Immigrant Spotlight: Meet Safa

Picture of Newcomer

Immigrated from: Jordan 

Living in Canada since: 2021

Career: Community Worker

Could you tell us a bit about your background before coming to Canada? 

I came to Canada with my whole family including my sisters, brother, and my mom this March (2021). When it comes to my background, It’s hard to say exactly where I’m from. I’m originally from Sudan, my background is from Chad, I grew up in Jordan and then I came to Canada… so I always like to think that all the places I’m from, the people there — all of that combined is a part of me and my story before I came to Canada. 

Settling into a new country can be pretty challenging — arriving during the pandemic, adjusting to new culture and language — how has it all been? 

It was very challenging. There are so many adjustments, you don’t know where anything is, I wasn’t a great English speaker at first either. To top it off, since we arrived in the middle of lockdown it was like an extra layer. It made me really happy that I had my family to rely on and I was also really happy when I found a caseworker and organizations that helped me. Everything changed after that.

Finding community resources can be a difficult challenge for older and newer Canadians, did any people, programs or services help with this?

Yes, my caseworker at Wesley was amazing. She connected me to Wasan (Manager of Community Connections at Immigrants Working Centre) and that’s where I found and joined the Newcomer Gardening Group. That was amazing group, everyone there was beautiful and so fun. It also helped a lot when I got my first job which I also received a lot of help from my caseworkers and also from the IWC employment team who helped me review my resume and prepare for the interview.

Can you tell us a bit about your first job in Canada? What was the position and how do you enjoy it?

My first job in Canada was my summer job position at Welcome Inn Community Centre. Well, it was a very big deal for me because it wasn’t just my first job in Canada, it was my first job ever! I’d never worked in Jordan or even had a job interview before I came, so I was really nervous but at the same time super excited. I went into the interview not expecting anything but I was well prepared, spoke from my heart and was so happy when I got the call that I was chosen. Now working here, I’m even happier. It’s such a great organization, the people, the programs, It’s all amazing.

What is a typical day in the workplace like?

Every day is a bit different and there’s always a lot happening. I help with a lot of programs, the food bank, the programs for seniors, I’ve helped at times with translation and overall supporting wherever I can. Every day is an opportunity to help people and give back which is the thing I love most.

Do you have any goals for the future in terms of your career or schooling?

Yes! I’m so happy that I’ll be continuing my job at Welcome Inn Community Centre part-time and am now studying part-time at Mohawk College. Eventually, I think I’d like to study business but I’m very open when it comes to the future.

I think a lot of newcomers would look up to your success. Do you have any tips for any newcomers navigating their journey in Canada?

– Don’t get too comfortable staying inside or talking only with your family, try to push yourself as much as you can to get out there, especially in your first year

– Language is very important. The best thing for this is practice. My English improved a lot at work every day since I’m always speaking to people, so try to put yourself in situations that let you practice your language skills and grow as a person.

– Lastly, speak from your heart and always remember to smile and laugh. Sometimes we forget small things like that make a big difference. I’m always smiling and laughing since I came to Canada and this helps me every day!

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