My practicum experience went really well and I definitely enjoyed every aspect of it. My expectations going into it were really low. I assumed I’ll just be doing office work, filing papers and what not but it was the complete opposite. I felt like I was part of something because I was involved in the community, I participated in group activities, attended workshops and visited some Neighborhood Immigrant Settlement locations to have a one-on-one talk with the NISW so I could hear what it’s all about from their perspective.
I had the opportunity to actually sit down and talk to a couple Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Workers and heard them share their experiences of working in the field and how all the services and activities they provide really make a big difference in people’s lives. They help new immigrants settle into their communities and plan activities so they could meet up with other newcomers so they know they’re not alone.
A memorable moment during my practicum is meeting the newcomers and talking to them about their experience especially at the citizenship ceremony and the Cultural Adaptation presentation by Roselyn. It was amazing sharing experiences with people because I came to Canada as an immigrant 8 years ago and sharing together made a great impact. It’s never easy moving especially to a different continent. The changes are overwhelming and having the opportunity to share with the new immigrants and encouraging them made that a moment I will always cherish.
I think the impact of the Immigrant Centre to clients is great. It is so well organized and all the services they offer are really helpful to the people especially if you move to this part of the world with little to no experience. I pray and hope that I’ll be part of their team someday, soon if possible. The main part of my practicum was in the Neighbourhood program which the practicum supervisor is the coordinator of. Every time I attended workshops or activities, I wished that it would be my job because with something like that, you make an impact on someone’s life every day. Meeting new people from different part of the world and sharing experiences, guiding and helping them with services and introducing them to the Canadian society.
I would not have had a chance to experience all this if it wasn’t for my mentor Roselyn Advincula who is the Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Coordinator. I think she saw a lot in me and believe that I have a lot potential. I love that she gave me assignments/projects and guided me through it all. I learned a lot from her and realize that we actually have some things in common. She has really helped and I wish the practicum was longer so I can learn even more from her. I know that this practicum experience will not only be useful for my job life, it is an experience I will carry in my own personal life. Ever since I was little I wanted a career that involves helping people and I feel like this was a stepping stone for me in addition to my education.
As part of my practicum I had the opportunity to interview Maria Luz Ocampo (aka Luchie), a past client of the Immigrant Centre. Maria has been in Canada for a little over a year now. She arrived in June 2012 and currently working at Healthy Start for Mom & Me, a non-profit organization. She started out as a Childminder, then as Data Assistant, and worked her way up to be Data and Office Manager.
Maria said that her expectation while coming to Canada is to have better opportunities for her daughter and the rest of her family, and so far things have been going really well. One of the major experiences she has had in Canada is the weather and also family togetherness. Back home, her husband was away a lot so there was no family time. But now, the whole family is together and they could not be happier.
According to Maria, the services she accessed at the Immigrant Centre have helped her with the position she is in and the person she has become. Some of the services she participated in at the Immigrant Centre are: Family Support Circles, Family Cooking and Nutrition, Language bank and other government services for daily activities of living. One thing Maria said she really enjoyed from the services was meeting other Newcomers and sharing experiences. “They were all good experiences and moment I will cherish forever.” Meeting people like Roselyn Advincula, who is the Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement Coordinator, has made great impact on her. She said she is more confident now and has made connections that will go a long way.
I asked Maria what would she like to say to other Newcomers and this is what she said “I would like to encourage them to take advantage of the different opportunities out there, to volunteer and get involved in the community. It would be good to get out of your comfort zone and take risks and chances and make changes because staying in one place will not bring you anywhere and will not help you adapt to the Canadian Society. “