What is the most important ingredient to newcomer success? (part 3)

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Taking ownership, self-motivation and a positive attitude were the focus of our previous post in answer to this question. The following responses from the wonderful people at Immigrant Centre advise newcomers to keep informed, establish a network, and take care of their health:

Make good health a priority

“I’d be happy to provide a few tips on nutrition and health for newcomers:

  • Eat together with friends and family, not in front of the TV.
  • Make time for food – slow down and eat good food with lots of vegetables, not fast-food.
  • Make healthy food a priority – what you eat affects your whole life.
  • Keep making foods from your country of origin as much as possible – these foods are usually healthier than “western foods”.
  • Take advantage of community gardens and farmer’s markets for local produce in the summer, and buy frozen vegetables and fruit in the winter to save money.
  • Talk about food with people you meet -share recipes and experiences with each other.”

Heather Giesbrecht, Manager Nutrition Services

“Newcomers that reach out, make friends, get support from organizations like Immigrant Centre and really try to become part of the community are able to establish themselves much quicker and more securely than those that isolate themselves.”

The importance of a support system

“In talking to my team and our clients, I would have to say that the most important component to newcomer success is establishing a network or a support system. Many times, newcomers to Canada come from their homeland where they already have a strong network of friends, family, neighbours and coworkers. When they start from scratch in a new country, it becomes evident how difficult it is to do things like find a place to live, know where to shop, find a job, and find reliable child care when relying on their own limited knowledge. The advice and guidance they receive from others can make all the difference so as to avoid pitfalls.

“Newcomers that reach out, make friends, get support from organizations like Immigrant Centre and really try to become part of the community are able to establish themselves much quicker and more securely than those that isolate themselves.”

Amie Membreno, Manager, Employment

Knowledge is power

“At the Pre-Arrival Centre* in Winnipeg, we strive to give clients knowledge and information about Manitoba before they arrive. We enable the client to ask questions about the concerns they may have and give them the best answers to relieve their anxiety. There are a lot of elements that can help a person become successful in Manitoba. But since each case is different, it makes it a bit difficult to just focus on one.

“If given the chance to choose only one ingredient for newcomer success, I would have to go with “knowledge”, because knowledge is one of the ingredients that empower people to make decisions that will positively impact their lives.

“When you have adequate information made available to you, it is easier to make a decision with confidence because you are aware of what to expect. If you are unsure or uninformed, that can cast a shadow of a doubt in your decision-making process and make you question your decisions.

“At times, people do not take action which is one of the worst things that can happen. In some cases, they may be scared of asking the wrong question or they simply do not have the means to find out. That is why at the Pre-Arrival Centre, we provide information to people before they arrive in Manitoba so they will know where to go for answers and learn what to expect before they leave their country of residence. This gives them a better start in their new life in Manitoba.”

Julio Lopez, Pre-Arrival Centre Manager

About Immigrant Centre:
IC Manitoba has been providing quality, innovative settlement services for almost 70 years. Its programs help immigrants connect, integrate, and fully participate in Canadian society. The centre has been a finalist in the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Winnipeg Awards twice in three years and has been the focus of Best Practices in Immigrant Services research.
Programs and services: information and orientation services on a variety of settlement topics like housing, banking, transportation, weather, shopping, law, and other concerns; nutrition services (cooking and nutrition classes, grocery store tours, one-on-one consultations); language bank services (notary public, translation, and interpretation requests); citizenship classes (preparation for Canadian citizenship test); Neighborhood Immigrant Settlement Program (NISP); Access English Centre (English as an Additional Language classes); volunteer services; and employment services.
*The Pre-Arrival Centre ceased operations in 2019.

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Community Resources

This is part 3 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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