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Story Guide

Your immigration story is part of what defines us as a country. This is why we want to learn all about your journey to and life in Canada. Anything that you can share with us about your immigration experience is of great interest.

If you aren’t sure where to start, we have developed a helpful guide with questions, organized around themes, to help you think about what you may want to include in your story. If all of the questions or themes don’t apply to you, that’s okay. This is only a guide.

COUNTRY OR COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN

What was your life like in your country of origin?

  • Family
  • Schooling
  • Play
  • Work
  • Spirituality/Religion

Were you affected by any major events or conflicts in your country of origin?

  • What are your memories of this period?
  • How were you/your family members affected?
  • Were you required to leave your home?
  • Did you experience food shortages? Other shortages? How did this affect your daily activities?
  • How was your community affected by the conflict?
  • Do you remember the conflict coming to an end? What was that like?

THE DECISION TO LEAVE AND THE APPLICATION PROCESS

  • Why did you/your family decide to leave your country of origin?
  • Why did you/your family decide to come to Canada?
  • Did you apply to come to Canada with the idea of staying permanently?
  • What category of immigration did you apply under? Why?
  • Who made the decision to leave and go to Canada?
  • What was involved in the process of leaving? For example, was there official paperwork, interviews and/or examinations to complete? How did you organize your personal life?
  • Were there any challenges with your application? Why?
  • When were you accepted by Canada?
  • How long did the entire application process take?

THE VOYAGE

  • When did you depart for Canada?
  • Were family members or friends able to say goodbye to you? How did they give their farewells?
  • How did you pay your fare?
  • How did you travel? What was your travel route? Did you stop in any locations? Had you travelled in this manner before?
  • How long did your voyage take?
  • Where did you arrive in Canada?
  • How would you describe your trip?
    • Food
    • Facilities onboard
    • Entertainment
    • Other people you met while travelling

    ARRIVAL

    • What do you remember about arriving in Canada?
    • Where was your baggage?
    • What did you bring to Canada?
    • Where was your final destination in Canada?
    • How did you get from the port/airport/station you arrived at to your destination?
    • Did anyone meet you when you got to your destination?

    SETTLING IN CANADA

    • Where did you stay when you first arrived in Canada?
    • Did you find work (paid or volunteer) soon after you arrived? How did you find work?
    • What was your job?
    • Did you pursue further education in Canada?
    • Did you have challenges communicating when you first arrived? Did you speak English or French? If not, how did you learn?
    • Are you/your family religious? If so, did you find a faith community in Canada?
    • Was the food different from what you were used to? How?
    • Did you have challenges settling in Canada? What were they?
    • Can you describe the first few years of your life in Canada?
    • Did any other family or friends come from your old country to join you in Canada? Did you sponsor them?
    • Have you become a Canadian citizen? If so, why did you pursue citizenship in Canada? Has it made a difference for you?
    • Have you gone back to visit your country of origin? If so, what was this like?

    REFLECTION

    • What were the most significant challenges immigrating to Canada?
    • Were there particular things that you appreciated about Canada right away?
    • Do you feel at home in Canada? Why? Why not?
    • What do you think now of your decision to come to Canada?
    • Is there anything else you would like to share?