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The Globe and Mail

Canadian immigrants share their personal stories

As part of its Immigrant Answer series, The Globe invited readers to share their immigration experiences. We heard from hundreds of readers, from coast to coast. Here's a selection of their triumphs and trials in an adopted country.

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AMNA BAKHTIAR Lives in Toronto Emigrated from Pakistan in 2001 HER STORY: "As an ambitious and liberal woman, I felt the need to move to a country where I would not face gender biases or such restrictions that would come in my way of achieving my goals... I picked Canada because it sounded like it was most closely aligned with my own values."

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FIONA BARTON Lives in Kelowna, B.C. Emigrated from Scotland in 1999 HER STORY: "I'm building a new life in Canada with my husband and my baby boy Alasdair. I run my own consulting business providing design advice to local developers and in doing so employ five other full-time staff."

Fred Schaad

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KEITH FERRELL Lives in Toronto Emigrated from Jamaica in 2006 HIS STORY: "My training is in Library and Information Science and I have not been able to get a job in that field even though I have a degree... I worked for four years in a call centre that paid minimum wage and I'm currently out of a job because the company closed its operations in Toronto. I guess I'm seeing the not-too-bright side of Canada."

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YVES KIMBO Lives in Niverville, Man. Emigrated from Congo in 2002 HIS STORY: "French is my first language, but arriving in Winnipeg, it did not help as much as I thought. I am really thankful for the Manitoba's government. My course was completely paid for and it was at the Red River College. Full-time and intensive. That was something that I still believe helped me the most to integrate and become a successful person."

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FELIPE MENDES Lives in Toronto Emigrated from Brazil in 2008 HIS STORY: "I had visited Canada in 2004, when people were celebrating the government's decision to allow same-sex marriage across the whole country. That left an image in my head that my life here would be much better, since I could be open about being gay."

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IRYNA PAVLOVA Lives in Mississauga Emigrated from Ukraine in 2001 HER STORY: "I had just graduated with a bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature and had three years of ESL teaching experience at the time I applied to immigrate. I was told that I needed to have a minimum of three years of work experience to be considered as an applicant. So I worked for three years and then applied again. I waited for my immigration visa for two years and I was granted one in the fall of 2000. It was the happiest day of my life."

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SOFIA PRADA Lives in Ottawa Emigrated from Colombia in 2004 HER STORY: "Employers are not comfortable with the lack of Canadian experience. But how are we supposed to get the experience if they do not give us the opportunity to start?"

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WALID SHARIF Lives in Toronto Emigrated from Afghanistan in 1993 HIS STORY: "Canada has given me and my family the freedom to live a normal life without the fear of war."

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FREDRIC SURESH Lives in Milton, Ont. Emigrated from India in 1996 HIS STORY: "I am an engineer by training but I had great difficulty in landing a job. I decided to change fields and went to York University to become a teacher. I now teach high school math and I absolutely enjoy my job."

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