Finding jobs can be a very tough thing to do no matter who you are. When you’re new to a country and are still just learning the language, it is even tougher.
Rasha Kossad, 22, moved to Winnipeg a year and a half ago. She came here with her family through the UN, leaving the war in Libya to find a safer place to live. Just like that, Kossad, her parents, and her older brother moved halfway across the world.
“When you have a bad experience in the country that you were in and you come here, the good thing is that people are very friendly,” says Kossad, “it’s very safe here, and that’s what we were looking for.”
When she arrived in Winnipeg, she went to the Immigrant Centre to learn English and get some help editing her resume. That’s when she was told about the Food Handling Certificate course, something she had not considered before.
“I was looking for a job and it’s hard to find jobs when you don’t have much Canadian experience,” says Kossad, knowing that the Food Handling Certificate course was a good foot-in-the-door.
The course led to her getting a job at the Tim Hortons in The Roblin Centre.
“Everyone is very nice and the schedule is very flexible,” she says “which helps me a lot.”
Kossad is studying to become a Medical Office Assistant at Roberston College, which takes up much of her time, although that is not truly her goal. On top of that, when she is able to, she spends time working in customer service at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.
Her true goal has had to take a back seat to learning English. Before she moved to Winnipeg, she had completed 2/3 of her schooling to become a Medical Technologist.
“It’s hard when you come here and have to start fresh,” says Kossad. The language barrier is all that has been holding her back from doing the same here.
As her English gets better, though, she plans to begin studying Medical Technology at Red River College.
Whereas her language learning has slowed down the pursuit of her dream job, she’s still enjoying her time in Winnipeg, having already made a bunch of friends.
“Usually [on the weekend] I like hanging out with my friends,” says Kossad, “I’m studying in the morning until 2:15 and then I have work, so I have busy days. On weekends I just like to hang out with them.”
Many of the friends she has made have been through work at Tim Hortons.
While it may only create a job for the time being, receiving her Food Handlers Certificate has helped Kossad learn English, and meet the people she enjoys spending time with.
Article and photo by Josh Kerr