Welcome to the 2013 edition of “Ten Immigrants, Ten Interviews!” In this series, we will explore the motivations of ten prospective immigrants and newcomers to Canada. You can find the two previous series here: Ten Immigrants, Ten Interviews (2010) and Ten More Immigrants For Ten More Interviews (2011).
Alice is French, from Alsace (Eastern France). A post-grad student, she lives in Quebec City. A foodie and animal lovers (two different things, not implying she eats animals!), she shares her adventures on her blog, Une Frenchie en Québéquie. with a wicked sense of humour. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
Don’t miss her recommendations and reviews of places in Quebec City (in French). They will please all foodies and lovers of La belle province!
1) What brought you to Canada?
A plane (a big one).
(That’s my very own private running joke).
2) Was getting a visa difficult? Which visa category did you apply in, and how long did it take for you to get it?
I came to Quebec for a PhD, so I was mostly welcome as they don’t have enough graduate students in their universities. Getting a visa was quite straightforward and easy. I applied for a Quebec CSQ (Certificat de Sélection du Québec), and then a student visa. The process was quite fast at the time (about 3 to 4 months), but I know that it has changed a lot since.
3) How did your family and friends react to your move?
They were really happy for me, new adventures, new friends, new things. Now that I think about it, they were a bit too happy to see the back of me—suspicious!
4) Where did you learn English?
School, TV, Internet, books, friends and, no mystery, works and internship in an English-speaking environment (did I mention my English ex-boyfriend? Best way to learn a language!). I knew my language skills were starting to be good when I was able to make puns and read books (my first ones in English were Harry Potter and The Bridget Jones Diary). I still have a lot to learn and it is not always easy as I don’t live in an English-speaking environment (would I daresay a anglophobic one?), but I am getting better. I think. I hope.
5) How do you find the cost of living compared to your home country?
At first, it was cheaper. Really. But as the years passed, I realized that prices went up like crazy. And now when I compare the price of basic things here with France, it is like two or three times more expensive. Food, internet access, mobile phones, hobbies, all the everyday things are super expensive here. I still don’t understand what happened between when I arrived and now…
6) What has been your biggest culture shock so far?
The cultural grounds in France and in Canada are quite similar, even if the word “culture” is seen as something boring and elitist here, far more than in France. The societal (is that even a word in English?) thing that bothered me deeply since I arrived was the way animals are considers in Quebec. The highest pet abandonment rates in the world and a deep disrespect for all life that is non-human are deeply rooted in the society. This is an everyday source of conflict with most of the Quebecers I know.
7) What aspect of life in Canada did you adopt right away?
Brunch. I looove brunches to death. Really. A bastard meal, half breakfast-half lunch during which you can eat hot and cold, sweet or savory things. Or both. And Champagne. And tea. How brilliant! (see also: English Afternoon Tea).
8) What’s one thing you don’t like in Canada?
Without hesitation, the healthcare system. I won’t make a case here (everything’s on my blog), but long story short, in the past two years alone, I had to go back to France twice to be treated for ‘basic’ medical conditions. A real nightmare.
9) What’s the best part about living in Quebec City?
The poutine. French (of course) fries, gravy, unripe cheddar bites. Cholesterol heaven! (Me? Food obsessed, me?).
10) What advice would you give to someone starting the immigration process?
Find reliable sources about your country of destination and think A LOT about it. Go there and see for yourself. Don’t trust the blogs alone. We only share bits and pieces of our daily lives and we are NOT objective, even if we want to. And please, PLEASE don’t rely on us. We are bloggers, not immigration professionals. I have far too much people who wants to immigrate, asking me for advice who doesn’t know a thing about the work condition, the (HUUUUUGE) taxes rates, the healthcare system, the school system for their children… and it amazes me. Not in a good way. Before leaving your life behind, instruct yourself.