Jassica Carmel’s Story – The Real Heroes: Immigrants in Canada
This inspiring #BeAHero story is from Jassica, a Sri Lankan immigrant who first moved to Canada in 2014 after marriage. She achieved many milestones on the road to becoming a settled Canadian, finding a job and having two beautiful children.
Talking to her now about her experiences settling in Canada and sending money to Sri Lanka through Remitbee Online Money Transfer, we truly believe she is a real hero.
Here is her story.
How Did You Find Job Searching Initially in Canada?
Soon after I arrived in Canada, I began taking formal newcomer settlement classes to adapt to the Canadian work culture. I was applying for jobs but at the time I was unsuccessful even though I have a high level of education and an international degree.
The settlement classes recommend I find jobs through an agency, so I did and an agency interviewed me – but I still didn’t get a call back because I didn’t have any experience working in an office in Canada.
So, I started a basic level job at a leading local retail store while still taking the classes and applying for targeted jobs in my field through the agency. During this time, I also was expecting my first baby and eventually took time off for maternity leave. I stopped searching for employment at this point.
Remitbee Tip: Getting a job when you arrive in Canada is often hard, even if you have an excellent education. Getting a small job, even if it’s just in a shop, can give you the networking, language and behaviour/transferable skills you need to blend in with Canadians and increase your chances of being hired.
Tell Us About Your Journey As A Mother in Canada
When I had the baby, it was quite hard and challenging, especially as I didn’t have my parents with me for support in Canada. Afterward, I wanted to start a small business, so I started creating more contacts and began my own ventures from home creating imitation Asian jewellery. I studied the market here and decided I could work from home part-time. This also meant I could look after my baby and not rely on expensive childcare.
Now the business has picked up and I am doing it full-time.
Remitbee Tip: It’s good to have support from a family member, partner or just a good savings account in case, like Jassica, finding a job isn’t easy or you need to start your own business.
How Did You Manage with the Baby Without the Support of Your Parents in Canada?
It was very challenging. I had to sacrifice a lot of things, like my sleep and spare time. Going outside took a lot of planning and I had to wait for the baby to sleep to do things. Everything is scheduled around the baby.
To stay connected with my parents back home, I would call them on WhatsApp and Skype, until eventually, my mom visited for a few months.
What Is the Biggest Difference Between Living in Canada and Living in Sri Lanka?
In Sri Lanka, everyone is willing to help out with the baby, even the neighbours. In Canada, everyone leads a busy life – we don’t even get time to see our neighbours. There are many differences between living here and living back home, especially when you are used to having a large family around you.
How Did You Make a New Community Here in Canada?
I took my daughter to the baby classes and to the park to meet people. That’s how we got to know the neighbours too. And there’s the church here, which is good. The people I met at church helped me a lot with rides, as we didn’t have a car initially when we arrived in Canada.
I had to get out of my comfort zone to meet new people.
Did You Find Canada to Be an Inclusive and Diverse Country?
Yes, definitely. When I came here, I was very surprised to see the Tamil community in Canada. Even when I walk to a mall there are many diverse communities to see.
I was surprised how similar it was to back home in Sri Lanka. I can buy the same food and practice my religion in the same way in Canada. Everything you can get in Sri Lanka, like food and clothing, you can find in Canada.
It made me feel like I belonged. Toronto especially has a large Tamil community and is very multi-cultural.
Remitbee Tip: Canada is a very diverse country. In Toronto alone, there are many communities living together and celebrating religious festivals. We wrote an article covering Indian, Sri Lankan and Filipino festivities in Ontario.
When You Just Landed in Canada, How Important Was the Support of Your Family?
My family was a huge support, especially my husband. He made sure that I got what I wanted and was helped in every way.
I didn’t feel distant to my family or left out because of the strong Tamil community already in Toronto that was so similar to back home.
How Did Your Tribe Support You When You Faced Rejection During Your Job Search?
It was very frustrating but my husband reassured me that it takes some time and not to worry. He never forced me to apply for jobs, he just encouraged me and motivated me to keep trying.
But it’s a learning curve. If I hadn’t faced this rejection and felt frustrated, I wouldn’t have created my successful jewellery business.
My mom and dad are always very supportive of me. They give me advice and motivate me. Thanks to social media and free calls I could talk to my parents and they could see their grandchildren.
Remitbee Tip: use technology to stay in touch with your family. Free calls through Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime and Facebook are all important. Use Remitbee to send money online so your family can buy the technology needed.
Rapid Fire Round!
We threw random words at Jassica and asked her to say the first thing that came to mind.
Justin Trudeau – Leader! He’s handsome ! Jassica smiles.
Your First Snow in Canada – Brutal.
Sun – It’s amazing.
Diversity in Canada – It’s awesome, it’s the best.
Job Search – Challenging!
Canada in General – It’s the best country you could ever live in.
Mother – Being a mother is like a blessing.
Hero – My husband.
Why do you send money to your parents back home? And how was your experience with Remitbee?
Remitting to Sri Lanka is like sending love, especially when I m away. It’s like sending a gift, especially during festivals and celebrations which are all about giving love. We don’t always know what our family wants as presents, so giving them money means they can get something they really want.
I feel happy, content and satisfied when I remit money to Sri Lanka. I am fulfilling a duty – my parents brought me up so I pay them back to show them my love and gratitude.
I use Remitbee usually once a month. It helps me by giving me the best rates when I send money back to Sri Lanka. Remitbee is safer, quicker and more reliable.
What is The Most Important Factor When Sending Money to Your Parents?
Remitbee Tip: Security and reliability are as important as finding a good rate to send money to Sri Lanka or your own home country.
In April 2019, Remitbee was recognized as one of the leading FinTech companies in the Toronto Region by Toronto Finance International. Also, Remitbee is rated Excellent by Trustpilot.
What Are Your Top 3 Reasons for Choosing Remitbee Over Other Services?
First, the exchange rate is really good and better than other services. There are offers with Remitbee too and I like that there’s no servicing charge to make a transfer. I don’t have to pay extra to send my money. It’s pretty good compared to any other service.
Not only has Jassica successfully started a new life in a new country, but she’s also started a business, sent money to her parents back home, and raised her daughter! We think you will completely agree when we say she is undoubtedly a hero. #BeAHero
Join the conversation. Share your Heroic story. Comment below which loved one (e.g. parents/aunt) you’re a Hero to and why you send money. Or simply share which part of Jassica’s story you resonated. Use #BeAHero.