My first advice for immigrant professionals: Volunteering!

Mary Camino is a newcomer professional and enthusiastic volunteer. She is currently completing her ESL EAP training at Columbia College and is pursuing her communications career in Canada.

Being a volunteer in Canada is definitely a fascinating experience. Beyond having the chance to build professional experiences, practice your English skills and contribute to your community, the most valuable thing is to connect and socialize with amazing people.

There are many ways to volunteer in Calgary, but it is necessary to seek opportunities that align your passion and your goals. Many organizations seek volunteers because they value the expertise and knowledge that newcomers can provide, as well as their culture. Volunteers, on the other hand, boost their experience and professional skills; this experience is also enriching for immigrants trying to settle in a new environment.

An interesting resource that can help you find volunteering opportunities is this website: www.propellus.org, which helps to connect volunteers with non-profit organizations offering diverse programs. The first step for all career professionals that settle in Canada should be to start volunteering. Sometimes there are opportunities that might be different from their past work experiences, yet it could be the beginning of a new and exciting path.

I would like to share my personal volunteering experience with CIES: Moving to Canada was very challenging for me because of the language. Getting to the final stage of my ESL program helped me decide to seek a volunteer opportunity. My background is in the field of Communications, and thanks to the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society I have the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in this field in Canada. I have learned the right terminology in English for many tasks related to my background. I have found a mentoring environment that guides me and helps me to envision the right start for my future plans. My involvement with CIES includes providing support to the amazing and friendly communication team with any task that they need to carry out. Since the beginning, I have felt welcomed and valued. I consider my career and personal development to have greatly benefited from this experience.

My advice: get involved to get the most out of your new life in Canada.