“Remember when one door closes another door will open,” says Naim Zeqiri
Back in his country, Kosovo, Naim had worked as a veterinarian, managing his own veterinary hospital for five years. In 2010 he moved to Canada to be closer to his wife’s family in Hamilton, but soon found out that he couldn’t practise as a veterinarian in Canada, before being accredited. However, Naim needed to learn English before he could go for his professional accreditation; and that was one of the most daunting challenges facing Naim.
“When I arrived here, I could not speak English at all. It was quite frustrating that I had to start from scratch,” says Naim. It seemed like a door had closed on him. But Naim wasn’t one to give up; he started working hard to open other doors to opportunities and build a successful life for his family in Canada.
“I was amazed and impressed to see the settlement services and programs available here,” says Naim. He joined the English language classes at St. Charles and College Boreal and participated in a bridging program with YWCA during the day. At night, Naim attended classes at Mohawk College and also signed up for assistance in finding a job at YMCA's CareerWorx.
All that hard work paid off. After spending more than a year learning English, Naim is proud to have passed the Canadian Academic Language exam. This was an important milestone for him, opening up the possibility of getting accredited to work as a veterinarian in Canada.
Naim now works as an animal care attendant at the City of Hamilton. He is registered with the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, a member of the Hamilton Academy of Veterinarian Medicine, and volunteers at SPCA, Dundas Animal Hospital and Stone Church Animal Clinic. His involvement with the community has helped him network with other veterinarians. Hamilton is now home for Naim.
“Hamilton’s multiculturalism and diversity makes me feel at home,” says Naim. “The people here are nice and value professionalism and community contributions. To move forward, newcomers should explore and take advantage of settlement services and program,” advises Naim.
Naim next plans to get accredited to work as a veterinarian in Canada. He knows that he will need to pass a series of examinations, but he is determined. Naim’s Hamilton story is inspiring other newcomers to actively seek out opportunities and to remember that when one door closes, other doors to opportunity can be opened.
Credits: An interview with Naim Zeqiri was first published by The Hamilton Spectator, as part of a series. The series was a joint initiative of the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council, Workforce Planning Hamilton and the City of Hamilton’s Immigrant Attraction Action Plan. Read the original interview here.