Majd left everything behind and started a new career in Canada. This is his story!
We’ve carried out minor editing for conciseness and clarity*
“Coming to Canada, I had a lot of expectations. I lived in Syria for 20 years, and then moved to the U.A.E. It was a fast-paced and evolving country, especially Dubai. For newcomers to come from a country like U.A.E, they will face lots of compromises because it’s very different, which could be shocking. Toronto is much older. I expected the infrastructure, bridges, and buildings to constantly be under construction and fast-paced. The level of services is very different. I love it here, just in a different way!
Since coming to Canada, I tried to think [of] how to employ the things I love into my life. I became more organized. When I met Canadian sponsorship groups, I realized things run on a schedule. Before coming to Canada, I used to keep my calendar appointments in my head. For example, when we arranged this interview, instead of making a mental note, I immediately booked it off on my calendar (laughs).
Some things in my life have changed. I was in Guelph, a small city; things closed early. I had to adapt and sleep earlier. There wasn’t much to do, so I decided to focus on myself. Originally, I did not want to go back to school. Then the pandemic hit. During my job search, I saw an automotive program I really liked and said: Let’s do this!
The most challenging aspect of settling in Canada are the experiences unaccounted for. I think most refugees would agree. Whatever experience you have may not be counted [in Canada]. It’s not fair. On day one [of arriving in Canada], I opened a TD bank account and asked the financial advisor if they were hiring. She asked about my experience and said I would have to start from level one. We also have internationally trained doctors [in Canada] who could have helped in the pandemic. We needed those professionals and their expertise. It is really frustrating for professionals in their 40’s and 50’s with families to start fresh.
I imagined Jumpstart Refugee Talent as first row soldiers that saying “Yes, we will fight for you and prove to employers in Canada that you’re experienced and deserve to be considered for the job”…I really thank you for this, it’s helping lots of people.
Jumpstart’s WES Gateway program helped me a lot with my credentials from Syria. It was a huge relief for me because I don’t have anyone in Syria; it is not allowed for anyone besides family members to collect [credentials]. I knew there was something that had to be done so when Jumpstart came along, it was a miracle! (laughs). It saved me a lot of time. It was a nightmare to send it from the original [source]. My timeframe was very narrow, I had to start school in September. [Credential evaluations] were a big obstacle, it is one of those things we don’t take into consideration. It is great to make it a one-step process.
My advice to others is – it’s never too late to start your life. Do not let anyone put you in a box. You can always change your world view. Do not stop dreaming because once you stop dreaming, you won’t be able to live your life. Hide away your negativity somewhere and don’t visit it. For newcomers, the fantasy of what we were fed in our home countries is not true. It will be hard. There will be lonely nights. There are things I thought were negative and turned out to be positive. I am always trying to spread positivity, Alhamdulilah (Thank God).”
For more information about Jumpstart’s WES Gateway Program, visit jumpstartrefugee.ca/programs/wes/