Stories from newcomer volunteers

Nadia, bénévole au Centre des femmes de Montréal
[...] Volunteering gives me a reason to go out, to see how the work is going here, the relationships with people. It has also helped me to learn the language. I knew a little French, but when you don't practice at home... But, here at the Women's Centre, I started to practice, that helped me a lot to improve my French.

Volunteering has also allowed me to better understand relationships, attitudes and ways of working. Studying is one thing, working is another. Volunteering, it's almost a job. You aren't paid, but there are responsibilities. You are not just passing time to pass the time; we are giving our time for others. There is a responsibility in doing this work... each person should be aware of what she (he) is doing.

[...]I think volunteering will help me in my job serach because here, in doing my volunteer work, I work more with people than I did while I was working as an engineer. Before, my work was more technical, with machines, it was something else. Here, I am working with people, welcoming them, talking to them, it's a different way to see things.


Carole, former volunteer at Projet Changement
[...]By volunteering, you get to know the people around you and their environment a little more. Knowing people and knowing how they work helped me a lot.

[...] When you help other people, it normally makes you happy. It can also really change your life, that's why I've been enjoying it so much.


Marja, volunteer at Centre des femmes de Montréal
Volunteering brings me a lot of happiness. Despite the fatigue I sometimes feel because I am also pursuing my studies.... I've always been like this, even in my country, helping others made me very happy. From the very fist day I started working here, I've been volunteering at the food bank and at the locker room... and from that moment on, I've felt very comfortable here. I feel like it has provided a psychological adavantage for me. When I give something, when I share it with others, it gives me a lot of happiness.

I think that for each immigrant who comes here, it's very difficult. Coming to Canada is a huge step. For me, it was probably even more difficult because I was alone. I didn't come with my family because I primarily wanted to study, to improve the other aspects of my life. Now, I think I've found my way.


Wilson Santana, former volunteer at Les Amis de la Montagne
« I think the best part of volunteering at Les Amis de la Montagne is to learn new things. Coming from a background completely different from environment and biology, I could learn a lot.

[...] Volunteering there has also helped with my self-esteem : first, it is very good to feel useful. And second, it is even better when you are recognized for what you do. And sure, it is a good distraction. Doing something not related to your field of activity is really a good way of refreshing your ideas. »

Back to I'm a new immigrant.