Monday, January 18, 2021
Immigrant Stories

Meet the Sandhar Family

By Petrina D'Souza, 18 Sep, 2019

    "Your initial path may be difficult – but that is because of the challenge not because you are not capable!"

    Jatinder Sandhar is a CPA, Entrepreneur

    Puneet Sandhar is a lawyer and a managing partner

    Kirpa Kaur Sandhar & Daya Kaur Sandhar are seven and three years old


    When Jatinder and Puneet Sandhar began planning their future together, they realized that Canada was the ideal country to start a new beginning as a family. “We realized that Canada is a country that not only would provide better opportunities for us but for our next generation as well. This is a land of equal opportunities for all. The things that a lot of us are able to do and accomplish here would not be possible in so many countries around the world,” states Puneet, who is proud of their decision to migrate to Canada from Punjab, India, in 2002.

    Like most immigrants, Jatinder and Puneet faced a set of challenges – the biggest among them was adjusting to their new surroundings. “I moved to Canada when I was 24. I had left behind all my family, my friends and a culture I understood and grew up in; and came to a place that was totally new to me, with limited family and a culture that I had to learn and adopt. So, the challenge for me was making this adjustment, while trying to upgrade my education and working at the same time,” recalls Puneet.

    The welcoming nature of Canadians, however, made the transition smoother for Puneet. “It is this warmth that helped me get though the initial challenges of my new life in Canada. This gave me the realization how important it was to give back to the community and help others succeed.” Puneet’s first job at a call centre for a phone company helped her meet new friends, better understand the culture, the speaking styles and customs of Canadians.

    Getting that first job was not easy, mentions Puneet “You don’t have the ‘Canadian experience’ that most employers expect. At the same time being a new immigrant, I wanted to be self-sufficient as soon as possible.” She adds that her parents being professors themselves, taught Puneet the importance of having a good education. “So I knew right away when I arrived that I had to go through re-accreditation to start practicing law in Canada. I did this while working at a call centre – anytime you’re working and studying at the same time it can be a challenge to find that balance,” says the co-partner of Sanghera Sandhar Law Group, who was fortunate to have met people who judged her on the knowledge and capability she brought and gave her the opportunities that helped build the first steps of her career path.

    What makes the couple “proud to be Canadian is how truly open we are to the world. We’re not a country that just talks about diversity and multiculturalism, we live it every day. You can see it when you drive around Surrey, or at all the different restaurants we have with cuisine from around the world, or how easy it is to practice your faith.” Jatinder and Puneet see a future where they continue to work hard on their career and business, support their surrounding community and ensure their daughters have everything they need to live a happy and satisfying life. Describing her journey in Canada, Puneet says, “It’s been beyond belief, the opportunities and achievements I have had is well-beyond anything I had imagined for myself. This truly is a country where anything is possible.”

    Advice for immigrants:

    When you’re an immigrant, you face a unique set of challenges because you are balancing the background you bring from your place of birth and the new cultural norms of the country you’ve moved to. That can be language, your views on issues, or career difficulties.

    Through all of that, there are two things that can make a significant difference in easing the challenges. First, it’s important to understand your surrounding community. When you do that, you will gain new insight into how things work and how you can make it work for you. Second, to be able to succeed in a new country – never quit. You can’t let the challenges demotivate or distract you from the goals you have for yourself. The only way to realize them is by never confusing challenges with incapability. Your initial path may be difficult – but that is because of the challenge not because you are not capable!

    Memories of your homeland:

    Memories of homeland are more of memories of childhood. Wandering around with childhood friends, not having the care in the world and enjoying every moment…..this is one thing we all have stopped feeling in today’s world.

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    Be prepared to take up any type of work initially to get established in the new country. Take courses through night school to advance one’s choice of skills. I encourage others to volunteer to stay active in mind and body, make connections and continue to learn. Work hard and try not to get discouraged as Canada is a wonderful country and an opportunity to move forward.

    Meet the Kumar family

    It was work that brought Praveen Kumar Vijaykumar and his wife Reshmi Vishwanath to Canada in 2012.

    Meet the Bhan Family

    Like most immigrants, the Bhans faced two major challenges on moving here – dealing with the weather and finding a job.

    Meet the Nair Family

    Meet the Nair Family
    It’s been 20 years in Canada for the Nairs and they describe is at being “absolutely wonderful.” Reminiscing on their journey, Domani believes they have come a long way since 1996. “We have no regrets moving here. We were able to sponsor my parents here from Bangalore [now Bengaluru] in 2000 and having them live with us was of great help when our daughters were born.”

    Meet the Chopra Family

    The family’s initial impression on moving to Toronto was unpleasant. The extremely cold weather de-motivated them to explore the city. It was their move to British Columbia a few weeks later that lifted their spirits. “I fell in love with this place immediately. The weather was perfect and this place felt more like home,” Sanjay recalls.

    Meet the Doda family

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    Before moving to Canada, the couple did some research on the country and the opportunities it provides to new immigrants. “My husband worked with US and Canadian clients in India and was aware of the demand of Healthcare IT professionals in North America,” recalls Navjot