I came to Canada in June, 2011 with my family as a refugee. The government sponsored us under the Government Assessment Refugee (GAR) program. We came from Syria, but I am originally from Somalia. First, when I came to Canada I did not speak English very well, I was in level one English. My first year in Canada, I faced a lot of obstacles such as language barriers, lack of Canadian experience and the culture itself. However, I did not give up; there were many opportunities for newcomers so I took an advantage of them.
For example, one of the challenges was the education system in Ontario. I studied Economics and Business back home, but unfortunately I did not get my degree since we left Syria while I was in my third year. When I came to Canada I was thinking of doing something else different from Business. I was thinking to study Social Work, but my biggest challenge was my language barrier. People were telling me, that if you study Social Work you will be wasting your time and money since if you are planning to stay in Ottawa you need French. I got a bit worried about what would happen if I study Social Work. Will I be qualified to work in Ottawa as Social Worker without French? This was my only concern.
I have found that many youth are not aware about the different opportunities out there for them and they just focus on others’ experiences and perspectives. In 2013, I was volunteering on Youth Advisory Council (YAC) of the YMCA. I was representing Ottawa and I had a chance to work and collaborate with other youth from different cities in Ontario. Through this experience, I gained more confidence in terms working with others from different backgrounds, sharing experiences and also practicing my English. After this amazing experience my passion to become a Social Worker became stronger. I put all my concerns aside and I applied for Social Work at Algonquin College. I went to ESL classes, and I took online classes for English and I got 80% in them. After I met all the College’s qualifications, I was accepted into the Social Services Worker Program. I worked very hard, I did not let any negative thoughts affect my goals. Nothing is easy to get, on the other hand, nothing is impossible. I was on Dean’s’ honour list by the end of my first year and now I am in my last year and looking forward to keeping up the hard work.
I was a refugee who came with her family, who was lost and did not know from where she should start. Today I am a Canadian Citizen, mother of two children, and working hard to reach her goal as social worker and looking to help others and empower them to reach their goals.
In short, always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.
My name is Amal Othman. I am from Somalia. I came to Canada in 2011. I am studying Social Service Work at Algonquin College Ottawa campus. I will be graduating on June 2017. Currently, I am doing my student placemat with the Catholic Centre for Immigrants, specifically with Client Support Services (CSS). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org