance, self-motivation, good judgment and faith in God are all important ingredients to newcomer success.

Newcomers must persevere despite the difficulties of living in a new country. There are a lot of challenges like the language barrier; difficulties in getting a job; homesickness; the weather; reluctance to take part in the community or volunteer because of low self-esteem and fear of being judged, and a lot more. Newcomers must be humble enough to acknowledge the need to improve and to face the challenges head on. In Canada, newcomers are extremely fortunate as there are plenty of organizations that could assist them.

Self-motivation is another ingredient. As I have mentioned, there are always challenges and obstacles along the way. One should have the drive to succeed. Equip yourself. Read. Attend trainings or workshops. Avail of any online or face to face activities (free services abound) — volunteer in the community. There’s no need to wait for the perfect time, perfect moment or for somebody else to prod you.

Good judgment is one important ingredient as well. Starting on a new journey is never easy. Sensible decisions are very important. Often, newcomers feel that they need to reward themselves for their hard work. There’s nothing wrong with this but one should always think of the consequences of one’s decision. Some newcomers buy non-essential things like expensive gadgets, or a brand new car even if they don’t have a house yet. Some get into gambling or even drugs instead of investing and saving for their future.

Lastly, personally, faith in God is essential to succeed in a foreign land. We need God as a source of strength. Sometimes we need more than our own abilities to achieve success.”

Myla Ignacio, Settlement Worker, Neepawa & Area Immigrant Settlement Services

About Neepawa & Area Immigrant Settlement Services:
Neepawa and Area provides settlement services that help permanent residents and refugees develop the skills and gain knowledge to participate in Canada. Read our full-length interview with Don Walmsley and the wonderful work that they do for newcomers in the article: It’s all about people.

Positive attitude and other essential ingredients

“It’s hard to limit newcomer success to just one ingredient. There are many factors in the mix. Of course, it’s important that newcomers are well prepared with information, have realistic expectations about immigrating and have as much fluency in English or French as possible before they leave their homeland. It’s also important that they have support and guidance, both personal and institutional, when they arrive in Canada.

“In terms of personal ingredients, I think the most important one is attitude. If a newcomer has a positive attitude, openness and curiosity, and the ability to suspend judgement, he or she is more likely to be successful. That’s because that person is more likely to make Canadian friends and adapt to the culture, network, develop confidence and language skills, get a job and keep it. Other important personal qualities are determination and a strong work ethic. Important steps for newcomers to take are to attend classes and learn as much English and cultural knowledge as possible and take advantage of the programs and services offered by settlement and employment preparation organization agencies. Be positive and work hard!”

Ann Tigchelaar, Head Teacher, Enhanced English Skills for Employment

About Enhanced English Skills for Employment:
EESE is a government-funded organization that provides courses to immigrants who would like to improve their Canadian English language skills and cultural knowledge. They offer skill-specific courses such as reading, writing, speaking, listening, presentation, pronunciation, and Canadian culture.
Courses and workshops: Fundamentals of writing, Listening skills, Presentation skills, Pronunciation skills, Reading skills, Returning reading, Returning writing, Speaking skills, Test Taking skills, Writing skills, Workplace Meeting skills, and Workplace Survival skills.

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Community Resources

This is part 2 of a series of 4 articles answering the question “What is the most important ingredient to newcomer success?” Want more newcomer success advice? Go to the next in the series. If you missed the previous one, go to the previous article

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