When international students and newcomers come to Canada, not only they bring skills with them; they also bring superpowers!
Like Professor X, they come in peace.
Like Flash, they are fast to adapt and thrive.
Like Wonder Woman, they are physically and mentally strong.
Like Wolverine, they bounce back and heal fast when they fall down; they have to – this country never stops!
The fact that they leave their comfort zone and their family and friends behind in pursuit of a new life and new goals in a new country makes them badass heroes and they should be a force to be reckoned with!
Having said that, their superpowers don’t make them immune to the sea of emotions that they go through before and upon arrival in Canada; emotions that include excitement, fear, anxiety, grief, joy, and anticipation, just to name a few. If kryptonite deprives Superman from his powers, homesickness may be their weakness! If they choose to think that they can’t adapt to their new environment to build a happy life, their superpowers will be obsolete because self-sabotaging will always be the biggest villain in their story.
After all, it is perfectly human to feel sad for being miles away from their loved ones, but the distance should be the drive to embrace a journey filled with change and opportunity.
As educators and coaches, we must pay attention to those emotions when helping these heroes with their transition into Canadian society. It is paramount that we provide safe spaces for them to talk about the effect that moving to Canada is having in their lives, share experiences with other heroes who are in their same shoes, and listen to stories from heroes who have already lived and sailed through the experience.
We must support them so their mental health is not negatively impacted during these transitional stages!
It takes a lot of strength and courage to start from scratch, therefore, our work must be empowering so they are capable of enjoying their current reality and build promissory futures for themselves. These are heroes who have thrived in volatile economies; they are problem solvers by nature, so imagine the wonders they can do for organizations in the Canadian market if given the chance. By applying an array of abilities and languages, they can easily help organizations catapult their reach to global markets to unimaginable levels.
They need to learn from the locals and the locals need to learn from them.
We must advocate for these heroes when, because of bad propaganda, people say they are here to steal their jobs. We must challenge the prejudice and stereotype because they come here with the hopes to be accepted and to integrate with their knowledge and expertise for the betterment of this multicultural society. They come to Canada to help this country grow more. That’s their agenda!
As Canadian citizens, are we using the power of empathy so we feel their struggle and do our bit to help them create opportunities that not only will benefit them but our society overall?
Are we helping them cultivate their superpowers?
Written by David Mendoza for Orbit 5
REFLECT – PLAY – ADVANCE