Life Tips from Top 25 Canada Immigrants of 2011

What makes one immigrant succeed more than another? Is it luck? Perhaps a little. But the 25 immigrants honoured here did not make it to where they are by serendipity alone. While there are no guarantees in life — or in Canada — the winners of our inaugural Top 25 Canadian Immigrants seem to share some common beliefs and attitudes about what it takes to succeed in Canada. When asked what their advice for other newcomers is, here’s what the winners had to say:

Tip 1
Don’t sell yourself short

As top lawyer Chia-yi Chua puts it, “With a little bit of investigation and hard work, you can find appropriate prospective employers and opportunities even if you are a recent immigrant. Do not shortchange your skills and experience and seek out entry-level positions when, in fact, the Canadian marketplace is looking for exactly the type of skill-sets most of us immigrants have.”

Tip 2
Be prepared and do your research

It’s not surprising that a meticulous scientist like Rosalind Silverman would recommend being well prepared for your journey in Canada. She notes, “Be very well prepared and understand the country you are coming to.”

Tip 3
Find a mentor

According to ambitious, young entrepreneur Anupama Vittal, “If you can find good friends, good business mentors who can tell you, ‘Try this opportunity,’ or ‘Do this,’ that gives you a step to success.”

Tip 4
Take the initiative

Employment expert Terry Sawh advises: “Don’t sit back; seek out and recognize with confidence your own path.”

Tip 5
Don’t lose your heritage

As founder of a Spanish-language magazine, Martha Lucia Niño clearly never forgot her Latin roots, even while integrating into Canadian life. She says, “It is important to keep your culture and traditions.”

Tip 6
Share your culture

As the first turban-wearing RCMP officer in Canada, Baltej Singh Dhillon is an iconic symbol of what multiculturalism is all about. His advice to immigrants is to not only keep in touch with your own heritage, but to share it as well. “Take every opportunity to learn and participate in the culture and traditions of others and take every opportunity to share what you hold near and dear to you.”

Tip 7
Be passionate in the face of adversity

Family doctor and community leader Dr. Colin Saldanha advises newcomers to “believe passionately about issues, and put your heart and soul into them, notwithstanding the long hours and energy that you also have to put into them.”

Tip 8
Be willing to adapt

Financial adviser Girish Agrawal reminds newcomers that “Canada provides us with a beautiful lifestyle and safe environment, but we need to prove that we qualify for it by accepting the challenges and be prepared to change if necessary.”

Tip 9

Give back

Scientist and professor Francis Amara points out that many immigrants just don’t get involved. “I say, go do something to contribute to the country; don’t just play around. Immigrants, when they come to this country, should try to contribute in a lot of ways.”

Tip 10

Educate yourself

Educator Elaine Chan’s bias is clear … her tip to newcomers? “Education is front and foremost the most important thing that will really help anyone.”

Tip 11
Love this country

Politico Body Ngoy is a true Canadian, and thankful for it. “When you’re grateful, you start to know what the country does for you. You begin to love the country when you’re grateful. We should love this country.”

Tip 12
Be humble

Mining expert Marcello Veiga’s experience working with the poorest of the poor taught him humility. “I always came up with a very humble attitude — that’s the secret of my success. Always try to be modest and listen to people — that’s important for immigrants.”

Tip 13
Network, network, network

Philanthropist John Halani puts his success advice simply: “Do a lot of networking. Meet a lot of people. Get ideas from what they’re doing and see what makes them successful.”

Tip 14
Volunteer your time

Mayor James Atebe began to build his reputation by volunteering in his community. “Volunteering gives you opportunities, allows you to grow as a person, gives you confidence and offers you a chance to learn new skills and an understanding of Canadian values and traditions,” he notes.

Tip 15
Have a positive attitude

Entrepreneur Wendy Yuan’s advice? “Dare to dream, but also dare to act. Don’t let things just happen to you. Go out there and ‘happen’ to things. You can’t have a passive attitude toward anything or nothing will ever happen to you. The thing is positive attitude in life is so important.  You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish with the right attitude.”

Tip 16
Never give up

Scientist Lorelei Silverman reminds newcomers never to give up. “Always push yourself to accomplish something. Even if it is difficult, go ahead because the reward for trying will always be better than accepting a failure.”

Source: Canada Immigrant Magazine

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