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5 Common Challenges Faced by Immigrants

5 Common Challenges Faced by Immigrants

Immigrating is one the biggest changes you may face in life. Moving to a new country and adapting to a different culture can be complicated and challenging. Here are 5 common challenges faced by immigrants:

Language Barrier

Language is one of the biggest barriers that newcomers face when resettling. Trying to get a job, make friends, or even complete basic tasks like buying food or filling out forms can be frustrating and stressful if you aren't fluent in either of Canada's two official languages, English and French. In Alberta most people communicate in English in business and everyday situations, so you need to know the language if you expect to thrive. To learn or improve their English, many new immigrants take ESL classes.

When you arrive, you may need to get your language assessed and obtain your Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB). The CLB is required for many training programs for immigrants, including LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers in Canada), which provides English training at a number of locations across the country. There are many locations in Alberta where newcomers can assess their language for free.

It's important to practice speaking English as often as you can: Make English-speaking friends, participate in discussions in workshops, read books, newspapers (even road signs and ads on the train), and talk, talk, talk.

Finding Employment

The challenges immigrants face in finding jobs (alongside language) have to do with getting their credentials recognized and having relevant Canadian work experience. Immigrants who are educated and have well-established careers back home may find it frustrating that they can’t obtain the same jobs here. Employers in Canada typically prefer work experience within Canada, and certifications outside of the country for some regulated professions usually don’t transfer. Employers have their own perspectives on the advantages and disadvantages of hiring newcomers: Some think it’s harder for immigrants to integrate if they aren't familiar with Canadian workplace culture. Workshops on Canadian workplace culture are a great help in getting familiar, as is making networking connections. Also, it's possible to begin the process of getting your credentials recognized  before you land.

Cultural Shock

Cultural shock describes the feelings you experience after leaving your familiar, home culture to live in another cultural or social environment. For most newcomers it’s difficult to deal with the cultural differences. Cultural shock moves through three different phases; honeymoon (everything you see and do in the country is exciting and positive), frustration (feeling of isolation, sadness and anger), and acceptance (you start to accept new surroundings and make a compromise between the honeymoon and the frustration).

By adapting to a foreign culture, you can overcome your culture shock and develop relationships with people around you, rather than feeling anxious and puzzled in your new place. Accepting different values or believing them doesn't mean you have to take them on as your own, but you may need to learn to respect them in others. Keep an open mind and don’t perceive anything that is different to be "wrong.” Canada is a very diverse country and it’s very easy to adapt, you just have to give it a chance.


Social isolation represents another challenge that’s not unique to immigrants. Coming into to a new culture, being far from home, family and friends might bring on feelings of isolation and loneliness. It takes time to get used to a new place and feel comfortable in it. It also takes time for locals to get used to you and to reach out. Canada has a diverse population and major cities have many communities from many different countries. These are the perfect places for those settling in Canada, where community associations can support each other. Visiting settlement organizations is also a great idea. You can meet more people, very often from your own country. They may become your friends, and a vital part of your support system in your new home.

The Weather

Canada's climate is as diverse as its people. It’s true! Canada’s climate varies wildly based on geography. For example, Alberta has a humid continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. However, most people who live here would say to predict the unpredictable; there might be snow in the summer and mid-winter chinooks, when the temperature climbs from freezing to warm in just a few hours. You never know what to expect from the weather in Alberta. For most immigrants adapting to the climate is a necessity wherever they settle–and Canada offers plenty of choice!

Arriving in a new country can be daunting, but you'll find that there are millions of resources to help you face the challenges of settlement. Visit the nearest settlement organizations, be open to change and start your adaptation process with an open mind.


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Wednesday, 06 December 2023

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