Finding your community
By: Vincent Tran
Published on: August 17, 2022
Being new to Canada can be a massive change in your life. You may not have the same friend groups you had back home and finding people to talk to and relate to may be a difficult task.
Being together with others always brings out the best in us and it makes everyone feel comfortable and welcomed. That’s why it’s important to find a community that you get along with.
That is obviously a lot easier said than done, but there are some things that you could do that will make it more straightforward.
So, here are some tips that could help you when you’re trying to find your community or group.
Be open to new ideas
Canada is a very diverse country and with that comes a wide range of varying viewpoints and ideas. Many people in Canada are different and they have a lot of different interests as well.
Try to listen to others and understand what they believe in and the things that they’re interested in. Doing so could make it easier for you to make friends and get along with others and you’ll get to know all kinds of people.
Being open to different ideas can help you a lot because you’ll encounter so many different people and that will help you learn how to interact with others. You’ll find that by listening to others and accepting them, you’ll be able to build better connections and deepen those connections.
If you’re open to new ideas and different opinions on things, then you’ll have no issues finding a community or group for yourself in Canada.
Use your resources
In cities all across Canada, there are many places for people to gather and be a part of a group. There are numerous diverse community centres and weekly gatherings for people to be a part of.
If you are religious, there are many religious centres all throughout Canada and many places of worship that are very welcoming to everyone.
For a Catholic, you could visit a church and speak to the people who run the church or speak to the priest there. If you are Muslim, you could visit your local mosque and speak to people who attend services there or the imam in charge of the mosque.
If you come from a specific country or ethnicity, you could look for ethnic centres or areas in your city. For example, if you’re Chinese, you could visit your local Chinatown and speak to restaurant or shop owners there and build friendships that way.
You can also check throughout your city where your local community centres are located and when and where gatherings happen for groups that may interest you.
You can search online and find websites from cities that outline specific community centres or recreation centres as well, such as the linked websites for Toronto. Many cities in Canada have their own websites where they outline community centres and good resources to know more about the city, so you can search up your city’s name and see if there is a website that will link to some community centres near you.
There are also articles that outline lists of community centres in some of Canada’s main cities. There are many community centres in cities all across the country, so go check them out for yourself and see which ones interest you.
Open up to others
An important part when finding your community or group is to talk to others. However, a key thing to keep in mind is to not just talk to others, but open up to them and try to relate to them.
If you are uncomfortable opening up to new people, try opening up to people who you are comfortable with. Speak to your friends and family from back home or try sharing more of your personal life to your new friends in Canada. You can start small, for example, share some things that you normally do every day and eventually you can build that into sharing your personal stories and experiences.
People in Canada come from so many different backgrounds and everyone has their own personal story, so if you share your story to others, they will also open up to you.
It could also be liberating to open up and speak to others because you can discover that you aren’t afraid to be vulnerable about yourself and you could gain more confidence from it.
Head to the internet
The internet and social media will be your best friend when it comes to finding a group or community for yourself because it’s very easy to connect with others and it’s very simple to use.
You can search for online newcomer groups in your local area and try speaking to others who are there as well. Share your story and how you came to Canada and others will likely welcome you in and share their stories as well.
One newcomer group includes the National Newcomers Association of Canada, where you can contact local newcomer groups in your city or province. They have a contact list for ten Canadian provinces and are a large collective.
A website that you could use to get in contact with other newcomer groups is meetup.com. You can use this website to join a newcomer group that may interest you in a city close to you. These groups can be a great way to get to know others and meet people who are also newcomers.
But if you’re having trouble finding a group that interests you, or one that you can relate to and feel comfortable in, then try starting a community of your own.
Try starting a group on Facebook or Reddit based around your interests or background. If there are people who join along with you and are also close to your city, organise meetups and gatherings where you can meet each other in person and get to know one another better. Social media can be a great place to find new friends and create lasting relationships.
Use communication apps like Discord or WhatsApp to keep in touch with people who don’t live near you. Create group chats with one another to stay in contact or get on a call on Discord to talk to each other.
There are so many options to get in contact with others nowadays that the options really are endless and with the right mindset, you’ll have no problems finding a group that you can relate to.