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An Interview with … John in Canada

An Interview with … John in Canada

"About 3 – 4 years ago my wife and I decide we just wanted a change of scenery and couldn’t see ourselves in our current situation in five years time. We looked at New Zealand and Australia as well but either didn’t have the skill set necessary at that time or felt that they were too far away from our families. Canada ticked the distance, job market and culture boxes."

Tell us a little about yourself and family.

I’m 36, male, Scottish and married with no children. Two mad cats are the family. I worked as a College lecturer in IT for 4 years prior to emigrating. Lived in East Kilbride: a town just south of Glasgow on the West coast of Scotland.

What were your reasons for moving to Canada?

About 3 – 4 years ago my wife and I decide we just wanted a change of scenery and couldn’t see ourselves in our current situation in five years time. We looked at New Zealand and Australia as well but either didn’t have the skill set necessary at that time or felt that they were too far away from our families. Now was the right time as we didn’t have to worry about moving children. Canada ticked the distance, job market and culture boxes.

How long did the emigration process take?

From start to finish, including the gathering of information prior to submission, it took about 31/2 – 4 years until we landed. AOR on March 2003, Landed as PR on Aug 14 2006

In which province do you live?

South western Ontario

In your opinion what are the biggest differences between Canada and the UK?

The weather – extremes here. The size of the cars – swollen gas guzzlers here. The distances needed to travel to get anywhere – startling when you come from a small island. The dreadful television programmes.

What are some of the things you enjoy most about Canada?

Laid back, relaxed attitude – more informal than the UK. Great selection of places to eat. Great scenery and plenty of space to explore.

What, if any, are the things you dislike about living in Canada?

The cost of living is the same or possibly slightly more than back in the UK – not something we expected. The process of securing employment is more reliant on “˜networking’ – hard to do when you know nobody! The hidden “˜security’ charges they place on every utility/credit card because you have no credit history in Canada: what happened to international communications?????? The archaic and rip-off banking system that charges for transactions/accounts with pathetically low interest paid.

What do you miss most now you are no longer living in the UK?

Being able to go out and have a casual drink with my group of friends – the pub culture we have.

How badly, if at all, has homesickness affected you?

Haven’t really felt anything bad at all but then again we are in contact with family and friends via the phone/internet/messenger every day.

If you or your spouse work how easy was it to find employment?

Just found a job for myself after three months of looking and even that is not in the field I want to be in and is nowhere near the salary I was paid back in the UK – but it’s a start. My Wife still hasn’t found anything and we have sent away e-mails/letters/phone calls to hundreds of vacancies.

How does the work environment differ from the UK?

I’ll find out in the next few days when I start – lol!

Has your quality of life improved, if so how?

It’s too early to say with any accuracy. We would have to see how the situation is after at least 6 months and take into account our living costs/salary/friendships/actuality versus expectations. We are still open minded.

{mosbanner right}How does the cost of living compare?

Close to the same level as the UK or possibly higher in certain areas such as weekly groceries. Large items such as cars and houses are cheaper. Petrol is cheaper but then again, the engines are larger and less efficient so it balances out. Not as low as we thought or were led to believe.

In what way does Canada fit into your long term plans?

Again, it’s too early to say if it does or doesn’t. Before we arrived, we were certain (ah – ignorance is bliss) we’d stay for years and love every minute of it. Reality has led us to be more cautious in projecting what will happen. We’d still like to stay for a few years, maybe get citizenship and take it from there. On the other hand, if we have to go home then at least we can say we gave it a try and hopefully appreciate what we have back home.

In retrospect is there anything you would change?

Try our hardest to get jobs before we landed. Take more recce trips over and make them longer than the usual tourist two weeks.

Are there any final thoughts you would like to share?

Very glad we’ve done it as regret is a terrible waste and chances have to be taken. Oh, and the stress is much worse than you think so be prepared.

John McGregor
©Britishexpats.com and John McGregor