At 16, Dacacia Russell moved from her hometown in the Bahamas to Calgary on her own to pursue a degree in accounting. She’s lived in the city for four years now.

Russell was the only member of her family to move as far as she has. Her determination pushed her to navigate and adapt to her new surroundings by herself.

“It’s been quite a journey,” she said.

Moving away from home can be scary for most people, but from the start, Russell found ways to make her experience positive.

Dacacia Russell enjoying a trip to Lisbon, Portugal in August of 2022. PHOTO: Supplied by Dacacia Russell

“When I first arrived, I was just excited,”said Russell. “I thought, ‘Wow, I’m in Canada, this is what I have been dreaming about.’” 

Even when faced with the city’s endless winters and confusing transit system, Russell kept her positive attitude. 

Weather and transportation aside, Russell explained that the biggest difference between Calgary and her hometown is the diversity of the city’s residents. 

“In the Bahamas, everyone looks alike, everyone almost does the same things,” she said.

Russell relaxing during her travels through Amsterdam in August of 2022. PHOTO: Supplied by Dacacia Russell

“Over here, there’s just so many different people, different cultures, different backgrounds, you don’t really get much of that out there.”

For anyone looking to relocate to Calgary, she advised that careful planning and preparation are key to making the transition a positive and exciting experience.  

“Be prepared to deal with what it takes to blend into another culture, another way of life, and it gets easier after a while.”

We spoke to Dacacia Russell about her life and experiences and you can watch it here:

YouTube video

Each year, thousands of people from around the world move to Calgary to make a new life. Our partnership with CLIP explores what it means to be a newcomer in our city and how that experience is different for everyone.

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