Intercultural studies 

ANG 160 Fall 2005

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Multicultural in the region of Sherbrooke

by Katja Sasanega

For decades, Canada has been known for its diverse ethnic population. Its cities are populated by people from all around the world. Even Canadians know that they are not pure Canadians. In the small town called Sherbrooke, in the Eastern Townships region, you can find all kinds of ethnic groups: Quebecois, Irish, Scottish, Italian, Yugoslav, Afghan, Spanish, etc. They all live together in this city that is being populated by more than 150 000 people. Some of these ethnic groups, mentioned above, have emerged only at the beginning of the year 2000.  The city of Sheberooke is a small city, which is why these nations are being recognized easily in our streets.

 

These nations came to Canada or to Sherbrooke in particular, because they could not live safely in their own countries. The question is not why they came but can they integrate and live normally among Canadians? That is when the multiculturalism of a region comes in to play a big role in the integration of its immigrants. I think that the two universities that we have in the region of Sherbrooke play a big role in our city’s multiculturalism. Exchange students are always welcome and that inserts diversity among our students. This way, we get to know other cultures because often these people become our classmates and even our friends.

 

Being an immigrant myself, I know how it can sometimes be difficult to integrate. Personally, I think that it is easier to be an immigrant in Toronto or in Montreal than it is in Sherbrooke. From personal experience, people here are a bit reluctant and not open when it comes to different cultures. When I came here with my family, it was not easy and people were sometimes looking at as though if we came from another planet. Even if our skin color was the same as theirs, still they saw a difference. Little by little, people who were born here got used to different cultures because the number of immigrants has increased during the past five years. War in Afghanistan brought a large number of Afghani people to Canada and to Sherbrooke, war in Yugoslavia and in Salvador had the same effect on our city’s population.

 

            Another important point is that while being a multicultural society, we need to make those people feel welcome. In many cases they did not come here because they wanted to but because they were obliged to. From what I have seen in Sherbrooke, immigrants have their communities and they stick with each other and that helps a lot. It is important to be well with Native people from the region but there is a need to have a friend that was once in your situation that can offer you some help. Often help is needed when looking for a job because in Sherbrooke it can sometimes be hard to find a job even for a Canadian and even more difficult for a newcomer.

 

All in all, Sherbrooke is a little city but with many cultures. Its population is getting used to having immigrants and that is a great start. The city is helping communities financially as well as morally and that makes the newcomers feel welcome in the city. As an immigrant myself, I am proud of my new city, the city of Sherbrooke.

REFERENCES

http://www40.statcan.ca/l02/cst01/demo27f_f.htm?sdi=sherbrooke  (Statistics Canada)