Meet CAP Alumnus Kristina Pandilovska
My name is Kristina Pandilovska and I came to Canada 9 years ago, in November of 2008. I came from Macedonia, a very small but beautiful country located in the Eastern Europe. My journey wasn’t always smooth and easy but I could certainly say that I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
I was brought here along side my brother by my fathers initiative and effort, who was already living and working in Toronto. When I first arrived, I was 18 years old and my brother was 13. I remember being amazed by the size of the highways, buildings and shopping centers, but overall I disliked everything about this new place. I had left all my life in Macedonia, including my mother. I was feeling lost and it just didn’t feel like home to me yet. I was visiting back home [in Macedonia] every summer and I would stay there for up to 4-5 months, and when I came back, it was another beginning again.
I want to raise awareness for all the people and children that are going through the same thing [that I went through]. Growing up in a foreign country without one of your primary caregivers or family can be a very challenging experience, especially through such a tremendous transition.
So my process of becoming a citizen was prolonged every year. It took me a long time actually. But, everyone grows at their own pace; we are all different and that is one of the things I started to cherish the most here [in Canada] – the diversity and unity of the people and cultures.
I finally earned the right to officially become a Canadian citizen in May, 2016. I can’t believe how lucky I am to live, study, work and grow in a fast developing country full of potential and opportunities. My goals and responsibilities have now changed and become bigger because I learned to dream big.
My brother, Filip, and I spent a great time bonding, using our Cultural Access Passes to visit places such as the Royal Ontario Museum. I can now say that I am in love with Toronto. I like to visit galleries, museums and take night-time strolls downtown and look at all the lights. I actually volunteered in a movie about the celebration of new Canadians [in Toronto].
I am a proud dual citizen of the world and I am happy Canada is my home now where I feel safe, supported, inspired and abundant in any way of my life. My advice to new Canadians is to never give up. It might feel overwhelming at the beginning, but don’t time yourself. Your dreams are worth the patience and the faith, and this country can provide you with the tools to go and get your life in your own hands.
About CAP: For nearly 10 years, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) has delivered the Cultural Access Pass (CAP), an innovative, best-in-class program that gives new citizens access to Canadian culture. It’s time to shift CAP to the digital age. Support the ICC.
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