“As a newcomer, when I first arrived, I did not know what to do,” says Nan. “Dandan Wang, my Employment Counsellor at Newcomers Association helped to reorganize my resume, and showed me useful websites such as the Job Bank. We investigated companies on PEI that were in my industry, like Sun Life Financial. My English is good, so I took interpreter training and I do that for the PEI ANC. I also participated in the Employment Workshop offered by ANC on Canadian workplace culture. I studied for two months for an exam to upgrade my insurance credentials to Canadian ones. Now I am an insurance agent in a pre-contract program with Sun Life.
Living on PEI exceeds my expectations. It is not a big place, but I like that. I love the clean air and the friendly people. The weather is so nice, even though the snow was so deep last year! I went to DiverseCity Festival and was so impressed and surprised with how big it was, and how much fun. My parents were visiting and they were amazed that this festival was on a tiny Island. We went to the Summerside festival also.
As a PNP client, I had a short time to invest in a business, buy, or start a business. In China my husband was a General Insurance Re-insurance agent. Neither of us had experience in retail but we did know the products Chinese like to eat and cook. I saw there was a Chinese specialty store for sale and we purchased it. Immigrants can adapt to change, but everyone likes to eat the food and dishes they grew up eating in their homes!”
Dandan Wang says, “Nan is a smart and skilled young woman. She attended the Alternate Career Event organized here at the Association to look at new careers. She also obtained her license to sell insurance in Canada. Just this August, Nan opened her own business with her husband Zhihui Tong—the Chinese Grocery at 237 University Avenue in Charlottetown. I believe Nan has the ability to attain her dreams.”
Chen goes on with her story. “There are several Asian food stores here. But competition is ok! We want to build something that is good for customers. Island people know of some Chinese products that they like, and they come in and shop too. If our store provides products for Chinese Islanders so they can buy what they need right here, maybe they will stay and help this Island. This is a sort of obligation we have, to be part of helping PEI, our new home, prosper.”