Welcome to my new series, Ten Immigrants, Ten Interviews.
You guys all know my story by now, and you have a pretty good idea of what my life in Canada looks like. I thought it was time to let other immigrants and new Canadians speak. I contacted ten of them, who each have their own story, their own reasons to come to Canada, their own point of view on how life is up North in the igloos. They all answered ten questions, bringing a new perspective on immigration.
A new post will be published every Saturday.
Let me introduce you to Adam and Eric, formerly of San Francisco, California, and now full-time Torontonians. They have been living in Canada for two years and they have the mix of positive attitude and realist outlook on their move that make them perfect to interview. Eric and Adam chose Canada almost on a dare and are now planning to apply for permanent residence (they currently hold temporary visas) and eventually become Canadian citizens.
Their blog, Canadian Boomdiada, has little snippets of their lives as well as great practical advices, such as the general immigration advice series, posts about Canadian banking, culture, health care, job search and many others categories — a must read!
What brought you to Canada?
It was my partner Eric who lit the fire to move to Canada.
We lived in San Francisco and during discussions of possible Holiday destinations he kept mentioning how he loved Canada, Vancouver in particular – and how he really wanted to take me there. He was convinced I would fall in love with the city and not want to leave. I heard this one too many times and I started researching Vancouver and Canada in general. I did a massive amount of research and decided Vancouver would be a great place to live. I’ve lived in upstate and downstate N.Y., Boston and San Francisco. I love to move to new places and have always wanted to live outside the U.S.
So…one day Eric mentions that he was going to pursue new employment. I had already babbled that moving to Canada would be fine with me and at this point I suggested he post his resume on the internet on the major Canadian job sites. He was taken by surprise and didn’t take me seriously at first. One thing led to another, he accepted a job in Toronto and we moved about six months after he first posted his resume.
Did you find the immigration process difficult?
We legally moved to Canada from the U.S. with Temporary Work Permits, not as Permanent Residents. Immigrating with Work Permits is very straight forward and not difficult. The more challenging aspect of immigration is crossing the border with your personal belongings and re-establishing all aspects of your life. Do your research so that when some aspect of the move doesn’t go as planned it doesn’t become a crisis.
How long did it take you to find a job that you liked in Canada?
Finding your first job, let alone one in your chosen field, is notoriously difficult for a new immigrant. I was a Realtor in San Francisco and didn’t want to re-enter that field immediately after moving to Toronto.
Finding other work has been a real challenge. There is subtle discrimination against new immigrants no matter how much education they have. All the U.S. to Canada immigrants we know have had a tough time finding satisfactory employment. Clearly the economy hasn’t helped, we know educated Canadians with experience who have also had a lengthy unemployment. I was out of work for over a year. The job I have will do for now though I continue to pursue more a more satisfying position.
Where did you learn French/ English? What was your second language level when you first came to Canada?
Being from the U.S., English is my native language. I had taken French in College (University) and Eric and I took a French class before moving to Canada. We”ll probably continue French study-we enjoyed it.
What was your biggest culture shock?
Good question. Canada and the U.S. are clearly both part of ‘North American’ culture so we weren’t hit hard with culture shock. Simply put, Canada is not the U.S. despite the fact that it is so similar. One gets used to the myriad of subtle differences.
What haven’t you gotten used to yet in Canada?
There is a passive aggressive quality here that drives me crazy…and I lived in California where I used to say that they spoon fed passive aggressive to their newborns. I am a native New Yorker though so that might explain everything.
Did immigrating to Canada match your expectations?
Eric and I were incredibly well researched and prepared. I think our expectations were completely met. I might add that we are very pleased to live here.
Do you find life expensive in Canada compared to your home country?
Living in Toronto is not cheap. Cost of living in the U.S. can be dramatically different depending on where one lives. I lived in Boston and San Francisco, two U.S. cities with insanely high cost of living – so Toronto is comparable if not less expensive.
Are you planning to apply for Canadian citizenship when you will meet the requirements?
As mentioned, we moved to Canada on Temporary Work Permits. Our next step is to apply for PR status – probably through the “Canadian Experience” category. We will have legally resided here for two years in August. Assuming that application is approved-and I don’t expect any issues, I would probably go ahead with Citizenship when the time comes. Both Canada and the U.S. allow dual citizenship.
What advice would you give to someone interested in immigrating to Canada?
Do your research. One can’t be too prepared. Even successful immigrants will have challenges here in Canada. Thorough research means proper and realistic expectations. Read official websites. Read immigrant blogs like this one. Read both the words and “in between” the lines. Prepare yourself. If one is moving with a partner, make sure that the both of you are of one mind. Moving to a new country may challenge your relationship in ways that you don’t expect.