53 episodes

The Immigrants of Toronto podcast is a place to listen to stories of immigration from people who, at any point in time, decided to call Toronto their home.

You will find stories from people that just arrived, or also from others who have been living here most of their lives. But all these people share something in common, they were born somewhere else in the world, and now live in Toronto.

So if you're curious to listen to what the life of an immigrant is, you're in the right place.

Learn more about the project at immigrantsoftoronto.com

Immigrants of Toronto Oscar Cecena

    • Documentary
    • 5.0 • 17 Ratings

The Immigrants of Toronto podcast is a place to listen to stories of immigration from people who, at any point in time, decided to call Toronto their home.

You will find stories from people that just arrived, or also from others who have been living here most of their lives. But all these people share something in common, they were born somewhere else in the world, and now live in Toronto.

So if you're curious to listen to what the life of an immigrant is, you're in the right place.

Learn more about the project at immigrantsoftoronto.com

    Ep #46: That First Year (with Alma Arzate)

    Ep #46: That First Year (with Alma Arzate)

    In this episode, Oscar Cecena interviews Alma Arzate. She moved from Mexico to Canada in 2007 and she'll be talking about her experience, especially the first year in Toronto.







    Subscribe to the Podcast







    If you enjoyed listening to this episode, don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. And make sure to follow the show on Instagram and LinkedIn.







    Lastly, if you’re an immigrant and you want to share your story on the show, go to immigrantsoftoronto.com/join and fill out the form. I’ll be in touch shortly after receiving your submission.







    Thanks for listening, I’m Oscar Cecena and this is Immigrants of Toronto.







    Learn more about Alma Arzate















    Alma Arzate is currently a Global Director, Supply Planning at Apotex Inc. Alma has over two decades of broad experience across global supply chain and operations in the Automotive, Electronics, Medical Devices, Consumer Packaged Goods and Pharmaceutical industries, which she leverages every day to support multiple supply chain, education, women and immigrant-related initiatives.







    Despite her sometimes hectic schedule, Alma volunteers extensively as a keynote speaker and panelist for many Universities, Colleges, Associations, and Canadian Immigrant Settlement Organizations. Alma’s hope is that her audience will relate to her, learn from her journey and the many obstacles she has had to overcome to find her voice and be recognized as a leader in male dominated industries and professions, and through ongoing dialogue, they will also be inspired to find ways to continue to persevere, achieve their own dreams, and become the best version of themselves. Alma’s story was shared on the cover of the April 2020 edition of Canadian Immigrant magazine, as part of their “Immigrant Women of Inspiration” special.







    Due to Alma’s business achievements and extensive altruism, she has been recognized by many organizations. In 2019, Alma was selected by Supply Chain Canada as part of their first-ever Top 100 Most Influential Women in Canadian Supply Chain. Her story was shared on the cover of the October 2019 edition of “Supply Professional” magazine. Alma was one of the top finalists of the 12th. annual RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards in 2020. Alma was the winner of the 2020 Woman of Inspiration Awards issued by the Universal Womens Network (UWN) under the category of Authentic Leader, and she was a finalist of the 2020 Woman in Leadership Awards under the categories of Organizational Leader and Inspirational Leader, by the Customer Service Professionals Network (CSPN).







    Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, Alma relocated with her family to Canada in 2007.

    • 31 min
    Ep #45: How to survive a Canadian Winter under COVID

    Ep #45: How to survive a Canadian Winter under COVID

    Today I’ll be sharing a couple of things on how to survive a Canadian Winter under COVID.















    This winter is going to be different than all the ones I’ve lived through before. Here in Toronto, we just started a new lockdown, which means that I won’t be doing most things that I used to do during the winter to keep me sane.







    As an immigrant, the Canadian winter can be challenging. And there are a few things that we need to be aware of:







    * First, it’s cold. So unless you moved from Siberia, you’ll find that North American winters are freezing.* Second, the days are shorter. Even now, it’s getting dark around 5 PM. The bad news is that they’ll continue getting shorter until the winter solstice, but the good news is that they’ll slowly become longer and longer after it.* And Third, COVID. Yes, that thing that essentially defined 2020. This one is particular to this winter (hopefully only for this winter), but then again, it’s so crucial that I need to talk about it







    So, in a regular winter, you will only worry about the first two. But this time, we really need to think about the third one as well.







    Winter weather







    Okay, so let’s start with the easy part: the cold weather. There are a couple of things you need to avoid. One is thinking that winter in Toronto is like winter in the mountains. I’ve seen people wearing snow pants to go for dinner during the winter, you honestly don’t need that. You also want to avoid going to the other extreme, thinking that winter here is like a regular winter in a warmer country. I was one of those on my first winter, I wore Converse for the first half of the season, thinking that it wasn’t going to get colder and I didn’t need winter boots. Spoiler alert! It did get cold, and I ended up buying winter boots. So, yeah, don’t be like me and get a pair of good warm boots. They can be expensive but, trust me, it’s totally worth it.







    Another thing you need to keep in mind for the winter is how to dress up. Layers are your friends. So what happens is that even though it’s cold outside, when you jump into the subway or a streetcar, with the controlled heat on them, it gets less cold but not warm enough to take off all your clothes. So, if you have a big-super-warm-jacket, you’ll be fine outdoors, but as soon as you step indoors, you’re going to get hot, start sweating, and you don’t want that either.







    You do want to get a warm jacket, don’t get me wrong. But you want to wear a sweater (or two) below it just in case.







    A warm hat is also super useful. If you don’t like to mess up your hair (which the hat will, 100%), at least get some earmuffs to cover your ears. A scarf is also useful. I don’t really wear them unless it’s like super-super cold, but I’m more like the exception. Most people wear them as soon as the weather drops below 5-10 Celsius.







    Gloves are essential. Your hands will thank you. So, your hands have very little fat and countless nerves that we use for our touch sense, so it hurts because they’re there. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you can walk in the cold with an uncovered face, but as soon as you expose your hands, it starts hurting.







    Anyway, we’ve covered boots, jackets, layers, hats, gloves, scarves. I mean, there are other things that some people use, like long johns (which is basically thermal underwear pants), but I’ve never worn them, and I know very few people that do. So, unless your legs get extremely cold, I don’t think it’s necessary.







    The short days







    While the cold weather impacts your body more than anything, the short days also have a toll on your mood. And most of it is related to the lack of vitamin D.

    • 9 min
    Ep #44: Taking advantage of a bridging program

    Ep #44: Taking advantage of a bridging program

    In this episode, Oscar Cecena interviews Anjali Rego. She talks about her experience doing a bridging program and how it benefited her career.







    Subscribe to the Podcast







    If you enjoyed listening to this episode, don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. And make sure to follow the show on Instagram and LinkedIn.







    Lastly, if you’re an immigrant and you want to share your story on the show, go to immigrantsoftoronto.com/join and fill out the form. I’ll be in touch shortly after receiving your submission.







    Thanks for listening, I’m Oscar Cecena and this is Immigrants of Toronto.







    Learn more about Anjali Rego















    Anjali has worked in journalism and corporate communications in the UK and in India.







    Working across geographies in an international environment has taught her to find unique opportunities in developing and packaging content for a diverse range of audiences.







    Pushing herself out of her comfort zone twice, to the UK and to Canada helped her adapt and thrive in new environments.







    Driven by curiosity, a passion for communications and a nose for news, she can turn conversations into compelling stories. The pace of the industry and the newness of each day makes this profession worthwhile. She gets an opportunity to write every day and her work helps executives and organizations convey their vision and values in a clear and engaging way.







    Get in touch with Anjali







    * LinkedIn

    • 26 min
    Ep #43: Remembrance Day Special

    Ep #43: Remembrance Day Special

    In this special episode, Oscar Cecena and Rodrigo Königs talk about Remembrance Day. The meaning of the tradition for immigrants, and share some stories of immigrants who fought for the Canadian Army during the Great War.







    For this episode, we went to Mount Hope Cemetery to visit the tombstones and record the stories of the people.















    You can listen to Rodrigo's immigration story as well, Episode #2: An Immigrant with a Canadian Passport.







    Subscribe to the Podcast







    If you enjoyed listening to this episode, don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. And make sure to follow the show on Instagram and LinkedIn.







    Lastly, if you’re an immigrant and you want to share your story on the show, go to immigrantsoftoronto.com/join and fill out the form. I’ll be in touch shortly after receiving your submission.







    Thanks for listening, I’m Oscar Cecena and this is Immigrants of Toronto.







    Find Century Flow on Facebook







    * Century Flow: Stories from the Great War

    • 37 min
    Ep #42: Expect for the best and be prepared for the worst

    Ep #42: Expect for the best and be prepared for the worst

    In this episode, Oscar Cecena interviews Mariana Gomez. She moved permanently from Colombia to Toronto after spending some time studying in Canada. Today she shares her experience so far.







    Subscribe to the Podcast







    If you enjoyed listening to this episode, don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. And make sure to follow the show on Instagram and LinkedIn.







    Lastly, if you’re an immigrant and you want to share your story on the show, go to immigrantsoftoronto.com/join and fill out the form. I’ll be in touch shortly after receiving your submission.







    Thanks for listening, I’m Oscar Cecena and this is Immigrants of Toronto.







    About Mariana Gomez





    Hi There! I am Mariana Gomez.

    I was born and raised in Colombia and moved to Canada over two years ago. My dream of living abroad started with a trip to New Zealand as a 17-year-old girl who wanted to challenge herself by moving to the other side of the world without speaking English.

    After discovering what this world has to offer, I set it as a long-term objective and started working towards that goal. Having completed my bachelor's in Business Administration in Colombia, I found an internship in Toronto – a stepping stone to make my dream come true. Although this was one of the hardest experiences of my life, it equipped me with the necessary tools to become a stronger and more determined womxn. Back then, I decided to pursue a postgraduate degree in International Business in Toronto – one of the best decisions of my life.

    Two years down the lane, I can say all the hard work is paying off! I am currently enrolled in the last semester of my academic program, working part-time for a start-up in the Marketing field and volunteering, both as a mentor and for a non-profit organization. I know there is still a long way to go, but I am excited to join the Canadian job market soon and see what life has in store for me!

    I am thrilled to share my story with you in this podcast, give you some tips, and remind you that you got this!

    PS: Feel free to reach out. I am happy to chat.





    Get in touch with Mariana







    * Instagram* LinkedIn

    • 30 min
    Ep #41: How to Build a Professional Network

    Ep #41: How to Build a Professional Network

    Today I’ll be giving some tips on how to build a professional network. So, if you’re curious about how it’s done, keep on listening!















    Let me start with my own experience. When I moved here I didn’t know anyone. My wife had a friend who had a friend living in Toronto, but it wasn’t anyone we’ve ever talked to or even met.







    To be honest, I had a small advantage. As I immigrated as a student, I automatically joined a group of people that were forced to see each other every day for a few hours, at least. So that helped. However, most college students are in their twenties, not mid-thirties as I was. So, while some of them were talking about going clubbing, I was thinking about grabbing a coffee after school and then head back home.







    So, I’m sure I’m pretty close to the perfect example of the worst-case scenario when you move to a new country.







    Building a professional network can be challenging







    Building a network, especially when you don’t even have a place to start can be challenging. In episode 37 I talked about building meaningful relationships and how they help as a newcomer so I’m not going to go into detail about how to do that.







    No, in today’s episode, I’ll be talking about building a professional network. Which, although they may be related, you may want to tackle them in different ways.







    For example, you will send a “Happy anniversary” message to your network when LinkedIn tells you that they’ve been at a job for a certain number of years. But, you will call your friends, your meaningful relationships, on their birthday.







    The thing is that your business network can be as big as you want it to be. While your close friends can, usually, be counted using your hands.







    There is so much to talk about on how to build a network, but, for the sake of time, I will focus on a high-level approach to it.







    Step 1: Define your objectives







    First of all, you need to have clear objectives about why you’re doing this. Ask yourself the question, why do I want a professional network? The key to the question is the verb “want,” it’s not “need,” it’s “want.” You are doing this because you want to, it’s your choice.







    Now, don’t answer something like “because I need a job” or “because everyone else is saying I need one.” There are many people out there that have gotten good jobs by applying through LinkedIn. I was one of them. And, even though it didn’t help me to get that job, I continued building it. And I continue doing it until this day.







    So, before you answer why you want a professional network, think about your priorities. Do you want to meet people to get a position within their team? Or are you meeting with people because you want advice from them? Or are you most interested in meeting like-minded people to bounce ideas off?







    There is no right or wrong answer, but each one of us has a different one. So, think about yours before you move to the next step.







    Step 2: Reach out to people







    This may be harder for some people. Especially if you’re not the outgoing type of person. However, what I’ve seen is that if you have a clear view of why you want to build a network, this step comes naturally.







    When we want something, we go for it. When you want to ask someone out, you do it. Even if every part of your body is giving you signals not to. You shake, you get butterflies in your stomach, you sweat, but, somehow, you manage to utter the words “would you go out with me?” And then,

    • 12 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 Ratings

Ehgirl79 ,

Story of unsung heroes of their own lives

I don’t do podcast (I just don’t do) but I quite enjoy this podcast because of the genuine storytelling. You can tell both Oscar, the interviewer and guests are real people and you can relate to their stories as an “ordinary person”. In many cases, social media tends to highlight people with “extraordinary job titles/accomplishments; however, this podcast focuses on those unsung heroes of their own lives, who have taken the roadless traveled. You can only imagine what it takes to be an immigrant/newcomer — I deeply appreciate their stories which truly make me feel humble and empowered, because I believe that those ordinary people are real change makers who shape the future of our community.

“A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things” - Barack Obama

Marcela Chein ,

A relatable podcast to immigrants

I like listening to the stories of different immigrants and realize that all of us share similar experiences while trying to adapt to a new life.

Jeffokoyee ,

Interesting stories

I'm an immigrant and I'm happy I found a place where I can listen to immigrants and their struggles because I went through the same ones when I arrived back in 1987. Very entertaining.

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