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   Opening Doors to Your Future


Every year, Canada welcomes people who move here to begin a new life. The Chinese have been immigrating to Canada since the 19th century. Cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal have large Chinatowns. Recent political events such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest and the return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997 have also increased Chinese immigration to Canada. The most well-known and revered Canadian in China is Norman Bethune, a medical doctor who worked with the revolutionary army, training doctors and treating soldiers during the Chinese Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).

Immigrants from India have been settling in Canada since 1904. Since then, thousands have made Canada their new home, bringing with them their talents and skills, and the hope of contributing to their new country. Many have come directly from India; others migrated to Canada after living in places such as Africa, Britain or the Caribbean -sometimes for generations. Indians moving to Canada will want to know how to find work, what schools their children should attend, how to get around and what their new community is like.

The majority of Guyanese immigrants have come to Canada during the past 30 years. Economic and political instability that began in the 1960s led to a wave of migration that continues to this day. These immigrants are mainly of East Indian and African origin, the two largest ethnic groups in Guyana. Guyanese from the other four ethnic groups (Native, Chinese, Portuguese, and other Europeans) have also immigrated to Canada. While the cultural profile provides insight into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from this country. The word Guyana takes its name from a Native word, Guyana, meaning, land of many waters.

Relations between Canada and Jamaica go back over 300 years. Jamaican Maroons (slaves who had fought their way to freedom) lived for some time in Halifax on their way back to Africa; they built the citadel there. Many Jamaicans joined the Canadian Forces during World War II. A regular flow of skilled workers also emigrated to Canada to find employment or join their relatives and friends here. Over 400,000 Jamaicans now live in Canada, many of them in Toronto. The colours of Jamaica's flag are symbolic. Black signifies the strength and creativity of the people; gold, the natural wealth and beauty of sunlight; and green, hope and agricultural resources.

Young Pakistani immigrants are usually students who come here for education and better job prospects. Many of the older Pakistanis are married and well educated in their own country. Other newcomers from the poorer economic areas may have difficulty with English, and have limited education. The people who speak English will have little trouble adapting to Canada and finding jobs although they may be frustrated that their qualifications are not accepted here. They often take jobs for which they are overqualified, while others start their own businesses.

People from different parts of the world come to Canada in search of new opportunities. Most of them plan to stay in Canada. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of Nigerians who have come to Canada. While some of the Nigerians come to work or study, some come as refugees. Although most Nigerians are familiar with English, they will find Canadian life very different from life in their own country.

Russians have been emigrating to Canada for more than a century. Recently, economic and political instability in Russia has led to increased emigration. Many Russians who come to Canada are highly educated and skilled. When they arrive, they may have difficulty finding work, learning the language, or getting their professional qualifications recognized. The decision to live in a new country is not an easy one for new immigrants because many things will be unfamiliar. For instance, they will want to know practical information such as where to find work, what school to attend, where to shop for food or how to find a doctor. Present-day Russia has 149 million people representing more than 100 nationalities.

Ukrainians have been moving to Canada since the 1890s. They helped to open up and settle the Canadian West. These immigrants can also find strong Ukrainian-Canadian communities in many Canadian cities. New Ukrainian immigrants to Canada will find many reminders of their home in Ukrainian churches, schools, newspapers, television programs and community groups.

Like all new immigrants, Ukrainians will find much in Canada that is new and strange. Ukrainian-Canadians have made an enormous contribution to this country, from the Prairie settlers to Governors General Ed Schreyer and Ray Hnyatyshyn, Supreme Court justice John Sopinka, artist William Kurelek, writer Myrna Kostash, comedian Luba Goy, hockey goalkeeper Terry Sawchuk, marathon runner Gayle Olinekova and skier Steve Podborski. The Ukrainian flag of blue and yellow symbolizes a field of yellow grain with a blue sky overhead.

Singaporeans of most ethnic groups and religions will find similar groups in Canada. This can help make their transition a little smoother. However, it is important to remember that any move to a new country and culture can be difficult. Mynah birds, with their yellow beaks and black and white wings, are as common in Singapore as sparrows and pigeons are in Canada.Many beautiful orchids grow in Singapore. The Vanda Miss Joaquim, an indigenous hybrid, was first discovered in the Singapore garden of Miss Agnes Joaquim and was chosen in 1981 as the national flower of Singapore.

Although Bangladesh is a young country, its people look back on a rich and ancient heritage. They are proud of their language, culture and customs. Bangladesh faces many challenges including political upheaval, natural disaster, poverty and disease. Some Bangladeshis who come to Canada are educated people who were well established in their native land. When they come here, however, they sometimes must search for work or spend a long time renewing their academic qualifications in their new country. Their standard of living may drop while they work to establish themselves here. Some aspects of life in Canada will probably seem strange to the new arrivals from Bangladesh, Canadian winters, for instance.

Most South Africans in Canada today came as independent immigrants in search of political stability and economic opportunities. Generally, we should expect to see representation of all South African races immigrating to our country. While there are White, Mixed Race, Asian, Indian and Black South Africans currently residing in Canada, 90% of the immigrants are white. The political and economic conditions of South Africa before 1990 made it very difficult for many disadvantaged groups to emigrate. Few of the South Africans who left did so in opposition to apartheid or to escape persecution.

Moving to a new country and becoming acquainted with the way things are done in this new environment is difficult and takes time. New immigrants may have to go through a formal process to have their degrees or professional qualifications recognized. They may not be able to seek jobs in areas for which they are trained, or they may be required to take further schooling or certification in Canada before pursuing their careers.

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