Your heritage is an important part of who you are. Celebrate it!

Published June 2, 2021.

Finding ways to keep your heritage alive in a foreign country can be challenging when you are also trying to fit in, navigate cultural integration and establish yourself in a new country. But it can also give you a sense of grounding and support, which are essential to maintaining your mental health as you work towards your career development goals.

This month, Windmill Microlending is shining a spotlight on stories that celebrate the unique heritage of our clients, partners and Windmill employees, and our shared commitment to supporting each other’s happiness and success.  

In this blog post, three of our team members share their heritage and how keeping it alive has helped them.

Sanaya Italia, Intake Specialist

Sanaya Italia, Windmill’s intake specialist values how festivities bring family and friends together to celebrate and appreciate one another. “A big part of my Indian heritage is the celebration of our multitude of festivals. What I value the most is not just the uniqueness of each festival (for instance, Diwali is the celebration of lights while Holi is the celebration of colour), but that these festivals bring family and friends together,” she says.

Sanaya is intentional about observing holidays the same way she would have back home. “After moving to Canada, I have really tried my best to keep my heritage alive. I always decorate my house with flowers and lights. For each festival, I buy a new plant for my house in Canada as a symbol of bringing in a new family member and making them a part of my home. I also cook a famous Indian dish and have some close friends over to celebrate,” she says.

During the pandemic, Sanaya has kept family and friends connected by planning Zoom calls, virtual games and parties on special occasions so everyone can continue to celebrate with one another – even during tough times. She’s also kept her family tradition of donating to the less fortunate so they too can enjoy special holidays with the community.

Jahnavi Joshi, Loan Manager

When Windmill’s Loan Manager Jahnavi Joshi moved to Canada in 2004 with her husband and their two young children, they brought their values with them: vegetarianism, family time, honesty, hard-work, love, celebration, respect and support. They also brought their parents!

“We invited our parents to stay with us for a year when our children were very young. Because we were busy with work, our parents were a great influence on our children and helped pass on our values and culture to the next generation,” she says. Now, Jahnavi and her family make it a point to travel back to India every two to three years. Keeping a regular connection to home is a great way to keep your heritage alive.

Onai Abote, former Strategic Content Specialist

“I love adorning my African attire once in a while. Wearing my head-wrap makes me feel connected to my home, and cooking my favorite meals always has the best effect on me,” says Onai Abote, Windmill’s former strategic content specialist. “No matter how I’m feeling, having a replica meal from back home always brightens my day!”

Onai also values the relationships she has with her extended family and the different roles they each play at the different points in her life. “My extended family plays a big role in keeping my heritage alive. My sister speaks to me in our native tongue and for my children, their grandparents tell them traditional stories about their homeland (Zimbabwe).”

Keeping your heritage alive in a foreign country can be challenging, especially if you have young children who may have a different bond with your home country. There are simple things you can do to celebrate what defines you. Try listening to music and watching shows in your native language, speaking with relatives back home, cooking your favourite dish or playing your favourite sports and games. This will give you a sense of comfort and well-being, and solid foundation from which to work towards your career advancement goals.

However you choose to celebrate your heritage, we hope you find unique ways to keep it alive today and every day. Zoom parties, virtual games and other creative ways can bring family, friends and community together.

See related: How keeping your heritage alive can help you achieve career success: A word from our partners

Join us throughout June as we celebrate the unique heritage of our clients and partners, and the many ways immigration has benefitted our community, our economy and our country.

Categorized in: A Newcomer's Journey, Settlement and Life in Canada, Newcomer Health and Wellness,