John Erick is a newcomer to Canada, he landed from Venezuela a couple of months ago. Despite facing the usual challenges most immigrants face, including finding a first job in Canada and living in English and in French, he is happy to be here.
Everything is still very new for John Erick, but he seems to be realistic and full of energy. No doubt that he will soon land a job in Canada and live the life he wants!
1) What brought you to Canada?
I couldn’t stand anymore the situation that had been going on in Venezuela, my native country, for several years. High rates of unemployment, personal insecurity, the impending menace of a communist dictatorship and scarcity of basic goods and services pushed me to search for a better future, up to the North in Canada!
I’ve been here since March 31st, 2011 and so far so good, the ambiance here is of prosperity and peace!
2) Did you find the immigration process difficult?
At first, I wasn’t very sure of the process and if I could qualify. I started researching and attending conferences. First, it was all about Australia, but the distance and the fact that their selection methods in terms of education were very specific would later discourage me.
Then I heard about Québec and signed up with a lawyer-consultant immigration firm because I wasn’t sure how to present the paperwork. I didn’t want to make mistakes that could delay the process. Afterwards, I realized that it wasn’t so hard and I could have done it by myself.
3) Are you looking for a job? What are your goals? The obstacles you are facing?
I’m currently in the job-hunting stage. The biggest obstacle is of course the language(s): most employers demand perfectly bilingual candidates. And it takes time and effort to become bilingual!
I’m looking for a job in my field (IT) or in the video game industry. Both have a strong presence here in Montreal which is a plus.
4) Where did you learn French/ English? What was your second language level when you first came to Canada?
I learned English at school and French at the Alliance Française in my hometown. I feel that I have a strong foundation in both languages and good communication skills.
5) What was your biggest culture shock?
Perhaps it was something about how the people greet each other here (mostly men). They are somewhat distant and cold compared to Latinos who seem to be more cheerful and happy just to see you. The first few days, I naively thought Canadians disliked me!
6) What haven’t you gotten used to yet in Canada?
High caloric foods are very common here and people eat junk food.
7) Did immigrating to Canada match your expectations?
Considering that I’m still looking for a job I wouldn’t say completely. But so far, the culture, the cities, the respect between people, the order and the overall beauty of the country have captivated me.
8) Do you find life expensive in Canada compared to your home country?
Not really. I think that anyone with a simple job can make a decent living here, plus there are a lot of opportunities to improve in order to achieve an ever better quality of life!
9) Are you planning to apply for Canadian citizenship when you meet the requirements?
Yes, I intend to take my citizenship test as soon as I reach the number of days required for it.
10) What advice would you give to someone from your home country interested in immigrating to Canada?
Para todos aquellos que vienen detrás, les recomiendo que estudien lo máximo posible el Inglés/Francés ya que será la gran diferencia entre integrarse y relegarse, nunca subestimen los idiomas!
For those who come after, I would recommend to study as MUCH as you can the official languages of this country, as it would make a big difference when doing everyday stuff and getting a job quickly!