Connecting with others in your new community is an important step in the settlement process. Making new friends and contacts will help you feel at home in Canada. It may also help you advance your professional goals by creating a network of people that can support you in your search for work. Here are some ways you can connect with people:
Immigrant-serving organizations (ISOs) are a great place to meet others as they offer a variety of programs and social activities you can take part in. Many also offer mentoring programs, which will match you up with another immigrant or Canadian to help you settle.
Volunteering your time is an excellent way to:
- meet people
- contribute to your community
- gain Canadian work experience
You can volunteer in many places, including:
- community centres
- charitable organizations
- hospitals and retirement homes
To find more information about volunteering, visit the Volunteer Canada website or ask an ISO for advice.
Joining activities and programs at your local community centre is also a good way of meeting new people who share your interests. Most neighbourhoods have community centres that offer many activities and programs in the areas of:
- health, fitness and recreation
- child care
- many other areas
For a list of community centres, search online or consult your municipal government website.
Sports teams and sports centres
Playing sports is another good way to meet new people of all ages. In most cities and towns, there are organized leagues for all major sports at different skill and age levels. There are also sports centres where you can:
- enjoy fitness classes
- work out at the gym
- do many other sports-related activities
Joining associations or social clubs
There are many opportunities for people with common interests to gather. Examples include joining:
- neighbourhood groups
- ethnocultural clubs
- book clubs
- game clubs
- music, arts or dance clubs
You can find out about associations and clubs in your area by searching online or the local newspaper, by calling or visiting your local community centre or City Hall.
Perhaps simplest of all is meeting new people in your neighbourhood. Introduce yourself to your neighbours and tell them that you are new to the country. If you have children, you can also meet other parents at the local playground.
Getting involved in your child’s school
In Canada, schools encourage parents to support their child’s education by getting involved with the school and school board. Getting involved can help your child succeed and provide an excellent opportunity to become part of a school community.
Places of worship
In addition to the private practice of religion, Canadians show their religious faith in public life and in their daily activities. They also gather in:
- other places of worship
Focusing on establishing networks between Canadians with Newcomers to Canada as well as to strengthening their connections to the community, The “Conversation Circle” is a weekly program held throughout the school year which increases social interactions and relationship development opportunities for newcomers.