Om Sharma

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Adjusting to Life in Canada


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Om was a teacher in New Delhi before he came to Canada. In this clip, he explains the difficulties of adjustment to Canadian life, especially the prejudice he experienced.

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Om is a retired teacher of 35 years. He is past President of the Indo-Canadian Association of Nova Scotia and is an active volunteer in his community.


Om Sharma a pris sa retraite de l'enseignement après 35 ans de services. Il a assumé la présidence de l'Association indo-canadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse et se consacre activement au bénévolat dans sa communauté.


Hello, I’m Om Sharma, and I came from New Delhi, India. I was teaching in junior high school in Delhi. I was thinking of migrating to North America when I met one of my friends who told me that Canada was looking for teaching positions and he gave me some advice.

I applied to High Commission in New Delhi and got accepted in the interview. I made preparations for a passport and visa. The Department of Education in Halifax accepted my credentials and issued the teaching license.

I left India on August the first, 1967. The journey was very exciting because it was my first air travel, and I had big expectations and dreams. From airport to Pier 21 by bus was very fascinating. The landscape, the open fields, the beautiful highway – all added to my happiness.

I found the adjustment in a new place was extremely difficult. I got a job at Duncan MacMillan High School. A small rural place – a very scattered community.

Prejudice was the biggest problem. People were not used to foreigners, and for that matter they were in their own cliques. The weather was very harsh. This was my first time to see the snow, and snow storms were so early, on the seventh of September, as soon as the schools opened. People mostly talk about weather, “Not too bad, not too bad,” was a common expression.

It’s not how much you know, rather how you get across to your students. As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” I started taking summer school and university courses to prepare myself for the challenge. It all helped a lot. Slowly but surely, everything fell into place.

Canada means a lot to me. It is my home for thirty-seven years. I feel very comfortable, useful and productive. I feel a very proud Canadian. I’m glad I made the right choice, and I help this country, and the students, and the people I came across when I met them. I think this is one of the best countries, where all the multicultures are growing and working together. Such a peaceful place. If there ever is a paradise, here it is, here it is, here it is.