Vlad Ursoiu talks about building a new life and some challenges he faced when he first arrived in Canada.
NSC: What is your role as a mentor for Next Stop Canada?
Vlad: I mentor with Next Stop Canada in order to offer my support to newcomers in terms of finding and using resources and information I wish were available when I was new to Canada.
NSC: What was your life like before Canada? What did you do in your home country?
Vlad: I was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. I had the opportunity to finish all my studies in Romania. I studied music since I was 5 years old and pursued that avenue to complete the Music University with a degree in Musical Interpretation – Violin. At the same time with completing my studies, I start working for Vodafone Romania – largest telecommunication company at the time in my country – where I found my passion for helping people.
NSC: What do you do now in Canada?
Vlad: I currently work for Rogers Communications as an Account Manager for third party internet access providers (Teksavvy, Distributel, etc).
NSC: What are some of your hobbies? What do you like to do?
Vlad: I am a very competitive person. I have passions outside of work that I try to master to the best of my ability. Currently working on being the best badminton player in my building complex.
NSC: When did you come to Canada? How old were you? Did you come with your family?
Vlad: Moved here in 2005 when I was 24. My family had moved here 2 years prior to my arrival but, since I was still in University, I wanted to complete my studies before making the trip across the ocean.
NSC: What was your first experience in Canada?
Vlad: My parents had 2 years life experience in Canada before I moved here. It made my transition easier however, there was still the cultural “shock” I had to go through, as I was very new to the country. Also, not having a lot of information available as to things to do or the right steps to follow at the time left me in a situation where I had to figure out a lot of things on my own. From a technological perspective, Canada was not as advanced as Romania so this was not easy.
NSC: How did you adapt to Canadian culture and new way of life?
Vlad: I can say that I am still adapting even though Canada is aiming to be very accommodating from a cultural and religious perspective. Every year I find at least a new thing that I need to learn, embrace and accept as part of what I call now my home.
NSC: What has been your favourite memory in Canada?
Vlad: There are many things that I hold dear since my arrival in Canada. From eating my first plate of yang chow fried rice to watching my favorite band live for the first time, many many things I will always recall with a smile on my face.
NSC: Please offer 3 tips to pre-arrival immigrants based on your experiences.
- Do your homework. Research anything that you might be interested in from work places to schools for your kids, neighborhoods to live in that will have similar cultural backgrounds to help with the transition and integration.
- Be ready to embrace and accept the change. A positive outlook will take you a long way.
- Learn English (and French if possible). Speaking the language will help you get around, easily communicate with folks around you and help you integrate in the community faster (find a job, etc.).
NSC: Anything else that would be useful?
Vlad: I can’t stress enough the need for a positive mindset coming here. From the cultural differences to the harsh winters, there will be a lot of differences and only with a positive mindset you will be able to overcome these challenges and succeed.