Juneyt Yetkiner

My journey in Waterloo started 18 years ago. I was 22 and I left my dear country for chasing after what some call the dream life. 

My first week of being here in this beautiful city, a few things captured my attention first; the cleanliness of the streets and how organized everything and everyone was. I was struck by the beauty of the city. Every body was friendly and people were very encouraging and supportive.

To be honest, coming here from a much more laid-back country, this was a little bit of a culture-shock to me at first, but after a while you get used to it, and become the treads of that gear.

This city seemed to me as a land of opportunities that you can pursue your dreams regardless of your age, education, religion, and ethnicity. You can be whoever you want to be. It’s never too late to be something and to become successful in whatever you do in this great region of Canada. That alone is a major confidence boost and completely re-shapes your mind and your approach to life.

Next week I’m going to be 40 and let me tell you that, I couldn’t have chosen a better life and a better country for myself. I’m extremely grateful for the kind and supportive people of Waterloo. I’m a musician and I also am a computer programmer. Through both of those careers, I was able to get to where I wanted to be. I’m so grateful to be a part of this amazing community and rich culture. If you ever feel like giving up, don’t, because if you work hard enough you will see the results. 

Waterloo region has a very different and much more special place in my heart. This city made who I am today. I can confidently say that this region is by far the best place to live in Canada. Some people might think that I’m little optimistic, but I am the living proof of my optimism shaping my struggling life to a successful one. 

In certain cultures, especially Middle East and Eastern European ones becoming successful depends mostly on “who you know” not “what you know”; therefore many people who immigrate to Canada treat their lives here with the same mentality and I think that’s when they struggle a lot. I believe that’s why they stay within the circle of the same culture and live their social bubbles that they belong to. However, the key to success is stretching your mind to different ideas, looking for opportunities for intercultural exchanges, and thrive to be a healthy part of larger societies.

Having an open mind in all these areas made me appreciative of various cultures and faiths, it gave me a different and larger perspective, enriched my life-style, and  as result it increased my chances to become peaceful and successful. 

One of the main things I have learned in Canada is to share and to assist others. Be an enabler.  It sounds really cliche, however sharing and helping is the backbone of every strong society, culture and religion. Therefore, I volunteer over 60 times in a year for many fundraisers and charity events regardless of ethnicity and faith group. I accept the invitations, voluntarily attend the events whenever I find the opportunity. This community involvement not only makes me feel great about myself, it also connects me with right people in the community and wonderful souls in our city.

Once again I would like to say I am proud to be a Canadian, and I’m proud to be Turkish, and I’ve never felt discriminated  or judged for saying that, this is one of the reasons I love Canada. Thank you Engin and for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts on KW-Living. As I always said the World needs more Canada, Canada needs more Waterloo.