The Glicenstajn family:  Andre and Tatiana and their two kids, Carolina (9) and Alexander (7)


Introduction: With this article, we introduce a new series, focusing on newcomers to the community.
When Andre and Tatiana Glicenstajn and their two kids, Carolina (9) and Alexander (7), came to Winnipeg  from Brazil two-and-a-half years ago, they were happily blown away by the warm reception they were given by the local Jewish community.

Andre had some experience with the North American way of life, as he had gone to business school in the U.S., but coming to Winnipeg was the first time the whole family had the chance to get to know, first-hand, the culture.
They found the immigration process to be reasonably easy. “We talked to Dalia [Szpiro], I think in the beginning of 2015, so that’s when I did my exploratory visit,” says Andre. “And, it took me exactly one year to get my visa once I started my application. So, in 2016 I got my visa. We planned everything and moved here on June 15, 2016.”

Szpiro works for the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg as the GrowWinnipeg director.
It didn’t take long for Andre to find work in sales, working for a company that helps businesses pay their bills. While he was happy with this job, he was looking to upgrade.
Two months ago, Andre moved to First Rank, a company that does search engine marketing, optimization (SEO). “Basically, we help companies rank high on Google organic search,” he says. “You want people to find your business. We help you rank those key words and generate business for your website.”

Meanwhile, Tatiana spent her first year and a bit in Winnipeg working on her English language skills, before venturing out into the job force. An architect by training, Tatiana has since found work at an interior design company as a designer. There, she validates blueprints for other architects.
When the Glicenstajns first cam to Winnipeg, Andre says about the Jewish community that he, “felt very welcome and a lot of people helped out.
“We were very fortunate to meet some great families who were born and raised here. They were very welcoming and helped us, and we also met a huge number of newcomers coming at the same time as us and made pretty good friends.
“I feel very lucky and thankful to have all this. I did say to myself that, if there’s anything I can help with the community – to bring more people or help those coming – I’ll do anything I can to help out. So, I got involved with the welcoming committee.”
Andre says that one of the most effective ways for him to be able to help other newcomers to the city is to educate them about the immigration process. From speaking with former newcomers from Argentina who came here 12 years ago, he realizes he had a different process to go through.

“There are lots of things that have changed. It’s good to have people who just came to Winnipeg to help the ones that are now arriving. I felt this was something I could help with, so I am doing that, as much as I can.”
Andre has also stepped in to help out with the PJ Library committee, brainstorming event ideas and volunteering at the various events.
With his help, for example, PJ Library hosted a successful soccer night for parents of the PJ kids. It was so successful that the participating parents decided to keep meeting up to play once a week all through the summer.
“Doing things for the community, you really get back from it whatever you put in,” says Andre. “It’s been a pleasure.
“If there’s a message that we want to give out to people it’s that it’s totally worth doing. And, for the local community, if anyone wants to support or help out, we need help, we need support.
“And, I’m not just talking about financial support, because we know the community gives...But, actually being engaged and helping newcomers is needed. We need more of the local community engaged and participating in things organized by the Jewish Federation. I see a lot of immigrants at the events, but not as many local people. I think we need that engagement of participation to build a stronger community.”