About ten months ago, Shengyun and her family moved to Canada at the urging of a close friend. Although this friend lives in Toronto, he readied a welcome for them in Saskatoon, taking time off to drive Shengyun and her family around their new city, find them somewhere to live, and introduce them to the services and agencies that could smooth their transition to life in Canada.  One of the first places Shengyun was brought to was Global Gathering Place. She was pleased to learn about the wide range of programs we offer and ever since, has been actively participating in everything she can, drinking up the knowledge she knows she’ll need to succeed. She says it’s been fun learning and making friends with people from all over the world.

Canada, though, hasn’t been everything she hoped it would be. Shengyun thought she had a good idea of what to expect. She had done her research and was relying on her friend’s experience of twenty years in Toronto. However, just as China is very different from Canada, Toronto is very different from Saskatoon.

Shengyun expected Canada to be very beautiful. She looked forward to seeing little pollution, many forests, plenty of water, and a clean environment, and in this regard, she is not disappointed. Saskatchewan has more than its fair share of beautiful and natural spaces. Shengyun was also familiar with Canadians’ reputation for being friendly and welcoming and in this as well, people in Saskatoon have surpassed her expectations. Where she has been disappointed is in the high cost of living and the less-than-perfect public transit system.

Shengyun and her husband are frustrated by how difficult it is to earn a good living. When earnings are balanced against the high cost of rent or home ownership, utilities, and the deductions that are taken from every paycheque, very little is left over.  Shengyun and her husband have enough because they both work, but even so, it’s very hard. She feels bad for all the people she sees who don’t seem to have enough money. It makes life difficult when working hard doesn’t guarantee enough money.

In spite of these challenges, Shengyun says that she is very happy to be here in Saskatoon. She really likes Canada. She also loves the Global Gathering Place and appreciates everything that she has gained from attending GGP’s programming. A few programs that stick out as being especially helpful are English classes, Coffee and Conversation, Driving Theory, and Swimming Without Fear. After attending the Driving Theory class, for example, she was able to pass her written driving test on the very first try. She was nervous to attend the swimming class because in her whole life, she had never even been to a pool or lake. She was brave though. She worked hard and she learned to swim!

Shengyun’s combined work, school, and family responsibilities mean that her days are very full. She may not have enough time to do all the things she’d like, but remains grateful for all the opportunities she is able to take advantage of at GGP. She said that everyone at GGP has been very helpful and that it means a lot to have somewhere to go for advice and help for all her problems and questions.

As for her future, Shengyun says that she and her family are really not sure what it holds for them. There are so many possibilities and they have so many dreams. Before they can pursue these dreams, though, she says that they’re going to have to continue working hard to increase their savings. It all takes time.

It is true that the world is full of possibility and potential. Newcomers in particular need to be flexible and patient and responsive to change as they build new lives in Canada. The most successful are able to embrace, accept, and recognize the benefits that change can bring. Shengyun and her family are poised for a successful future in Canada. Best of luck and may all their dreams come true!