Creating a Support Network as an Immigrant to Canada

Moving to any new place is daunting, but this is especially the case if you are arriving as an immigrant in Canada. You may be leaving family behind and entering a country where you do not know the people and language. The immigration process and adjustment period may be stressful.

Finding a support network is important when you are an immigrant in Canada. A support network means a group of friends and acquaintances you can spend time with. Friends can ease some of the stress of moving, can make adjustment easier, and can make your time in Canada richer.

While it can be daunting to meet people, there are a few ways you can start building your network:

1) Get to Know People in Your Community.

Smile and say hello to your neighbours and introduce yourself. Attend community events such as barbecues or clean-ups.

2) Join Professional Organizations.

You probably have plenty in common with people who are in your field, so join professional organizations and take active part. This will help you meet people and will help you in your career as well.

3) Volunteer.

Volunteering allows you to give back to your community, learn about Canada, get job experience, and meet other Canadians. There are many places you can volunteer, including schools, community organizations, churches and places of worship, soup kitchens, and more.

4) Join French and English Classes.

Developing your language skills makes it easier to meet and communicate with Canadians. In addition, classes themselves allow you to meet others who are newcomers and also working to learn the language. You may have some of the same concerns as your fellow classmates and you can learn from each other.

5) Look Up Immigrant-Serving Organizations (ISOs) in your community.

ISOs can help you in many ways, from finding work and volunteer opportunities to helping you find language classes. These organizations are especially created to help newcomers, so they have resources useful to you and can help answer any questions you have.3

6) Join a Place of Worship.

If you are religious, joining a place of worship lets you meet others from your community and in many cases places of worship are welcoming places, with volunteer opportunities and resources to help those in need. When you join a place of worship, you may wish to look for events and efforts outside religious services you can take part in. For instance, if your church, synagogue, or place of worship is putting on a festival, volunteering lets you get to know people.

7) Sign up for Events and Classes at Community Centers.

Community centers often post classes and events which are open to anyone. They may be free or low-cost and let you get to know your neighbours.

8) Don’t Forget to Look Online.

Join meet-up groups online and online groups for expats or your community. If you are shy or uncertain of your language skills, especially, it can be easier to meet people online at first.

No matter how you choose to start building a group of friends, be willing to take the Initiative. Sign up for a group or volunteer position and approach people to introduce yourself. Observe how others interact and be ready with a smile. Be patient with yourself and give it time. With some effort, you will soon be part of a community in Canada and taking part in Canadian life.

Are you ready to immigrate to Canada to start your new life? Immigration Direct has resources to help you apply for the Skilled Worker program and other programs. Our free blog also keeps you up-to-date about changes to the immigration system, so you have all the information you need at your fingertips.