Transcript: “Available French Settlement Services”
Video length: 3:24 minutes
VIRGINIE DE VISSCHER (Manitoba, originally from Belgium, Director, Trade): When we arrived, Accueil francophone took us in hand right away. There are some organizations here that really specialize in helping immigrants make their mark. On the first day, someone took us to get a health card and all sorts of papers we needed. They helped us get insurance and take care of other things.
DIDIER RABESOA (British Columbia, originally from Madagascar, Customer Service Representative): I went to the Maison de la Francophonie, and they pointed me to all the resources that were available in terms of housing, education of course and health—things that new immigrants are naturally concerned about. Éducacentre, the Francophone centre, offers free English classes for new immigrants, permanent residents. So, it is important … English is important because the vast majority of people speak English, so you really have to learn English here.
JEAN-BRUNO NKONDI (British Columbia, Immigration Settlement Officer): The advice I would give someone, who wants to settle in British Columbia or who just arrived in British Columbia, would be to contact the available services for information because settlement officers know what services are available, what programs are available, what resources are available.
CYRIAQUE KITI (New Brunswick, originally from Benin, Banking Services Advisor): The Resource Centre for Newcomers is very active, especially when it comes to welcoming Francophones. When people decide to immigrate here, they’re very, very active. We were in touch with them a bit, initially. They supported us, me in particular because my wife already had a job. They supported me in my job search, helped me write my CV and somewhat adapt to the area, and even helped me prepare for interviews sometimes.
JEAN-BRUNO NKONDI: When I meet with an immigrant, I assess their needs, and then we provide them with information about various services to meet those needs. Once we have given them all that information, we also connect them with the community, whether it’s the Francophone community or the wider community of British Columbia.
DIDIER RABESOA: The first piece of advice I would give someone is to make use of the French-language services that are available because they’re very dynamic. The second piece of advice I would give someone is to believe in themselves. Nothing is going to be handed to you, but if you’re active, if you don’t stay isolated, then nothing will stand in your way.