5 best ways to stay up-to-date

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Acquiring the right information at the right time is crucial for newcomers. When everything is new and unfamiliar, you need to research, ask around and get help in order to know what to do to begin the task of getting settled. But who do you ask? Where do you get information?

Based on newcomer studies, immigrants rely mostly on relatives for information. While this is expected and understandable, there is also a danger to having this kind of dependence. First, because information changes. Processes, requirements, even addresses and contact numbers may have changed from the time your relatives were new here. Second, your relatives do not know everything, and it is an additional burden on them to find out things for you. Lastly, asking only those within your circle prevents you from exposing yourself to your new community, building your network, and practicing your language skills.

Based on newcomer studies, immigrants rely mostly on relatives for information. While this is expected and understandable, there is a danger to having this kind of dependence.

You should be able to start proactively taking charge of your own needs if you want to succeed. So where should you start researching?

The Internet

Because of the reach and breadth of the internet, learning about your home, answering specific questions related to settling, your career, or education can be done even before you come to Manitoba. The key to successful internet research is making sure that the sites you visit are reliable, accurate and trustworthy. To ensure this, start with these types of sites:

  1. Government websites
  2. It is best to begin your immigration-related research by going to the Government of Canada’s Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (formerly CIC) page. It holds all the information you need from applying for immigration to getting ready for citizenship. It also points you to other websites where you can get more detailed answers to your questions and leads you to read about related topics. For more province/territory-specific information, be sure to check out the website of the specific province or territory that you are going to, such as Manitoba.ca .

  3. Settlement Provider Organizations or agencies
  4. To know more about supports for every aspect of settlement in your province/territory of destination, visit these sites (a good example is this site, Live and Learn.ca). You can either search for them using Google (e.g. “newcomer services in Manitoba”) or find links through IRCC. You can also find a link here: Immigrant-serving organizations.

  5. Media sites (TV, radio, newspaper)
  6. For general information and news on the Canadian economy, immigration laws, and even the weather, Canadian media sites can give you up-to-date information. There are also online magazines or news sites that cater specifically to immigrants (like the Canadian Immigrant, Canadian Newcomer, Canada Bound Immigrant ) which provide insights on the immigrant experience in several areas of Canada, newcomer tips, as well as inspiration for those who are just starting to make their way in their new home.

  7. Social media
  8. Immigrant forums, Twitter and Facebook groups are helpful sites to visit to learn about a range of topics that are of interest to immigrants. You can start by searching and becoming a member of a group that share the same interest, race, nationality, profession, etc. In these types of sites, you will have the benefit of learning from the experience of members, interact with them, ask questions and maybe even start networking with those who are in your destination province/territory. But be cautious though about taking information or advice from members of these venues. Remember that many of them are not experts. They are not legally bound to provide you with accurate information. Also, remember to take testimonials and opinions with a grain of salt.

There are other websites that you can get information from, but generally, avoid commercial sites (which are biased because they are selling you their goods or services that you may not need). Always check the date the website was last updated and if there is an “About” tab or page. This is where you can verify who the creator of the site is, their expertise, or qualifications.

Immigrant Serving Organizations

Visiting an immigrant serving organization nearest you should be one of the first things you should do after you arrive. These organizations are funded by the government to provide various free services for newcomers ranging from information and orientation, to language training, livelihood and counseling services (go to Immigrant-serving organizations to know their address and contact numbers). The great thing about these organizations is that their services are specifically designed to meet your needs, and their personnel are trained (and more often than not, are immigrants themselves) to understand and anticipate whatever problems that you may have.

Public Libraries

Manitoba’s libraries are safe and reliable hubs for information and services such as free internet and computer use, as well as events and literacy programs. To find the library nearest you, you can do an online search via Google, or check the Manitoba Public Library System directory for address and contact numbers. Better yet, read the article Manitoba Libraries: Books and so much more to know the many wonderful services you can avail.

The Telephone Directory

The good old reliable telephone directory can still come in handy when looking for information, especially during your job search, or when you need immediate services that are in your neighborhood. In Canada, the White Pages show residential numbers, the Blue Pages lists down government numbers, and the Yellow Pages contain numbers of commercial establishments. You can also order these books for free by mail (call 1-877-909-9356 or through this link).)Whether it’s the printed type or the online version, the directory is an indispensable tool to help you get information or find your way around the city.

City Maps

With the advent of google maps, GPS and other apps in our mobile phones and other gadgets, finding your way around unfamiliar territory has become easier than ever. You can even use the Navigo trip planner, to know bus routes (should you need to commute) or get public transportation maps for free at major transit stations. If you wish to go old school and prefer printed maps, you can get them for free at tourism or government offices, or buy them from bookstores, convenience stores or gas stations.

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