Posted by : VANITY Blog Friday, 21 February 2014


Tim Shields


Another year has gone by and each New Year means a new start, a new resolution and maybe a change in our goals. We often make new resolutions and set new goals such as improving our attitude to be more sociable, or focusing on and excelling in our studies, or even just learning something new, something that we have never tried. Moreover, some of you who are reading this might be looking forward to start a new life in another country. And that is what I am writing about, my new life in Canada.

I moved to Canada during the summer in 2013. I’m from Sabah, Malaysia and yes, there are not much people from Sabah in Canada. I’m half Chinese and half Sabah native, which is quite unique. Anyways, when I moved here I didn’t want to go outside because it was too cold and I was not used to the weather. I started out quite rough because I knew no one here, and I couldn’t speak my own language except for my own family. I had zero knowledge about Canada, all I knew is they loved maple syrup.

Just kidding!

I spent two months locked up in my room most of the time and admittedly, there times when I cried because I missed my friends back in Sabah. It was quite challenging to accept the fact that I'm so far from home.

Despite all those barriers, I managed to overcome them in no time. My dad and I went to Vancouver School Board to arrange my school documents. At the Vancouver School Board, we found out about this event called Newcomer Orientation Week which was held in August. The event was for students and teens who were new to Canada. There were activities, workshops, and helpful guides for them to have an awesome kick start in Canada.

To be honest, I was reluctant at first and I didn’t want to go because I was so shy. But I forced myself to go and guess what? It was the best decision I’ve made because it opened my eyes to so many new things. I learned that the government trains students to do volunteer work and helps them grow in terms of socializing with crowds and boosting their confidence. Even though these students come from different backgrounds or even different schools, they were still able to communicate and work together well. It was a huge turning point for me and my way of thinking. They taught me that we all face difficult challenges but with perseverance, we could get through it easily, and that there will always be someone to help you, only if you ask for it.

When I started school, I felt the same type of homesickness that I did during my first week of stay here in Canada. I’m currently in grade 11, studying at a secondary school in East Vancouver. I started in September of 2013 and was absolutely dumbfounded by the size of the school when I first saw it. To me, it was huge because my former school in my motherland was small. I looked like a lost child when I was roaming around the halls, looking for my class. I even went in the wrong class for 2 weeks! I was very quiet and shy in the beginning. Thankfully, I managed to make a friend! It took quite a while for me to adjust in a new environment. I started socializing with more students when I was in P.E class actually. Students were very friendly to me; they just come up to you and sparked up a conversation, which was a surprise. And I learned from them, I started to talk more and more in class and gradually became confident bit by bit. If you are new student and are struggling to make friends, you have to be patient and not give up easily. It is hard, but with patience and kindness, you’ll find the right friends at the right time.


I guess I wrote this because I would like to encourage you to be courageous. Don’t doubt yourself. Just go for it. Keep yourself busy with volunteer works, sports, and roaming around Vancouver to appreciate its beauty.  Discover new things by joining clubs in school such as tech club, choir, dance team or even a leadership club. It is all worth it and plus, it’s free! And if possible, get a summer job because you will gain experience and learn new things besides earning money. Try to socialize more too! And you must, MUST, try ice-skating. Even though I fell so many times when I tried it, I still had real fun. You should visit the PNE too and try the ‘Hellavator’. That is all from me and I hope to write for you again next time!


- Sharon

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Vancouver Immigrant Youth (VANITY) Blog is an online space made for youth, by youth. Here, you will find stories and experiences written by youth immigrants who once felt how challenging it was to be a newcomer in Vancouver. If you are a newcomer in Vancouver (or anywhere in Canada), we hope to give you all the resources you need to feel comfortable in this country. We hope to give you tips and advices on how we adjusted to our lives here as youth immigrants. Through this site, we want to empower you to bring out your full potential.

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