Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 12.36.03 PMAfter moving from Lima to Calgary, Marco Palomino Ortiz uses soccer as a way to experience his new city while connecting back to home

Everyone has a passion; whether art, sports, TV, or academics. For Marco Palomino Ortiz, soccer is more than just a simple hobby; it allows him the opportunity to integrate into Calgary communities, while making connections back home in Lima, Peru.

At the age of 19, Palomino Ortiz decided to move from Lima to Calgary to learn English and go to school. After finding work, Palomino Ortiz found himself only really creating relationships with co-workers. As a way to make new relationships, and build his community outside of his work, he went online and found a soccer team called “Andinos.”

Produced by: Angela Wither

Palomino Ortiz said: “I joined the soccer team because I love soccer and I was so sick of just not playing it because back in Peru I used to play twice or maybe just once a week, and it was just so much fun. That’s actually a good thing because it reminds me a lot of Peru.”

On the team, he was not only to communicate and connect with his teammates, but he was exposed to other teams, and other parts of the city through practices and games. With a team speaking both English and Spanish, Palomino Ortiz not only used his experience to aid in his English, but was also given the opportunity of feeling comfortable with in speaking his native language.

Brandon St. Jean of Immigrant Services Calgary said, like anyone there is an importance for immigrants to form relationships both inside and outside their culture. He said if immigrants are reluctant to access programming and join things like clubs, they run the risk of isolation, getting involved in illegal activity and dropping out of school.

St. Jean said, by getting involved, and branching outside of their physical community, immigrants are more easily able to be confident in their new environment by making relationships and connections.

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