Immigrant Perspectives: India to Canada — Dreams Take Flight

This is the first blog in the Immigrant Perspectives: The Blog Series where we (bloggers/writers) discuss our thoughts, apprehensions, fears, and hopes as we wait to board the flight from our respective home-cities in India and emigrate to Canada. 

American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn said, “If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.” 

Uprooting your life in one country, leaving your friends and family behind, taking a chance on your career, and deciding to start over in a country that’s roughly 11,000 kilometres away from where you were born and raised, takes courage. Much of the sentiments are complex to express in words but we’ve tried our best to describe our thoughts.

I travelled to Canada twice before I actually emigrated, both times on vacation. The third time I flew to Canada was when I did my ‘soft landing’ in March, 2018. My thoughts at that time were different from when I flew to Canada for good, seven months later, in October, 2018. Back in March, I was more relaxed as I knew that I was going to be back in India within three months. I had not quit my job at the time, was supposed to be working remotely from Toronto, and more importantly, I hadn’t decided on when I was going to go back to Canada for good. However, life-changing events happened during my three-month stay in Canada—I managed to secure a job offer with RBC—and decided to fly back in the fall of 2018. 

Flying to Toronto in October was different. Since I had a job waiting for me and I’d even sorted out my accommodation, I wasn’t too stressed about common topics that most other immigrants worry about. I was simply excited to finally make the move to Canada—something I’d dreamt about for nearly ten years! One of the key things on my mind then was how frequently I could visit back to see my parents. I think it was in those moments, waiting in the departures lounge at Bombay airport, staring at the Air Canada flight that was being readied for take-off, that I decided I would travel to India every six months. I went back to see my parents in April and I’m flying to Bombay again at the end of October! It’s funny when I talk about my travel plans with friends and acquaintances in Toronto, because the first thing everyone asks is, “Didn’t you just go to India?!” And I have to then remind them that it was six months ago 😀 

While my mind was relatively free from thoughts and worries, that’s not necessarily the case with others. I was curious about what other immigrants thought before they boarded their flight; what were their concerns and feelings. So I asked some of my fellow writers about it and here’s what they had to say:     

“It felt surreal sitting in the departures lounge at Mumbai airport. I had to rush to the airport earlier than planned since my flight had been cancelled and the airline wanted me to board an earlier aircraft. I didn’t really have time to process any emotion other than regret, that I couldn’t say goodbye to some of my closest friends and family. While mid-air, it hit me that I was moving to a new country where I didn’t know anyone and would have to start my life from scratch. Immigration turned out to be really smooth. I had a very friendly officer who told me to enjoy the summer. I joke about it that Canada couldn’t wait to have me and forced me to take an earlier flight.”

Shomik Roy, newcomer in Canada, a marketing and sales professional, and a passionate blogger.
“My case is slightly different. My husband and I were in a long-distance relationship for a year. He was pursuing a course in data science in Toronto while I was still working as a journalist in India. I was also a ‘single mother’ for that brief period raising a one-year-old. When I was boarding my flight, I had two things in mind: (1) My family would finally reunite and (2) How was I going to handle my hyperactive kid on the flight. I was leaving everything behind—my parents, friends, and a well-paying job to restart in a new country. Was this the right decision? Will my child benefit from this move? Will I get a job? How will my journalism career pan out? These were some of the questions that kept running in my head. But reuniting with my husband took over these doubts.”

Mrinalini Sunder, newcomer in Canada and a freelance writer and content creator.  
“To be honest, I was tired from all the packing and paperwork, partly because I was juggling my move with working until the last week before I boarded my flight. The feelings I had were of being nervous and yet hopeful. Never was I doubtful or fearful about the future. I tried to do that in a confident way instead of an arrogant way (my wife always helps me maintain the balance when I tip over). One of the things that helped me was having incremental goals over things I needed to get done during the move. I did not go crazy trying to find a job before moving; that would have been futile. I focused on getting a place to live, getting the paperwork in place, having my checklists ready, enrolling for newcomer programs, researching newcomer benefits, packing the right things and yes, creating ‘warm connections’ before landing (very important!). So, when we landed, I could start my job search immediately. I had set my mind on getting a job. I couldn’t see myself otherwise. So doing the right things at the right time, helped.”

Ronak Gandhi, newcomer in Canada and a risk management professional. 
“I landed in Toronto in December, 2017, on a student visa and it has been a ride to remember. While leaving my hometown and even on the flight, there was a bit of fear since I literally knew no one and would be experiencing Canadian winter for the first time. However, more than fear, I felt excitement, drive, and ambition to actually make it here. And as the days passed, the drive just became stronger. I always say that Toronto is two completely different cities when you’re jobless and when you’re actually working. If your drive waivers or you stop hustling, then it’s time to think about packing up your bags. Sure, everyone has bad days, but always remember why you decided to come here, list out the reasons in a notebook/your phone if you have to and always go back and read them if you feel disheartened. Most of all, have a plan or a list of small goals. Some of my goals were: to complete my education in Canada (with honours), get a full-time job within a month of graduating, get my PR, and get a raise in 6 months.”

Saif Razvi, newcomer in Canada and a professional copywriter.

I find it fascinating how all of these thoughts are different but yet share similar sentiments of excitement, anxiety, confidence, and the greatest of them all, hope for a better future. 

If you’re a newcomer in Canada reading this, comment below and let us know of your thoughts before you boarded the flight to Canada. And for those planning to emigrate soon, it’s not much but I hope you find some comfort and motivation in these words to embark on your journey and chase your Canadian dream!  

Stay tuned for the next part in this series where we share our perspective on networking and socializing with colleagues/superiors after work. 

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