Samer Oubed — a refugee who arrived in Calgary three months ago with his wife and two boys — has spent the last three months struggling to find a job despite his degree in economics and accounting, and his ten years of management experience.
As with many other Calgarians, the deep oil slump has dampened Oubed's employment prospects.
"Before I came to here, I thought I can find a job because I have many qualifications, but unfortunately the economic situation in Calgary and all of Alberta is so hard," he said.
But unlike most Calgarians, Oubed has the added challenge of adapting to a new culture, language and way of life.
On Tuesday, the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society hosted a networking event to help immigrant and refugee newcomers like Oubed write resumes and hone interview skills.
"They're scared," said organizer Olivia Rocskar.
"They're saying, 'Why isn't my technical skill enough?' It's not. It isn't enough," she said.
"To tell somebody that you have to change after 20, 30 years of doing things a certain way in order to succeed is really tough," she said.
"It's a hard lesson, but it's an important lesson. I think the people in this room are the ones that are putting it into practice."
Oubed said he's holding out hope that oil prices will continue to rise, and that job prospects will improve as they do.
In the mean time, he and his wife will continue taking classes to improve their English language skills.
"It's wonderful to meet people, to discuss with them, to know about their experience in Calgary and all things in Calgary, in jobs, in life, in everything," he said.
"It's a great meeting."