One immigrant’s story
The story of a Mortgage Specialist settling in Saskatoon
I first moved to Canada in 1982. My port of entry was Toronto and my final destination: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the land of the living skies, and to me, the coldest place on earth. I missed my hometown, my friends and my family back home and I used to cry every day, wondering why I had ever come here at all.
As a newcomer to a completely foreign land, I had many realities to face. I was very well educated back home and I had completed my Master’s in Economics. Unfortunately, my degree was not recognized here so I would have to take extra credits at the local university to match it to Canadian educational standards. Classes were expensive so I thought it best to find a job and work for a while to save some money so I could upgrade my degree. With the help of the immigration counsellor, I completed my resume and went job hunting. This was not an easy task. Wherever I applied, I was told I am over qualified and that I needed Canadian job experience. After several weeks of disappointment, I went back to my counsellor and he advised me to put my education as grade 12 on my resume so that I would not be rejected for being over qualified. I finally received my first job as a cashier and sandwich maker at Mr. Submarine.
Life at this point seemed very lonely and depressing. I had finally gotten a job, but it was menial despite my high education. Working full time at a fast food restaurant, battling the bitter cold and having no friends except for my immediate family only increased my homesickness. My first three years spent in Canada were very difficult, but gradually things started to get better. I changed jobs three times, but I managed to make enough money to afford the extra classes and upgrade my degree. I successfully got a job at the bank and slowly worked my way up to a manager position. I made a wonderful group of friends, many from the same side of the world as me, who made my life brighter as we shared similar stories and experiences. I joined social clubs and became involved in the community. I was no longer alone and depressed. I even managed to beat the cold with endless layers of clothes and a good winter parka.
I have come a long way from the new foreign girl in Canada. I am still living in Saskatoon and have come to love it as my home. It is not the same boring Prairie city I once considered it to be, and it has greatly expanded to be recognized worldwide for its natural resources and farming. I got married, bought a home and raised two children, both pursuing their studies in university. I am now a successful mobile mortgage specialist at a local bank and have been working there for the past 21 years. I am still very involved in my community and joined Immigrant Women of Saskatchewan (now called International Women of Saskatoon) to encourage and support women like myself, who had left their homes behind to make a new life in Canada.
Settling in a new country is the biggest transition in life. To uproot yourself from your comfort zone and adapt to a new culture, atmosphere, language and climate is not easy. It involves a lot of hard work, and there are many times where you feel discouraged about this life-changing decision. By keeping a positive attitude and with support from family and friends, eventually the challenges you face seem smaller. You learn to make a new home, new friends and a new life, while cherishing the memories of back home.
Pinky Nundy, Saskatoon and Area