Maya Story author: Maya Story language: English

Damascus, Syria – Brossard, QC

I immigrated to Canada twice in my life. The first time when I was 10 years old, and the second when I was 30. My dad left Syria 40 years ago in search of a better future for us. I must say that I still can’t decide, which one was the most challenging. Being a child and trying to integrate in a new country, language, culture in the 90’s when immigration to Canada was not yet common, or a married woman and mother trying to make a living in a new environment I have not experienced yet.

Nevertheless, in my second immigration, I was in my dad’s shoes again. I had left everything in Qatar (where we were living after returning from Canada the first time) in search of further education, career opportunities and inclusion. Although I was already a Canadian citizen, it felt as new as the first one. Before earning my master’s, I worked in a clothing store as a sales associate where I was bullied by the manager who was much younger than me. I can still vividly remember holding my tears back many times while working and wondering what mistake I had made moving here, but I never gave up. Back home, I had a good education, job and income and I was surrounded by family members who always helped me.

Being alone in Canada without family and not being able to make friends due to the hectic life definitely added to the burden.

Today, I hold a master’s degree from Concordia University, work as an Advisor at Bombardier for the past five years and on my way to complete a certificate in Diversity  and Inclusion from Cornell University.

I look back at where I started and I am proud that I never gave up.