It has been an incredible journey since I arrived in Saskatoon!
It has been a life-changing decision, but I knew that I would have to start again - and that was probably the most interesting part. One of the difficulties I faced as a newcomer to Saskatoon was finding work. I was an educated person with a well-established career back home in Ghana, but I could not find a job that was in my profession, or even one that was at the same level here in Saskatoon. It became frustrating over time. My experience with this has led me to believe that employers here mostly prefer Canadian certifications, Canadian work experience, and generally Canadians over newcomer immigrants.
After I was introduced to Truly Alive Youth and Family Foundation and met some of the managers who were immigrants themselves, it made me realize the vast opportunities that were available in Canada in terms of my career growth.
Participating in the I-CAN Women’s Leadership Program organized by TAYFFI was a great opportunity for me. My expectations before I joined the program were to learn practical strategies that I can use to adapt to Canadian culture. I am glad that the program helped me move from the frustrating stages of integration, to being more adaptable as a newcomer.
I recall that during the 7th module of the recent women’s leadership program, we got an opportunity to meet and listen to Muveddet Al Katib, a renowned and accomplished artist here in Saskatoon. She shared her story as a newcomer, and one thing she said that inspired me was her advice to “stay here and be determined, for great things can happen here.” After receiving my M.A. in Human Resources, I considered moving to a major city, thinking that jobs would only be found there; however, Muveddet’s advice moved me, and now I have no plans to leave Saskatoon any time soon, because I believe that great things will happen to me here.
One of the valuable lessons that I learned during the program was to stay motivated and courageous in pursuing my passions and dreams here in Saskatoon.
Being part of the program was great even though I would have preferred that it was held in-person. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was held virtually. Yet, we were able to adapt quickly to the virtual platform and build networks between participants, mentors, and community leaders.
TAYFFI has assisted me in shaping my thinking concerning my career. As a newcomer, I used to feel that I could only apply for lower-level jobs because I would not be chosen or approved for higher-level positions. However, now I am confident that after completing the program, I will be able to find work at a senior level here in the city.
To conclude, my suggestions to newcomers are that they should learn from the experiences of other immigrants, look around and take advantage of the available resources, visit settlement organizations such as TAYFFI for support, and finally keep an open mind.
Recommended Webinar: Back to School in 2021 (August 19, 2021 at 12 PM CST)
Freda Atsunyo is a newcomer from Ghana who now resides in Saskatoon. With the services provided by Truly Alive Youth and Family Foundation (TAYFFI), she is now even more motivated to achieve her career goals. Watch Freda's video testimonial below. Career Loans is a proud partner of TAYFFI. Through a combined effort, newcomers in Saskatchewan can receive employment counselling and access optional micro loans to help them succeed in their careers.