Pauline Baysa found outreach programs from the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association helpful during a daunting immigration process. Photo: Quyhn Le

Pauline Baysa moved to Calgary with her mother and sister from the Philippines in 2016. Prior to their arrival, Baysa’s father had worked in Canada for three and a half years as a temporary foreign worker until he was able to secure permanent residency for their family to move.

With moving to a new city, Baysa found herself facing many external and internal challenges. She missed her family and friends, faced Calgary’s cold unfamiliar winter along with the difficulties of transferring schools as a post secondary student.

But she quickly learned that Calgary had numerous resources for a young immigrant woman and found guidance and support at the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA). Now she uses her experience and expertise to mentor other young immigrants as a youth program coordinator for CIWA.

“As an immigrant I want to give back,” says Baysa. “I want the youth to see they have a place here in Canada.”

YouTube video
Julie Patton talks to Pauline Baysa about her experience immigrating to Canada.

While Baysa believes there are great opportunities for immigrants in Calgary, they need to put in the work and reach out to find them. 

“We migrated because we know that there’s a beautiful future waiting for us, but that future lies in our hands as well. If we will do the work, then the universe will give us the opportunities that we knew were waiting.”

Baysa considers herself as a newcomer because she has more to learn about Calgary and Canada, but she encourages other newcomers to reach out and find support in the city to make it feel like home.

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.

You can see all the video profiles here.

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Julie Patton is a fourth year journalism student at MRU and newsletter editor at the Calgary Journal. She is also the news editor at The Reflector.