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Forums ask community to walk in an immigrant’s shoes

If you walk into The Immigrant Welcome Centre’s Welcoming Communities Coalition’s forum in November, you will be given a nametag with someone else’s name. This pseudonym will be accompanied by a card that shares a piece of an immigrant’s story about settling in the North Island. That card will be just the start of a journey to find and access the services you need to help you settle successfully in your new hometown.

“There are so many pieces involved in settling in a new country. When you look for a job, is your international education recognized here? Do you want to access English language classes? How will you make friends?” Coalition coordinator Julie Keumbehdjian says.

“We hope this experience will help local residents and service providers gain better insight to the challenges of being a newcomer in a place where the culture and language may not be familiar, or where your status as a resident is not always certain.”

As they go through the stations, participants may also learn about community services and organizations that they were previously unaware of. After going through the story cards, everyone will come together and discuss what they experienced around coffee and tea.

“There will be a chance for meaningful discussion around what surprised people, what challenges stood out, and how we as a community can collaborate and make changes going forward,” Keumbehdjian says. “The goal is to create welcoming and inclusive communities where everyone feels welcome, no matter where they come from.”

The public is invited to register in advance online for free – there will be a forum in both Campbell River and Courtenay.

Anyone who is interested in more information about the forum can contact Coalition coordinator Julie Keumbehdjian at or call 250-338-6359.

Campbell River Community Forum – there will be refreshments and draw prizes!
When: Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2 to 4 p.m.
Where: Robron Centre (740 Robron Road)
Register at:

Comox Valley Community Forum – the first 40 people to register will get a $5 token to the Farmers’ Market upstairs!
When: Saturday, Nov. 18, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Where: Native Sons Hall Lodge Room (downstairs, 360 Cliffe Ave.)
Register at: 

Immigrant Welcome Centre
Immigrant Welcome Centre

We provide free specialized services for immigrants, refugees and newcomers in Campbell River, the Comox Valley, and northern Vancouver Island.

Immigrant Welcome Centre

Free Professional Services for Immigrants & Newcomers in Courtenay, Comox, Campbell River and northern Vancouver Island.