Now or Never: CIES students, instructors talk about making the leap to life in Canada

Alex and Saad.

Last week, CBC Radio dropped by CIES NE to interview students in our Employment Skills Training class, and instructor Alex Hadden, for the show Now or Never. Now or Never spotlights the stories of Canadians who are embarking on big changes in their lives – whether they’re starting their own business, defying stereotypes, or just getting settled here. To hear the full episode, click here (the interview with CIES begins at 30:00 minutes).

Below, an excerpt from that interview. Host Trevor Dineen chatted with our student, Saad Chuck, about his experience coming to Calgary, and what it’s like to try to find work in a depressed economy:

Saad Chuck: I don’t know how [the job market] worked before [I got here] but I do my best to improve my English first – and I’m feeling – I’m believing I can find a job and work and survive here.

Trevor Dineen: I think you’re doing pretty good! Do you still have optimism? You seem very positive, even though it’s so difficult to find work in Calgary right now.

SC: It’s my personality; I like to be positive all the time. I’ve had a lot of trouble in my life, but I survive. In the end, I will survive.

TD: What advice would you give to another newcomer that you just met, about moving to Calgary and trying to find a job?

SC: I think I would tell them: be patient, a little bit. Don’t worry – you will get a job. Don’t be afraid. The people here are very nice. They like to help you. You will survive. Don’t worry! You will succeed.

TD: Do you ever get frustrated?

SC: Yes! You musn’t be negative though. You have a good country, a good life! I think, if you lose too much in your life, you will find everything of beauty when you change, when you make a big step in your life. I think it’s not easy for a Syrian refugee, it’s not easy. But because of that hardness, I think I have a chance here. I think I can survive. Yes.

TD: I think you can too. Do you ever get tired of talking about the weather and the traffic?

SC: (laughs) Actually, it changes every hour. Every hour here you have changes!


Employment Skills Training class
Students in CIES’ Employment Skills Training program, with instructors Alex Hadden (back row, third from left) and Celia Ho (seated, front).

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