Help a Chinese immigrant in Vancouver
February 3, 2010 8:43 PM   Subscribe

A friend has just moved from mainland China to Vancouver, BC. Her English is pretty good, but not perfect (she speaks Mandarin). Her only work experience is in teaching. I'm at the other end of the country, in Ontario, and want to do what I can to help her integrate and find work, but am hindered by my location and complete lack of immigration experience/knowledge. What helpful advice, tips, and resources can you share with her?
posted by Robot Johnny to Society & Culture (5 answers total)
Best answer: She will have no problem in Vancouver. 23% of the population in Vancouver is Chinese, and that number goes up to 40% in Richmond (a neighboring suburb). If she's in Richmond, she doesn't even need English, there are entire malls (and every other service imaginable) that are dedicated to the Chinese population. In fact, it might actually be harder to find English in some areas than Mandarin/Cantonese.

I don't have any real advice regarding immigration and all that, but she'll be fine; there are plenty of resources around. And tell her to head to Richmond if she's feeling a little homesick, but I'm guessing she'll figure that out pretty quickly on her own.
posted by cgg at 9:01 PM on February 3, 2010

I am in Seattle but the following advice should apply to Vancouver BC. She can improve her English (usually for free) through the local literacy organization and by taking ESL (English as a Second Language) classes at the local college. There is a pretty big Chinatown in VBC which should allow her to network and find work. She will want to check and see how her degree will transfer if she wants to be a teacher but should also avertise herself as a tutor for Mandarin (everyone wants to learn Mandarin these days!). Volunteering will also give her a foot in the door--it will give her something to put on her resume as well as introduce her to Canadian customs and culture.
posted by MsKim at 9:02 PM on February 3, 2010

Best answer: Many people live in Vancouver without ever learning English. However, one of the best known (and best networked) groups for Chinese immigrants is SUCCESS. They've got programs coming out the wazoo. I'd made that my first phone call if I were her.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:29 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: These people may be able to help...
posted by chromatist at 10:26 PM on February 3, 2010

Totally SUCCESS (uh, a relative used to be a board member, but he was outed as an opus dei, and left, but the program is sound).

Also, her background in teaching - is she willing to work with autistic kids? BC provincial gov gives families of autistic kids a stipend every month ($2500?) to hire people to `relieve parents` - she doesn`t need certification or anything. Strange, no? but if she`s interested, I can ask my mom (who`d earned a bunch of money from this program - it seems like a lots of Cantonese and Mandarin speaking families are underserved, or are looking for people who speak Chinese) for the particulars.

It`s hard fricken work, though, but there`s a good level of demand. Given her background in teaching,l ike my mom, she could command a better per hour than someone random.

But it sounds like it`s HARD fricken work.
posted by porpoise at 3:45 AM on February 4, 2010

« Older Should I go with bullhorn handlebars?   |   This fat lady ain't singin Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.