‘We are trying to balance both cultures’: 3 years on, refugee family from Syria applies for citizenship

December 23, 2018

By CBC News |

The Armenian-Syrian family arrived in Canada three years ago, which means they can now apply for citizenship.

Three years ago this week, Vicken Majarian and Alin Arekelian arrived with their two young children in Vancouver as refugees from war-torn Syria.

The family’s third anniversary of their arrival means they’re now eligible for Canadian citizenship, which they are preparing to apply for.

“It will take time, the process is a long process but I am starting to feel Canadian,” Arekelian said.

“As far as my kids, they are almost settled. Now they are saying, ‘Mom, we are very happy here — we have our friends, we have our community, we have our life here.'”

‘The first time we went to the park, we were so excited’
Eleven-year-old Haig remembers being nervous on his first day of school but quickly picked up both a group of friends and a new language.

“When I first went to school, I was shaking,” he said.

“I started moving on by getting some friends helping me, I learnt English. Now I’m in Grade 6 and I have lots of friends.”

His sister Karni, 7, also quickly settled in and made friends. Both children agree that the playgrounds and parks are one of their favourite things about Vancouver.

“In Syria, the parks — there was just war so there were all trees on the ground and we couldn’t play,” Haig said.

“When we came here, the first time we went to the park, we were so excited.”

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