Learning to rebuild one’s life in Canada as a refugee: a significant challenge.

17 April 2024

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As part of the sponsorship program, JRS makes every effort to ensure that refugees arrive safely in Canada. Once the usual formalities are completed, and the refugees’ arrival is scheduled, the JRS team goes to the airport to welcome them. Amir is one of them. Originally from Eritrea, this 23-year-old young man arrived in Canada a few months ago, fleeing persecution in his home country.

His journey to reach Canada was long and challenging, marked by trials that have shaped his resilience. Now that he is in Canada, new challenges await him. Although he has some basic knowledge of English, communicating in French remains a challenge for him. In his daily interactions, whether in his search for housing or the purchase of essential goods, he feels the limitations associated with language knowledge in Quebec.

Here, everyone speaks to me in French, and everything is written in that language, which is not easy, especially when I have to take the bus and get around. I'm always a bit scared. At first, I used to get lost all the time. But now, it's okay.

Adapting to a new culture and an unfamiliar environment is also a significant challenge for Amir. Customs, social norms, and expectations can differ considerably from those in his home country, leading to misunderstandings and challenging moments of adjustment.

On the administrative front, Amir must navigate complex processes to access social and health services and begin rebuilding his life in Canada. Procedures can be confusing, especially if Amir doesn’t have a deep understanding of the Canadian legal and administrative system. Integration into the Canadian job market also poses a major challenge for Amir. Barriers related to the recognition of foreign qualifications and the acquisition of new professional skills can make it challenging for him to access stable and well-paying employment. Community and government support become crucial for Amir. Local organizations, welcome centers, and integration programs can play an essential role in his adaptation journey by providing resources, guidance, and a support network.

Despite these challenges, Amir also has the opportunity to build a new life in Canada, where cultural diversity is celebrated. With time, appropriate assistance, and his own determination, Amir is confident that he can overcome these obstacles to fully integrate into Canadian society.