Jorge is one happy immigrant and without hesitation, he states that immigrating to Canada exceeding his expectations. He deserves much of the credit for his success: his optimism, hard work and flexibility brought him where he is today.
From Mexico to New-Brunswick, Jorge is adapting to his new life and has tons of projects, including starting an import business in the near future. He is also one of the most helpful person around and offered to help prospective and new immigrants along the way, so don’t hesitate to contact him for information. His blog, www.caminante.ca, is due to lunch later this month.
1) What brought you to Canada?
The dream of my life has always been to travel around the world and live in another country; I used to look at world maps imagining that I was visiting each country of the world. During my 20s I was able to either study or work in the US, UK and Canada. I was always looking for the next opportunity to pack my bags and go. While studying in Canada 8 years ago I learned about the Canadian immigration process and I decided to apply as a skilled worker when I went back to Mexico the next year. The main reason to apply was that I fell in love with the country and its people; the approach Canada takes to its diversity it is an example for the rest of the world.
2) Did you find the immigration process difficult?
I applied in 2005 and it took two years for the process to complete. At the time, it seemed like an eternity because the immigration process used to be shorter in Mexico.
I completed the paperwork myself, it was not difficult but it was time consuming. I decided not to use an immigration lawyer and my process took the same amount of time as the one from a friend who hired one. The most difficult part for me was the wait; after I delivered my documents I had to patiently wait to be contacted for more than a year. I did not know if I was approved or not so it was a little bit nerve wracking.
My visa was finally approved at the end of 2007 and I landed in Toronto in April 2008.
3) How long did it take you to find a job that you liked in Canada?
I found my first job after 3 months of arriving to Canada, it was a helpdesk and it was not a bad job but I did not want to stay there for a long time. I moved to Saint John to take that position, I figured that willing to relocate would increase my chances of landing a good job. After a few months, a very good friend of mine recommended me for a Service Desk position in the company I currently work for. I still did not enjoy being on the phones the whole day but it paid the bills; then, in less than a year I was offered a better position within the company that I like much more.
I have a business background so I would love work in the financial area in the future or something that ties my business knowledge with my IT experience. I also have the plan to start an import business for Mexican products in the medium term future.
Something that helped me a lot during my job search was that I always tried to work for global companies that would be recognized anywhere such as Walt Disney World or being a contractor for NBC Universal through a Mexican company.
4) Where did you learn French/ English? What was your second language level when you first came to Canada?
I learned English when I was a high school exchange student in the US. Since then I always tried to work in jobs where English was a requirement. I also worked for Walt Disney World, studied in the UK and studied in George Brown College in Toronto. I had not problems whatsoever with the English language when I arrived to Canada.
5) What was your biggest culture shock?
Since I have been travelling so much before landing in Canada, I did not have any big culture shock. I found it odd that everybody removes his or her shoes when arriving to a home, but then during the winter I saw why. Houses would be a mess if we all kept our boots on after a snowstorm!
6) What haven’t you gotten used to yet in Canada?
Scraping the ice from the car windows almost every morning during the winter! Here in Saint John we get snow, ice and rain during each winter storm because we live next to the sea, so after each storm the car windows get a thick coating of ice which is no fun to scrape when you start working at 6 am!
7) Did immigrating to Canada match your expectations?
It did not match my expectations; it surpassed them. After 3 years of arriving I am doing better than I expected but I know that this is just the beginning. I am not only talking about my job situation, I have also met wonderful friends who have helped me every step of the way and now my wife is also here so I am very pleased with my Canadian experience so far.
8) Do you find life expensive in Canada compared to your home country?
It depends, housing is a lot more expensive in Canada but food and clothing sometimes are more expensive in Mexico. I was surprised by the food prices on my last visit to Mexico.
9) Are you planning to apply for Canadian citizenship when you will meet the requirements?
I just met the requirements and I will be applying in a couple of months. I can’t wait to become a Canadian citizen because I want to have a voice in the decisions the government makes for this country. I would like to see the House of Commons with a more multicultural flavour; we need more immigrants to get involved in the public and private leadership positions in Canada.
10) What advice would you give to someone from your home country interested in immigrating to Canada?
Primero que nada quiero desearte la major de las suertes si ya decidiste aplicar para vivir en Canada. Informate muy bien de todos los requerimientos, ve a la pagina de la embajada Canadiense y ahi encontraras todo lo que necesitas. Reune todos los documentos como te los piden, ni mas ni menos. Durante el tiempo que estes esperando que tu aplicacion sea aprobada no dejes de practicar tu ingles o frances, el idioma es lo mas importante para que tengas un excelente trabajo. Tambien vete informando de como es la vida en Canada para que estes listo cuando llegues y no tengas sorpresas. Recuerda que tu primer trabajo no va a ser lo que tu esperas pero Canada es una tierra de oportunidades y reconocen el trabajo duro. Si puedes empieza a hacer networking desde tu pais. Te esperamos con los brazos abiertos y si tienes alguna pregunta o quieres simplemente contactarme escribeme a email@example.com
I want to wish you the best of luck for your immigration process. Before applying go to the Canadian Embassy website, there you will find all of the requirements to apply as an immigrant. Gather all the documents required, no more, no less. During the waiting time make sure you are improving your English or French skills; remember that the language skills is the most important tool to get a great job. It might be a good idea to start informing yourself about what you will need to do once you arrive to Canada, that way you can avoid any surprises. Your first job will not be what you are aiming for but Canada is a land of opportunities and they appreciate hard working people. Start networking even before you arrive to the country. You will face challenges but you will also be welcomed with open arms. If you have any questions or just want to network you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org