New Montrealers: From Morocco to Montreal

Omar Chouiekh left Casablanca for Montreal, a city he loves for its fun, open-minded people.

Omar Chouiekh considers Montreal a “mosaic of all the continents on Earth”

Omar Chouiekh chose to leave Casablanca to move to Montreal because the city has an "outstanding diverse population...[and it's] one of the best places to study in the world." (Photo courtesy: Omar Chouiekh)

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.

Omar Chouiekh considers Montreal a “mosaic of all the continents on Earth." He moved here from Morocco and tells Daybreak's Mike Finnerty about getting used to the city, his new-found freedom, and going back to school. 11:00


Omar Chouiekh

Where he's from

Casablanca, Morocco (was born in Fez, Morocco)

Why he chose to make Montreal home

Montreal for me is the best place in Canada for many reasons. The first and most important is that Montreal is bilingual. It represents me as a person who grew up in an Arab/French speaking environment and who gives much admiration to English as a global language that connects all humans on Earth.

Secondly, for its outstanding diverse population. Montreal is just a mosaic of all the continents on Earth that makes it a great place to exchange with different cultures on many levels (cultural events, art, food, etc.)

Also, Montreal is known also for being one of the best places to study in the world, that gives the privilege to Montrealers to have access to prestigious academic institutions but also to an important number of public libraries that are free for Montreal residents

What surprised him the most when he got here?

  • The level of organization when it comes to infrastructure, public services but also the people. There are fun people around. Sometimes it feels like an being in an open-air fair in which everybody is contributing.
  • Montreal is actually an island!!!
  • The mix of nationalities and cultures

The best part about being here so far

Here, I can meet with people with same interests, openly share my ideas, live the way I want without being a subject to discrimination or judgement. I can say proudly that integration wasn't hard for me. I always get a positive feedback approaching others. People here are so open.

The biggest challenge about being here so far

My biggest challenge in a word is to succeed. It's not easy to leave your country, family and loved ones, but also your career, to start a new life. So failure is out of question since it's an important investment. You have to fight poverty on a daily basis, and not having a history in Canada makes it hard to access jobs that are compatible with your abilities...There's a challenge of keeping your feet on the ground and not falling into negativity.

What he can't wait to do in 2016

I can't wait to:

  • Start my studies again so i fill myself with all I need to succeed here and be more productive than ever!
  • Discover more of Montreal, Quebec, Canada and everything about it !
  • Invite family members or friends so I can show them around. No one should miss visiting Montreal.

Listen to the interview.


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