Posted by : VANITY Blog Thursday, 19 February 2015



A few years ago, before immigrating, I was ostracized in my old school, I was called “special” and was teased for my eccentricity, and then I became the black sheep. All of that because I was raised with foreign beliefs, something my xenophobic home country has no tolerance for. Luckily, a major change happened, it opened up a million possibilities, an ongoing story’s new chapter—immigration.

The chilly winds did not remind me of home; the snowy fields did not even cause surprise; budding flowers inspire; the hot summer breeze desired. Coming to Canada made me realize that I should not waste a hefty privilege by sticking to my old, pre-immigration self. As much as I regret to say, I don’t miss my past, and having a new life, a new society, peers and expectations, is a really big change for a young person. However, I’m not trying to persuade you to relinquish your background, just try to integrate it into this Western environment.

Possible reasons for leaving your old self behind:
  •     -    People from your country have terrible attitudes towards your new society
  •     -    Afraid of racism and discrimination
  •     -    Your old society’s habits may be harmful, especially to the new  environment you’re in now
  •     -    Can’t progress without adopting some Western attitudes
  •     -   And a lot more you can probably think of

Now, I want you to think about a choice. If you could ever relive the first days after immigration, what would you want?

  •     -   Speak English without a thick accent?
  •     -  Handle culture shock in a better way?
  •     -  Have your family and friends be more Canadian?
  •     -  Be an advocate for your country, being an exemplary immigrant who fares better here?

These are all wishes many of us did not receive as newcomers. The first weeks were the hardest, but it is also one of the most memorable, a puzzling era of your life.

Just start changing. Immigration has many positives as well as negatives.
You will experience negative stereotypes, ultimately causing you to ignore the underlying causes, then you will not be able to adapt to the new culture. A few years later, your life plans become awry, your life in the self-segregating ghetto groups, you lose contact with your family as a bonus too. This actually happened to a person my family knew, he could not CHANGE because he was AFRAID. No matter how we look at it, his life got ruined, his extreme attachment to his long-established beliefs caused his downfall.

While his case was severe, it does not mean it can’t happen to anyone. His projections to society were pathetic, they just reinforce negative stereotypes. YES, negative stereotypes are the problems! A black person who is not a brain-dead athlete, an Oriental who is not a robot mathlete, Muslims are not brainwashed terrorists, and whites people are not racists; and a lot more. Society is built by humans, so society should not force humans its beliefs. Be an individual, not a boring, hollow, insignificant, ignorant sheep. Start changing for the better now!

To simplify my point, think of an elastic metal spring, stretch it too much then it breaks, not stretching it means it won’t be of any use. I like to think of people as metal springs, they need to stretch to have some use, they become useless and rusty if there is no change after a long time, changing too much will break the spring and make you an individual, free from self-stigma if you ever try to do something different in a conformist environment. A heavy load breaks a spring; a lot of effort can go a long way. Why try?

Every person has special talents, traits, abilities, potentials… they just don’t get to use them. Everyone you know has a niche in society, not everyone can be rich, not everyone can be popular, not everyone can be like Leonardo DiCaprio. However, you can be as best as you can be, limitless, by changing into a better, productive person.


"Haters gonna hate cuz I'm doing great" - Anonymous


- Angelo

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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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