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Richmond’s Newcomers Guide now available in Russian as well

Alexandra Megynskaya and her daughter are having fun settling into life in Richmond

It’s perhaps a year too late for Alexandra Megynskaya, who moved her life to Richmond from Magadan in eastern Russia a little more than 12 months ago.

But finally getting her hands on the Russian version of Richmond’s Newcomers Guide will come in very useful nonetheless.

Now available along with its English, Chinese, Filipino and Punjabi counterparts, the Russian guide was officially launched at city hall last week.

Having browsed through the new Russian guide, Megynskaya said the content is exactly what all new immigrants  need to know when they arrive to start a new life in Canada.

“If I had this when I first arrived, it would have been good for me,” said the mom-of-two, including a newborn, month-old baby girl.

“It has a lot of good information about children’s activities, how to register them for programs and where to find medical services.

“When I first moved here, it was very, very difficult to find a doctor; I did not know anything about walk-in clinics as the medical system is very different here than from Russia.”

Diane Tijman — chair of the Richmond Intercultural Advisory Committee, which brings ideas to city staff and council and puts the guides together — said the decision to publish the guide in a new language tends to come about when volunteers from that particularly section of the community step up.

“It’s based on volunteers really. If volunteers are willing to support it and translate it, then we will take a look at doing it,” added Tijman.

“There’s a number of new Russians in the city and the volunteers were available, so it was decided to bring out the guide in Russian.”

The Russian tongue ranks fourth — only behind Chinese, Punjabi and Tagalog — in the city’s non-official language table, with two per cent of the population, or around 1,850 people.

And in some of the city’s neighbourhoods, Russian is the second or third most spoken non-official language.

Megynskaya, who lives in Garden City area with her geologist husband, Dmitry Zhilin, and daughters, Uliana, 7, and new baby Arina, isn’t too aware of any distinct Russian community in Richmond.

It’s not even the reason they chose Richmond ahead of anywhere else in the Lower Mainland.

“Our Russian friends, who live in Tsawwassen, advised us to try Richmond,” said Megynskaya.

“Tsawwassen was too far for my husband to commute to where he works in downtown Vancouver and Richmond is a great place for children, with lots of schools, libraries and parks.

“But we have met a few Russians here, most of them have been here for less than a year.”

Megynskaya said she and her family found life in Richmond and Canada difficult to begin with, before slowly becoming more familiar and settling in.

“Everything was different; even the stores. Here, everything, food, clothes, drugs is all in one place, which is good I think, but we are not used to that in Russia.”

The language barrier was easier for Megynskaya to overcome, having worked with Canadians in Russia for several years.

As for the road signs, she said she could “kind of guess” what they mean. She was, however, surprised to see so many signs with Chinese on them.

“We knew before coming here that Richmond had a big Chinese population, but we didn’t expect to see so much (of the language). It’s good though, we kind of like it.”

PDFs of each edition of the guide can be found online at www.richmond.ca/discover/about/newcomersguide. Richmond Public Library has computers available with Internet access, free of charge. Printed copies will soon be available, subject to availability, at the following locations:

·      SUCCESS, Richmond Office, #220 – 7000 Minoru Boulevard;

·       Richmond Multicultural Concerns Society, #210 – 7000 Minoru Boulevard;

·       Volunteer Richmond Information Services, #190 – 7000 Minoru Boulevard;

·       Immigrant Services Society  #150– 8400 Alexandra Road;

·       Richmond City Hall, 6911 No. 3 Road.

© Richmond News

– See more at: http://www.richmond-news.com/community/new-russians-loving-life-in-richmond-1.1490423#sthash.ELtIKGzk.dpuf

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