In only five years since moving to Toronto from Lahore, Pakistan, Momin has accomplished what many international students strive to achieve.
Why did you come to Canada? And why Toronto specifically?
I moved to Toronto for university. I chose U of T because of the variety of disciplines that i could study and because it represented an opportunity to be immersed in a truly global environment.
What do you do now?
I’m currently head of community and social media at UrbanToronto, which a news website focusing on real estate development, urban politics and city-focused news. My undergraduate degree is in Urban Studies and Economic Geography, and I have work experience in both the digital media and non-profit environs so the position was a great fit for me. It allows me to use my city-building background and digital media interests at the same time.
Biggest struggle you faced when you first came to Toronto?
My biggest struggle was adjusting to the differences between Canadian and American culture. Having grown up on american pop culture and having also lived there as a toddler, I didn’t know how different Canadian culture to be. I was wonderfully surprised to find that Canadian culture is warmer, more welcoming and has a commitment to inclusivity and diversity unparalleled amongst major developed nations.
What shocked you the most when you came here?
What shocked me most about Canada was the high amounts of visibility that minorities have in society here. The immersion process and how it can work successfully was a pleasant surprise.
What do you like most about Toronto?
The pace. It’s both fast and slow at the same time, which is rare for a city as booming as it is.
Any tips for newcomers or refugees coming to Toronto?
Have an open mind – without it you may cut yourself off from what makes life here so attractive.