Moving to a different country is often an exciting and life-changing experience. However, adjusting to being in a new place can be a confusing time in newcomers’ lives. For example, they have to consider potential cultural differences, language barriers, and social norms. One way to make the transition easier is by learning how to join and participate in their local communities. Volunteering is a big part of Canadian work culture and can be beneficial to newcomers in many respects. So, what exactly do newcomers gain from becoming a volunteer?
Work Experience and References
Many Canadian newcomers already have a wealth of experience and knowledge from another country. Getting much-needed work experience in Canada, however, is a different story. Volunteering is the perfect way for newcomers to gain Canadian experience and bridge the gap in their work histories. This also helps them adjust to differences in work culture. For example, they might be more familiar with other styles of leadership or other ways of communicating from their country. By actively participating in Canadian work culture through volunteering, they can gain a better understanding of how Canadian organizations work. This will also help newcomers gain valuable Canadian references that will help them stand out on future job applications. Volunteer organizations and coordinators can speak to their skills, attributes, and personal strengths.
Professional Networks and Local Communities
Volunteering helps Canadian newcomers meet and connect with new people. Whether they’re fellow volunteers, coordinators, or people from the community, newcomers can make connections and form friendships. These new relationships will not only be socially fulfilling, but will also make the adjustment period easier. Newcomers will feel more settled when surrounded by a community of people who can help them out. Becoming a part of a community also means participating in social events. For example, newcomers can gain a stronger cultural understanding of their new country by attending festivals or taking classes. As a bonus, volunteer organizations often introduce volunteers to these events and offer discounts or even free entry. Lastly, newcomers’ newfound Canadian connections can also help them find other opportunities, a mentor, or even a permanent job.
Skill Development and Language Practice
Volunteering is a great way for Canadian newcomers to improve existing skills and develop new ones. It helps them get comfortable with their new environment and familiarize themselves with what they need to be successful in Canada. For example, they can learn how to use tools and software commonly used in Canadian workplaces that they might not have known about before. They can also work on their interpersonal skills and personal attributes, such as collaboration and time management. All of these hard and soft skills can help to build up their resume and boost their confidence when applying for jobs. Additionally, Canadian newcomers might not speak English or French as their first language. Volunteering is the perfect opportunity for them to practice their language skills and feel self-assured when they speak.
Confidence and Personal Growth
Many people choose to volunteer so they can give back and help others. However, volunteering also benefits volunteers themselves by building their confidence and boosting their self-esteem. This is especially helpful for Canadian newcomers who may feel uncertain or even anxious in their new country. If they’re struggling to find a permanent job or make professional connections, it can take a toll on their stress levels. Volunteering keeps them busy, surrounds them with people and communities who look out for them, and provides them with purpose. These opportunities help them not only learn and grow as Canadian professionals, but as individuals, too. Volunteering provides newcomers with positive experiences and a positive outlook on themselves and their futures.