I wasn’t one of those cajoled into migration. I had thought about it carefully for years. In retrospect, I also did it in phases. It was the confidence and self-management I garnered the first time that gave me the go-ahead in phase two.
I packed my bags and moved to North America from West Africa. I had no immediate family or very solid connections.
I already had my MD and graduate education and did not think professional progress would be an issue.
I thought even less of relationships and I had underestimated the ability to thrive while joggling various aspects of my life in a land that wasn’t mine. So it is no surprise that it is taking over 3 years to find my feet properly.
What Challenges Do Immigrants Face Today that I encountered?
As mentioned, I had migrated without doubts of thriving professionally. I was more inclined to pursue a non-clinical path than a clinical one. It turned out that this was no easy feat.
- Apparently, even though employers try to verify your international education and its equivalency, most people had better edges in Canada if they schooled locally. One would think that with an MD and a master’s degree, I was home and dry. I wasn’t. I had to pound the pavement trying to carve out a fresh path and met many helpful people, but it was a tough journey, regardless.
- The accommodation was a nightmare. It is tough to live with people who do not have the same background as you. You are not at the point where you can afford independent accommodation. In most cases, migrants stay in shared living conditions. It’s a challenge. God help you if you are also pursuing another endeavor like board exams or something related and you have no peace at home. This was the case for most people.
- Relationships were a different ballgame. You have come to a country where people are trying to find their feet. People have many agendas. They do not know you and you do not know them. To be in a meaningful and thriving relationship takes the grace of God or tough luck, depending on what you believe in.
There are still resounding issues of systemic racism, the struggle to maintain and adapt one’s culture, extreme weather conditions, health challenges, culture shock, and the list could go on.
I have done about 3 years in North America. It doesn’t feel so challenging anymore. I am thankful to those who I met that were unbelievably kind and understanding.
There are some who reminded me that; yes it gets tough at the beginning, but it doesn’t stay that way forever. It is true. I would encourage anyone considering migration to manage their expectations. It might help to know helpful people where you are going.
Your success would come, but it does at a price.
Migration powers economic growth reduces inequalities and connects diverse societies. Yet it is also a source of political tensions and human tragedies.- Antonio Guterres
Featured Image Credits – Barber vector created by stories – www.freepik.com