If you are thinking of moving to Canada or in the process or perhaps you just recently moved to Canada this is certainly the post for you.
Starting a new life in a foreign place can be very challenging and you may worry about how the life is in the city, what to expect, places to go and many more. I am here to make the transition easy for you.
Canada is a land of opportunities and I personally believe we need a lot more immigrant to shake things up here. There are many things to love about Canada but what I do love most about staying here is the constant sense of security and great diversity of people. If you are thinking of moving I will say give it a try.
Back to the focus!
This post is in no way telling you how to live your life in Canada it just gives you a glimpse into life as an immigrant especially since I was one couple years ago.
You ever move to a new place and wish you had a friend there just to tell you about the basic things you need to know about the place.
Ok! Now what’s there to know? So, I divided this post into 5 main categories that I felt most people who just came or intend to come to have the most concerns about and that includes lifestyle, getting housing, getting a job and getting into school and getting HealthCare.
The first question I get from a lot of people is how is the lifestyle? What is the temperature? Do you like it? For one it could get really cold in the winter and really hot in the summer.
The real truth is there is no definite answer for this. Staying here and assimilating can be a bit of a gamble and I would tell you why. My brother and I moved here together but he had to go back home. simply because he had difficulties coping but on the other hand I cannot imagine living anywhere else.
Is it that I found it to be more fun and he didn’t? absolutely not! I simply just adapted and made it my home
what I will say is based on my own experience and I can tell you a lot of people share the same experiences with me
If you have friends and family already living here when you move it things may be a lot easier and fun because I must say if you are not born and raised you will find the city a little bit boring.
Now how you cope with the boredom is what is either going to make you or break you. For me, I started grade 12 so I met some pretty awesome international students just like me at the time and we all just struggled with the struggle till we made it.
Does it really get better? Yes, it does but that depends on how you see it
If you are an introvert you might find it easier to cope because you most likely will be used to being in your own shell and enjoying your own space. So adapting will be a lot easier because there will just be little or no disruption in your lifestyle.
If you are an extrovert you may find it harder to cope;
The thing is Canada can get really boring really quickly because the things you do for fun can get really repetitive and tiring. There isn’t a lot of unique things to do or places to go. So, you get to run around the same circles, visit same clubs, got to shisha lounges, go to wonderland, dine and wine at restaurants and bars over and over.
There just isn’t a whole lot of unique things to do here sadly. I live in Toronto where the fun happens so if I am saying this about my city you can imagine how it is in other cities.
Not saying that these activities are not fun (depending on what you describe as fun) but doing them every single time can be very overwhelming.
To be fair, there are some cities and provinces where you can find some new adventures BUT they are mostly winter adventures like dog sledding, snow tubing and the likes. To be able to enjoy these activities, you need to be get used to the cold or at least like the snow (or just get a good warm jacket). The only thing is that the city itself may not have a lot to offer because they are usually in remote places. Might be a place go on an adventure but certainly not a place you want to live in.
Even if you are not going to the same places you will find yourself doing the same things in different places.
But if you really must go places,
The good thing and the little less fun is that there are usually are a lot of exhibitions, networking events and workshops going on so this would be a great opportunity to meet and network with a lot of people and even make friends which can in turn be good for career advancements and opportunities.
Then again, there is more to life than just fun right?
When it comes to housing there isn’t much to say simply because accommodation is definitely a priority for everyone looking to move to a new country. So regardless of what kind of accommodation (dorm rooms, living with friends, families, renting, buying) you are trying to get just make sure it is affordable and sustainable.
I have definitely seen someone move here to get the most expensive apartment on the block then reality sets in and then they have to downgrade so don’t be person number 2 I know.
The building or apartment you rent or buy does not really matter as a new-comer because everyone understands even when you think they don’t.
Let me tell you a quick story
Do You remember that guy who lives in that lux apartment downtown with his roommate where we go chill?
Yes, I do! How can I forget? We partied by the pool side in the building
Oh, you do? Guess what?
I said guess? You know what I will tell you
His rent is $3500a month and he pays an extra $600in utilities. He said his internet and phone bill cost an extra $200a month
OMG! Are you serious?
How does he pay it?
He works 3 jobs! *case closed*
Of course, there is nothing wrong with living in beautiful apartments if you can afford it or work for it. The concern is, if its sustainable. People often make the move with a lot of money in their accounts. As a matter of fact, one of the immigration requirements is usually a proof of financial support or funds of some sort.
Sometimes, finding a job can take a while trust me on that. So you want to make sure that even if it takes 6 months to find a job, you can cater to yourself and still pay your rent comfortably.
Now, depending on what kind of place you are looking to rent it can be pretty easy or difficult even for those already in the country.
There are different websites people use but the most common website I have used to find all my apartments is kijiji.com
However, for the most part if you are looking to rent a bedroom in an apartment or house they are pretty easy to find online. But sometimes, the landlords may require someone to physically check out the place before they agree to rent.
If you do have a friend or family that can do a quick check for you then that’s great! If you don’t have someone, you can come to some sort of arrangement with the landlord that doesn’t require you paying or stay in Air BnB when you arrive till you eventually find a place. They are less expensive than hotels but cost more than renting, so you should plan for that.
It can be very exhausting finding a place especially from outside the country but don’t become a victim of fraud
IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS.
Some people will post really nice pictures of houses they find online as their own, send you an email asking you to tell them about yourself to see if you are a good potential tenant, then they will advise you to pay first and you will get the key sent to you. Regardless of how they play the story to you just be careful.
I am going to include some images detailing a part of my experience with such person below..
This is the picture of the apartment at first that was listed in the posting. seemed like a good deal for what i wanted at first
Till I realized this was a scam..these are some of the conversations we had just to give you an idea of what these kinds of people say and how misleading they can be.
Now, even though there are people like this that exist, they do not represent the majority. For the most part, most Landlords are welcoming and indeed looking to rent or sell their property.
If you are coming in as a student under a study permit, you already have a pretty good idea of where you will be schooling. Which means, you probably just need someone to talk about what the school experience is like. I will definitely dedicate a post to that because it is very important but at a later time.
For the sake of this post I will focus more on choosing a school to apply for people who intend to apply as students or study at a later time when they get in.
People tend to search for top universities and colleges in Canada or maybe top high schools whatever the parameter of your search is. It is great to be part of the top institutions but it isn’t always necessary.
The same logic you apply to choosing housing, I will say also apply it to finding a school. Is it affordable and sustainable?
If you can afford it again that’s great but if you cannot any school offering your program of choice will be okay
This is because employers don’t tend to focus on what kind of school you go to. They are more interested in your performance during your time in school and your overall work and study experience.
When you actually understand this, you will save yourself a lot of money.
A lot of people come here and drop out of school, change or transfer schools and I see that happen a lot.
Damn! Didn’t that happen to you?
Yes, It happened to me but for a different reason
Top schools are great but they tend to be more expensive. When I used to go to one of the top schools I paid almost $50k every year. If you are coming from a less developed country that is a lot of money and when you do an exchange rate conversion of that amount for 4 years (bachelors program)
When I transferred to the school, I paid almost half that and I quickly realized that there isn’t much difference in the quality of education and in the workforce
The problem with not realizing early and planning is that it will cost you more. when you do a transfer, or change sometimes not all credits and courses you took previously maybe applicable to the new institutions. This means you will need to re-take some course/credits which further prolongs the amount of time you may have to spend in school. Eventually in fulfilling the new requirements for your program you will spend more depending on the number of extra years.
We are at the end of this post and I hope you made it all the way through. I will be making the remaining categories into a part 2and I may even add more to them so stay tuned.
If you do have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask and I will make sure to respond!