July 07, 2012

Welcome to Canada! - Ramona Heikel

This month our Canada Day celebrations put us in the spotlight, so we look out to the world and say “Welcome to Canada!” And each year, many new Canadians who do feel welcome take part in the citizenship ceremony on Canada Day, which excites me, because I believe each one enriches a community in this country.

I feel fortunate to be surrounded at work by men and women who have come from all over the world to live here. It is interesting to learn about their native lands, and the customs, religion and foods, which they frequently share with us. I also am happy to meet newcomers in my neighbourhood, but am sad to see that many are not finding life as easy as my co-workers. Many struggle to learn English so they can find work and help their children adjust to school and a new home.

But even though it isn’t much, I have been able to help neighbours, coworkers and friends to learn English as their second language. It has been a joy to practice English as we share our lives, review grammar or spelling for an email or resume, work on homework, discuss Canadian laws and culture, and even write letters to government agencies. I thank God for bringing us together because they give so much to my life.

As an avid reader and educator, literacy is important to me, and I applaud the many volunteers and organizations that assist newcomers to Canada. Thank you, Calgary Public Library, for your free literacy programs. Thank you, too, Calgary READS, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, YMCA LINC Program, and ESL Cooperative Ministries. As a writer, one way I have attempted to support new citizens and organizations like these is by writing articles or blog posts, but I’d like to do more. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

As a Christian, I am also aware that God is at work in the lives of Canada’s newest citizens, delivering many from difficult circumstances. My prayer is that through all of us, He will draw each one to himself, and help them thrive, not only culturally, socially, economically, but most importantly spiritually.


  1. Because of Canadaians like you, immigrants to this great nation get to live a happy and productive life. I myself was an immigrant twenty five years back and I know what it's to have a good neighbor,friendly coworker and a helpful friend.

  2. Thank you Ramona. As an ESL instructor I yearn to share the truth of God's Word with my students. It's a wonderful opportunity to begin understanding other cultures too.

    Pam M.


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