Q&A

New Montrealers: Man from Burundi loves Montreal's multiculturalism

Every year, people from around the world choose to make Montreal their new home.

Meeting new people 'has come to be such an enriching thing to me,' Chris Binagana says

Chris Binagana says Montreal makes him feel free to start a new life. (Marilla Steuter-Martin/CBC)

Every year, people from around the world choose to make Montreal their new home. For the second straight year, CBC's Daybreak is asking some of these new Montrealers about their motives and aspirations.

Name

Chris Binagana

Where he's from

Bujumbura, Burundi (where I have lived for the past 29 years)

Why he chose to make Montreal home

I had family in Montreal so when it became dangerous for me to stay in my country, I came to Montreal.

What surprised him the most when he got here?

I was surprised to see how much of a peaceful metropolis Montreal is compared to the other big North American cities I had been to before (New York City, NY, Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA). The people are very polite, so diverse too. When people ask you where you are from, it is not offensive because it looks like everybody knows they are originally from some place else in the world and either they or some people in their family tree decided to make Canada their home for a reason or another.

The best part about being here so far

Feeling free to start a new life, meeting lots of new people and learning new skills. At work you meet people of your age or even older starting a new life as well. They tell you their stories, you tell them yours, etc. And it is sometimes very encouraging.

The biggest challenge about being here so far

Getting used to the cold (this is going to be my first winter) and being far from friends and family who are back in Burundi for whom I am very worried since the country is going through a violent turmoil.

What I can't wait to do in 2016

Visit more of Canada and of course meeting more and more people, hearing their stories. I cannot stress enough how this (meeting people and learning about them) has come to be such an enriching thing to me.

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