I will never forget my first day in my new country. April in Edmonton was freezing compared to Rwanda. I wondered if I would ever enjoy Canada due to the weather and the fact that everything was new. I seemed to be in a new world. But after a few winters, the snow I used to dislike turned into the snow I now like for skiing.

I am a young woman and an immigrant from Rwanda. Living in Canada since 2013 has been a life-changing experience, something I celebrate every July 1 on Canada Day.

Nadine Uwimana (pictured) will soon be writing the Canadian citizenship test. | Supplied

My first Canada Day celebrations were downtown at City Hall. All I could see were people from different nations waving their little Canadian flags. Everyone was so happy! To my new Canadian eyes, the crowd looked like a garden of different flowers. After the celebrations, we all shared foods from different cultures.

I consider myself lucky to live in Canada; it’s an opportunity many people in my birth country of Rwanda wish to have.

Nadine Uwimana (pictured) is grateful for her new country. | Supplied

Here are some of the great things and opportunities I found in Canada:  

Education: In Canada, everyone has access to education. Even when you don’t have enough money, many people have access to student loans. Not all countries offer student loans. Plus, there are some free short programs at Edmonton Public Library and elsewhere that you can take to help you get a job. Those programs are not available everywhere in the world. I’m grateful I am getting an education at the Concordia University of Edmonton.

Healthcare: We have access to healthcare in Canada. You do not have to die alone in despair in your home due to lack of medical treatment. There are many countries where you may end up suffering if you don’t have cash or a job with healthcare insurance.

A peaceful country: We have a low crime rate, with no wars and no election fights like the ones that happen in other countries.

Bilingual nation: Canada is a bilingual country, with French and English its official languages. Canada encourages its citizens to be bilingual.

Accepting citizens: I have noticed Canadians are accepting and not judgmental compared to other countries. Canadians open their hearts for many causes and offer great hospitality.

Manners: Canadians are polite. When I enter a store, someone is already holding the door for me. I love it! But people say sorry too much!        

All of those reasons make Canada a beautiful place. And of course, this country has amazing landscapes and places for adventures and fun.

I will be writing the Canadian citizenship test soon. The questions go deep into Canadian history, laws, and traditions. When I study for the test, I’m benefiting by learning so much more about Canada.  By the end of this year, I will officially become a Canadian citizen. I feel grateful for Canada, my precious new home.

Featured Image: Nadine Uwimana (pictured) has learned Canada has lots of positive things to offer. | Supplied