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 tips will cover the importance of a positive attitude and motivation:

Taking ownership

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

“My advice is to take 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 initiative and ownership might not come as naturally. They may have to make the commitment to do these things and be more determined in setting goals, keeping track of their activities, and reflecting on what they are 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’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.”

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).

Motivation is the key

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

“The most important ingredient to newcomer success is motivation. It comes from within. Unless you internalize something and drive the boat yourself, you can never be successful at anything. I can see that newcomers are motivated. They want to get from point A to B; they are motivated to become successful. This is admirable because they are making major life changes. It is their motivation that is the key to success.”

A tip for settlement provider organizations

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

“Feeling part of a group or community increases newcomers’ chances of success. If students come to class, they can share their feelings and heartaches with others who are experiencing the same emotions. If newcomers feel secure and valued, their success rate is much greater. It applies to both learning a new language and being confident in job searching.”

Perseverance, motivation, good judgment and faith

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

“I believe that perseverance, 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 life or volunteering 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.

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 are plenty), volunteer in the community! There’s no need to wait for the perfect moment or for somebody else to push you.

Good judgment is one important ingredient as well. Starting on a new journey is never easy. Smart decisions are very important. Often, newcomers feel that they need to reward themselves for their hard work. There is nothing wrong with this, but one should always think of the consequences of one’s decisions. Some newcomers buy non-essential things like expensive devices 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.”

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

Ann Tigchelaar, Head Teacher, Enhanced English Skills for Employment

“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 agencies. Be positive and work hard!”

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.

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