I'm Betty, I moved to Canada when I was nine years old with my family. We moved straight to Hamilton and I've lived in Hamilton ever since. I went to school here at university here and I built my career here as an accountant. I was born in Beijing China and I came to Canada when I was nine years old with my family. As a kid I don't think you understand what it means when your parents ask you would you want to move to a different country. So back then my parents described it as an exciting opportunity for me and my family, as well as, for my own future. As a nine-year-old I don't think I understood what the context of opportunity meant so it was hard for me to be excited because moving to a new country meant that I was giving up everything I would have ever known and a lot of that was the comfort and safety net of my hometown. So back to when I was in university I did ask my mom hey mom why did you choose Hamilton? At that time in university all my peers were making a critical life decision of where they want to be after graduation and for me I know wholeheartedly I wanted to be in Hamilton, but that made sense because I lived in Hamilton for the last 10 years and I knew exactly what to expect. I was intrigued why my mom chose Hamilton without ever setting foot in the city. She told me that she had always wanted to travel and move to Canada so she's done quite a bit of research. She really liked the geographic location of Hamilton. It was close to Toronto and the US border but it was distant enough so that it had its own small town charm which is what she really enjoyed. She loved the beauty of nature that’s scattered across Hamilton and you’ll often find my parents going on different hikes around the city and even after 20 years they’re still able to find new places to explore.
One of my first impressions of Hamilton was in my first day of school. As any kid that is very nerve wracking but as a new kid without knowing the language it was extremely intimidating. So I remember going and being introduced to the class. I was scanning across the room and I stopped and I was surprised to see another girl that looked like me. I didn’t know it back then but I think my teacher sat me beside her because we were both Chinese so give me that sense of comfort of my hometown and being able to express myself in class. Later that day I found out that in my class of about 30 to 35 students there were actually a total of four other Chinese girls and that was an instant relief for me because I had a group of people I can communicate with right away and of course we quickly became very good friends. Back then Hamilton was diverse enough for me to have that first group of friends. I think we bonded over a special relationship because we all had the same experience of being able to recently immigrate to Canada. And during the holidays when people were getting together with their families their aunts uncles and grandparents the five of our families gathered together because we had no other family other than our immediate family and that was our extended family back then. So even to this day the tradition still lives on and we’re able to celebrate all the major holidays together like Thanksgiving and Chinese New Years.
I'm really proud to build my career in Hamilton and be able to give back to this community that has seen me through many milestones. I work in accounting and I started at an accounting firm downtown Hamilton and I recently transferred to the healthcare sector so again giving back to the community within Hamilton. As part of getting your CPA designation you need to pass an exam that's three days and it serves to test your cumulative knowledge of accounting. And it was definitely stressful but passing my exam and getting my designation was my first major career milestone. So this exam back then I felt many days of stress uncertainty and just not knowing whether I'm able to do it, but I wouldn't have been able to have done it without the coaching that I received at my firm. And back then that valued mentorship helped ignite my own passion of being able to give back to the community and help others succeed.
Hamilton to me means it's a place of growth. And immigration in itself is a very challenging process so those that have done so have some of the hardest work ethics I've ever seen. So what that means to me is with those resiliency that they have they're able to find opportunities no matter what their background is whether it means they're leveraging their existing skills or learning a new one.
Hamilton to me is a place of growth.
As a nine year old, Betty’s childhood and future would change forever when her family decided to leave their comfortable life in Beijing, China to embark on a new adventure in Hamilton, Ontario. Meeting the poised, confident, and ambitious young woman now, one might never have known about her childhood difficulties adjusting to a new language, school system and culture.
From making close childhood friendships with fellow immigrant children in her first few days of school to learning from her own immigrant parents' example, Betty was able to quickly adjust and thrive to her new Canadian environment. Now, a successful accountant working in the healthcare industry. Betty continuously looks for ways to give back to the community through mentorship and innovation.
From elementary, high school and University to post-grad life, Hamilton has been the place where Betty has made a name and home for herself.
Children make up a significant proportion of immigrants who come to Canada. One in four immigrants living in Canada arrived here when they were 15 or younger. Sometimes referred to as the “1.5 generation” because of their upbringing between two distinct cultures, children have different immigration and integration experiences than their parents and other adult immigrants:
- Coming to Canada at a young age means that some immigrant children may feel a sense of identity confusion as they navigate their cultural and linguistic heritage with the dominant culture in Canada.
- Some immigrant children face role reversal, where they act as interpreters or service navigators for their parents, which can impact their educational and personal development.
- However, research shows that generally, immigrant children in Canada have positive educational and labour market outcomes during adulthood.
- Children of immigrants (1.5 and second generation) have slightly higher rates of completing both secondary and postsecondary education than their Canadian-born peers.
- Factors such as participation in the Canadian education system and official language proficiency help immigrant children earn wages similar to those of their Canadian-born peers during adulthood.