Ottawa·Human Library

Wen Jean Ho helps new Canadians settle in Ottawa, as others helped her

Wen Jean Ho knows first hand what it’s like to settle in a new country, so she works to help new Canadians become a part of the Ottawa community.

Wen Jean Ho is a 'book' in this year's Human Library event on Feb. 27

Wen Jean Ho explains being a "bridge" for new Canadians

Ottawa

5 years ago
0:26
Wen Jean Ho wants to make settling in Ottawa easier for newcomers 0:26

Wen Jean Ho knows first hand what it's like to settle in a new country, so she works to help new Canadians become a part of the Ottawa community.

A social worker in her native Taiwan, she moved to the United States in 1984, and eventually came to Canada in 1997.

Here, Ho founded the mostly volunteer-run Kanata Chinese Seniors Support Centre, where she helps newcomers get familiar with life here.

"I actually think of myself working as a bridge," she said. "So through me, they can get to know the outside environment and the outside world. So that way, they are not feeling so isolated or lonely to live in Canada."

She organizes English conversation classes, lessons in local history, and encourages community volunteering among people who've recently arrived.

Language, culture obstacles

"For many newcomers, the first thing is the cultural differences, cultural conflicts," she added. "Also the customs: the way people think, the language, and the transportation can also be an obstacle as well."

She believes her job as a "bridge" is to let people "cross over."

Ho will discuss her work as part of the Human Library on Feb. 27, presented by CBC Ottawa and the Ottawa Public Library.

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