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Blossoming in the Okanagan: Our Canadian Journey from Ukraine

Posted on: November 17, 2023

Amidst the Russian Invasion, the life-changing decision to move to Canada from Ukraine

My husband and I made the life-changing decision to move to Canada from Ukraine in April 2022, driven by the upheaval caused by the Russian invasion. Our dream was to find a place that offered both a comfortable lifestyle and the opportunity to be close to nature. When we found out about the Okanagan and, especially Vernon, we fell in love immediately. The mountains, the lakes, and beautiful forests captured our hearts, making it the perfect place for us to settle down.

Social Media Connections: Navigating New Beginnings in Canada

In Ukraine, social media played a pivotal role in our lives. Through platforms like Telegram and Facebook, we discovered valuable groups and chats that connected us with fellow Ukrainians and provided insights into life in Canada. One such revelation was these social channels could be used to find a host family, a connection that profoundly impacted our early days in Canada. Luck was on our side as we found an incredible Canadian host family upon our arrival. Their support, guidance, and friendship were invaluable. This family not only helped us acclimate but also played a pivotal role in my husband securing a job as a dental technician.

Navigating New Horizons: Services for Newcomers in Vernon

Becoming clients of the Vernon and District Immigrant and Community and Services Society opened doors to essential services and to a job in the community. VDICSS hired me and my role as a Settlement Worker has allowed me to give back by assisting others in their immigration journey.

Unseen Challenges: Transportation, Accommodation, and Language

The transition to life in Vernon brought unexpected challenges, from the necessity of obtaining a driver’s license due to limited public transportation to navigating language barriers and to finding pet-friendly accommodations.

Overcoming Hurdles: Employment Tips for Newcomers

Finding employment in Canada presents unique challenges, including adapting to Canadian-style resumes and securing references. Despite language barriers, many Canadian employers are open to hiring newcomers, offering opportunities to build careers and improve English skills.

Advice for Newcomers: Language Learning, Cultural Understanding, and Self-Trust

Embarking on a new life in Canada necessitates studying English, understanding Canadian culture, and developing a sense of self-trust. Seeking guidance from fellow immigrants on social media can provide valuable insights, but it’s crucial to trust your own judgment.

Enjoying the Okanagan: Nature, Activities, and Changing Seasons

Our love for the Okanagan extends beyond our professional and personal growth. We revel in the beauty of nature, engaging in activities like hiking and fishing. The familiar climate reminds us of Ukraine, and the enchanting change of seasons make every day a joy, even in winter.

Final Reflections: Gratitude and a Newfound Home

As we continue to savor the Okanagan’s beauty and embrace the opportunities it offers, our journey stands as a testament to the opportunities for newcomers. By sharing our experiences, we hope to inspire and guide others on their path to building a fulfilling life in Canada.