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Why I Moved to Canada

Yes, It Gets Cold (Ottawa, March 2014)

Yes, It Gets Cold (Ottawa, March 2014)

I “dis­cov­ered” Canada in Feb­ru­ary 2002, at the end of a three-month long back­pack­ing trip from Mex­ico to Brazil (yes, by bus). A stop in Canada was not part of my orig­i­nal travel plan—it was a last-minute deci­sion, I got a good deal on a one-way ticket from Rio de Janeiro to Toronto. So I fol­lowed Feng, my Cana­dian travel-partner-turned-partner-turned-spouse, to Ottawa, and caught a glimpse of the coun­try before even­tu­ally fly­ing back home to France a few weeks later.

I stopped over once again in 2003, before head­ing to Cen­tral Amer­ica for yet another back­pack­ing trip with Feng. In Feb­ru­ary 2004 we flew back from Guatemala City to Toronto, broke and tired. I had been given a six-month “tourist” stamp upon land­ing in Canada, so I decided to stay in Ottawa for a bit to see if I actu­ally wanted to move there. For the fol­low­ing few months, I worked on my Eng­lish skills (I did not speak much Eng­lish back then), scouted the job mar­ket and had many snow­ball fights.

It turned out that I liked Canada. I started to research how to obtain a work visa and the famous “per­ma­nent res­i­dent” status.

In Sep­tem­ber 2004, I trav­eled to France and applied for a Work­ing Hol­i­day Visa (WHV). Canada was not yet a pop­u­lar destination—the WHV was free (!) and the yearly quota was not even close to being filled. I showed up at the Cana­dian embassy in Paris and left a cou­ple of hours later with the pre­cious WHV sta­pled in my passport.

I flew back to Canada in Novem­ber 2004 and started work­ing right away while com­plet­ing my uni­ver­sity degree in France (yes, it was chal­leng­ing). By mid-2005, I was ready to apply for per­ma­nent residence.

I decided to apply in the spon­sor­ship cat­e­gory since Feng was my main rea­son for stay­ing in Canada.

For more info and anec­dotes about my immi­gra­tion process, you can check out the inter­views in the Press Review page.


  1. Thats a great story !

  2. excel­lent!
    Too Bad that Indone­sia is not included in the par­tic­i­pant country.

  3. Zhu, I just wanted to con­grat­u­late you on your great site, it’s already been a very help­ful source to me. J’irai à Van­cou­ver le 31 mars pour 1 an si tout se passé bien, et je l’attends avec bcp d’impatience :-)

    Bisous de Stuttgart (Alle­magne), prof­ite bien de ton grand voyage!!!

  4. Hi Zhu,

    I am from India. I started my process for Que­bec immi­gra­tion under skilled worker pro­gram. I am try­ing to learn French. I am an MBA grad­u­ate and work­ing in Finance and Accounts dept in bank end oper­a­tions for Swiss based Invest­ment bank. Pre­vi­ously I worked in top US based bank (back end oper­a­tions). I am gonna give my IELTS test in the octo­ber. But when I am researc­ing about the life of immi­grants in canada, I see a lot of neg­a­tive com­ments like peo­ple try­ing hard to secure a job in their pro­fes­sion. I am ready do odd jobs for a while but is there any chance that later I can land in a job of my exper­tise…? I under­stand that it all depends on my hard work and luck, but still I am wor­ried after read­ing com­ments in mul­ti­ple por­tals that peo­ple are strug­gling for years but still find­ing it hard to sur­vive. I hop­ing a brief answer from you regard­ing my con­cern and noth­ing in specific.

    I am not in a hurry to make dol­lars as soon as I land in Canada. How­ever I am expect­ing a decent life style with peace­ful neighbourhood.

    • for­got to men­tion that I had all my edu­ca­tion and expe­ri­ence from India and I am still work­ing in India.

    • Hello,

      Thanks for vis­it­ing my blog and thank you for your ques­tion! I com­pletely under­stand your fear and I hope I’ll be able to help.

      I per­son­ally believe that despite some chal­lenges, it is pos­si­ble to find a good job in Canada. Peo­ple who have issues are often those who expected to find a good posi­tion right away. They get frus­trated because it takes time, because their edu­ca­tion and work expe­ri­ence may not be rec­og­nized right away. But you seem to be aware of these chal­lenges, which is a good thing.

      Try to research the job mar­ket as much as you can. I know it’s hard when you are still over­seas but try to con­nect with Cana­di­ans in your field. Learn how to make a Cana­dian resume, improve your lan­guage skills etc.

      I’m con­fi­dent you will be able to adapt and find a job in your field. I know quite a lot of immi­grants and yes, some strug­gled and went back home but the major­ity is still here and mostly enjoy­ing life in Canada.

      You may be inter­ested in read­ing these two inter­views of Indian immigrants:



      And don’t for­get that you can always go live and work in another province if Que­bec isn’t right for you! Canada is a big country ;-)

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