For the first two years I was in Canada, it was fairly obvious I was new to the country. Not only I didn’t speak English very well but the North American way of life was a novelty to me. I didn’t know the local customs, products and culture. I never really researched Canada the way a lot of prospective immigrants do because I just happened to land in the Great North Strong and Free by chance.
Browsing: Life As An Immigrant
A little while ago, Guillermo, my good blog friend and fellow immigrant in Ottawa, asked me if he could interview me. “No worries!” I replied—hey, who doesn’t like being interviewed?
“The interview would be in Spanish” he quickly added. See, Guillermo and is family are from Argentina and even though I know for sure he speaks English fluently, the interview was for his Spanish blog.
“Well, sure” I replied, mentally reviewing who could edit my Spanish replies.
“Oh, and it’s a recorded interview” he finally added.
Immigrants I’m in contact with often mention how challenging it is to make new friends in their adoptive country. Sure, we can stay connected with “home” easily through the Internet and social websites made it easier to keep in touch. But meeting new people in real life can be tricky at first. I know. I’ve been there.
You finally landed wherever you dreamed of living, some kind of visa in hand. You tackled all the bureaucratic obstacles on your way and went through an often lengthy immigration process. You adapted to life in a new country, got a job, learned a new language and made friends with locals. You are a new immigrant and you embrace your status.
But were you prepared for these three unexpected consequences of immigration?
This attitude is common when it comes to immigration. A lot of people want to leave their country for political or economic reasons. I get emails through this blog that basically say: “I’m desperate to leave XYZ country, how I can move to Canada easily?” And when I start explaining that moving to Canada is usually do-able but that you have to meet a few requirements, do research etc. their interest vanishes.
I recently complained about the number of scams going on in Thailand but I must admit Canada is not perfect either. While the government and the police are relatively corruption-free, and the country is very safe, we have a fair number of scam and fraud problems.
Citizenship & Immigration Canada is currently consulting the public on marriages of convenience and ask those interested to fill out an anonymous questionnaire. As a former immigrant who was sponsored, I sat down and starting sharing my thoughts.
Just browse a few immigration forums and you will notice how angry, frustrated or confused some applicants are. Indeed, applying for a visa or the permanent residence is stressful and the whole process can seem obscure. The idea that an immigration officer, in a Canadian embassy somewhere in the world is dissecting your professional and personal life can be quite unsettling.
A guest post by Guillermo, author of The Zieglers blog: 30 things you may need to buy upon your arrival in Canada.
It’s not that I didn’t try to keep in touch with French culture. At first, my mind stretched itself to join the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean – it was exhausting. I listened to French talk shows but I grew frustrated because they seemed to have little relevance to my current life. I tried to translate jokes but failed miserably. I threw the odd cultural reference in that no one here got.
I’ve been writing about Canada immigration since I became a permanent resident, in 2005. While I’m by no mean a specialist, I learned a lot when I did my research and I enjoy sharing the knowledge.
And the more I participate in forums and answer various questions from readers, the more I’m convinced some people are just either very mistaken, either very innocent, either simply… stupid.
Let’s play detective!
I already talked about job scams. Today, I will show you how to not be tricked by scammers based on a recent example.
A little while ago, I received a comment. The author of the comment was wondering if the job she had applied for was a scam. She pasted a quote of the email she had received. When it saw it, I knew it was fishy.
Canada welcomes about 250,000 new immigrants a year. I doubt all of them eventually stay and make Canada their permanent home. Life isn’t always easy at first and immigrating is much more than getting a residence permit. After the honeymoon period, the hugeness of the task ahead can be scary: learning to live in a new language, adapting to new traditions, social norms and visions, recreating a network of friends… I really don’t blame those who go back home.
Granted, I’m no the most stylish woman on earth — I know, shocking for a French, but should I remind you I don’t drink wine either?
Clothes shopping in Canada isn’t that different from shopping in Europe at first glance. Yet, there are some tricks and local trends. So I wrote a little “guide to clothes shopping in Canada”.
How much can you complain about your host country after you immigrate?
Some wish they hadn’t immigrated to Canada and criticize everything and others praise everything but now hate their home country. The truth must be somewhere in between.
Exactly four years ago, I got up very early. Feng and I got in the car still half asleep. It was a big day for me: I was crossing the border to the U.S.A only to come back to Canada a few minutes later, to validate my permanent resident visa and to become a landed immigrant.
I know that I’m still a little bit French, but as time went by, I also adapted to my new home.
Like many in Canada, I embrace the North American way of life while keeping some of my culture. Cultural integration, not assimilation.
I don’t think I’m your typical French. Yet, my citizenship sometimes catches up with me.
I don’t mind it. I like to call myself a “word citizen” but this is the country where I was born, where I grew up and where I was educated.
This got me thinking. I was born in France, of French parents, so I am French. No-brainer here. But because I left the country right after graduating from high school, little by little, I lost my French identity. Obviously, I adapted to Canada — this was bound to happen. But I also lost it in a very practical way.
I have never been lucky with bureaucracy in France. But moving to Canada had turned my luck around… until I decided to take some classes at university.
I’m more a behind the scenes kind of person: I love writing, drawing and taking pictures. But strangely enough, I didn’t hesitate to do the documentary.
Your first year in Canada will most likely be one of the most interesting year in your life. You made it, after all! Yet, adapting to a new culture and to a new country takes patience and time. Here are my tips to survive your first year in Canada.
I’m applying for Canadian citizenship. Finally. I meet all the requirements: I have been in Canada for a minimum of two years and I lived there for at least 1,095 days for the last three years. I haven’t been charged or convicted of anything. I speak French and English. I’m that close to be Canadian… minus the one-year citizenship application’s processing time.