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2.5 years around Calgary

2.5 years around Calgary

Old Jul 31st 2020, 3:58 pm
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Default 2.5 years around Calgary



I haven't been around much since moving to Canada, life was busy and I guess both mine and my partners lives changed in such a way that we haven't spent as much time on any social media but I thought I'd check in and post a 2.5 year anniversary just in case anyone is interested.

Firstly - was it the right choice for us? 100% yes. We are both so thankful that we made this move and that so far it has worked out well.
Thank you to everyone on this forum who answered my many questions; this forum and the knowledge here really helped.

Year 1 - 2018
This was an extremely hard year, I had been planning to move to Alberta in Canada for years but the oil price crash and political situation made Alberta's economy look sketchy to say the least.
We arrived January 2018, lots of snow on the ground (below was one of our first walks to the shops), freezing cold temperatures but we were happy for the new adventure. Neither of us had jobs and so we had arranged to rent a basement room in what is a house targeted at students but gets a mix of people.



Finding work was VERY hard. The idea of 'Canadian experience' is ridiculous but it is a very real barrier to entry. The irony is that generally speaking British people do very well in Canada due to our work ethic.
My girlfriend was a dementia nurse in the UK, it took around 2 months but she eventually landed a casual position as a health care aide which was our lifeline as we were burning through savings.
It took me 5 months to find a job, I registered at all immigration centres, I spent every Mon to Fri daytime either at an immigration centre trying to make leads or walking around Calgary going into companies handing in resumes, I spent my evenings applying online and trying to network on linkedin. I did this for the entire 5 months, I got next to zero responses, call backs, interviews or networking opportunities. After 5 months we were considering moving to another province as I was getting more luck there, a NZ and Canadian couple we met did end up moving to BC because they weren't able to find work. We had a good life for UK standards and this was an extremely stressful time; it was very hard on our relationship and we really questioned if we had done the right thing.

We met up with AlmostCanadian; this was very nice for us - we really appreciated the positivity you had and the encouragement you gave us to stick at it as things will work out eventually.

Luckily I had met another English guy through his youtube video, he put me in touch with a Canadian engineer he worked with, I ended up applying for a very junior position at their company and was hired. I can't stress enough to people moving that you need to have savings, keep your costs low and prepare for extreme difficulty - you may get lucky or you may end up like us. Getting this job was the turning point for us, we could enjoy summer, we hiked some mountains (below is Mount Baldy with my French friend), got our own basement, made some friends.



Years 2 - 2019
It was still and still is a lot of work and stress but this year things really started to get better; my girlfriend applied for a job at a new facility and she got a full time position. I was promoted to head my area and then promoted again to manage a large part of the maintenance operation. We bought a house in Okotoks, got a dog, made some friends, hiked many more mountains (below is us going up Mount Sparrowhawk), camped, BBQ's, ski'd, snowboarded, cycled the millions of cycle paths in Calgary, went to Stampede, ate too many donuts.



Our friends who we met when we landed ended up returning to France as he couldn't get a job in his field here - this shows the risk and it was very sad to see them leave.

It's now 2.5 years and I'd say we're close to being settled in, once my girlfriend has her nurse registration we'll be much better placed. We're very thankful we're here through this pandemic rather than in the UK and very thankful we have kept our jobs as we have no safety net of family on long established friendships out here.

I was an engineer in the UK, APEGA said they recognised my experience but not my qualifications (diploma, degree, masters and chartered engineer) - this is particularly frustrating as they want me to do a degree in Canada yet I've met many PEng engineers and for some of them, in the words of Shania Twain 'they don't impress me much'. Some of the drawings produced here would get you fired in the UK, technology isn't utilised, the quality of checking and approvals, change control etc. just isn't up to the same standards as Europe yet I need to redo my degree here or attempt all of the final year exams from a degree. Frustrating to say the least. I'm thinking I'll register with ASET who regulate technicians and get my PMP but I'm undecided on going for PEng now. This paragraph is what I would have wanted to read (and did read often) before coming out here.

Even with the stress of starting over, the ups and downs and pressure on our relationship; life is good, we love where we are and the decision to come here; we both feel like we would never return by choice and can't wait to get our citizenship.

When this pandemic is over if anyone in the Calgary regions wants to go for a coffee or a beer, let me know!

That's all from Rick, Danielle and Eddie the dog


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Old Jul 31st 2020, 5:10 pm
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Default Re: 2.5 years around Calgary

Wow...what a great update, fabulous photos too. Eddie looks gorgeous...as does your girlfriend and you are not too bad either.

thank you for taking the time and trouble to update us. All the very best for the future.
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Old Jul 31st 2020, 8:40 pm
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Default Re: 2.5 years around Calgary

Congratulations on your perseverance, looks like it paid off! I am sure your story will be very helpful to others who are looking to follow.
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Old Aug 2nd 2020, 1:17 pm
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Default Re: 2.5 years around Calgary

What a lovely family you are...well done in going forward and not giving in. It’s a huge shock culturally and financially but you are up to the challenge- I’m not personally sure, if there was that much snow on the ground for my first visit to the shops, that I might not have voted with my feet and gone back home...bruh that’s chilly...
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Old Yesterday, 3:40 pm
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Default Re: 2.5 years around Calgary

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
Wow...what a great update, fabulous photos too. Eddie looks gorgeous...as does your girlfriend and you are not too bad either.

thank you for taking the time and trouble to update us. All the very best for the future.
Ha thank you, Eddie is a good looking boy!

Originally Posted by Hurlabrick View Post
Congratulations on your perseverance, looks like it paid off! I am sure your story will be very helpful to others who are looking to follow.
That is my hope, a cautionary but optimistic story. It's a big move and easy to underestimate!

Originally Posted by MillieF View Post
What a lovely family you are...well done in going forward and not giving in. It’s a huge shock culturally and financially but you are up to the challenge- I’m not personally sure, if there was that much snow on the ground for my first visit to the shops, that I might not have voted with my feet and gone back home...bruh that’s chilly...
We felt it was a novelty and pretty funny being the only ones walking to the shops in -20s or below and snow storms. We didn't have much choice though as we didn't get a car until I landed a job which was 6 months later! We still don't mind those walks though and now I have a dog that absolutely loves those temperatures I have no choice, he'll ask to go out when it's -15 and he'll run around or just go lie down in the snow
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Old Yesterday, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: 2.5 years around Calgary

Can I ask why specifically APEGA doesn't recognize your qualifications? I am an Engineer that managed to get my P.Eng in Nova Scotia originally, but having since moved, am now a member of Manitoba's APGEM and also recently with APEGA (as our Alberta office needed someone with sealing authority whilst the usual person is on maternity leave).

I also had problems with getting my qualifications recognized as I did my degree part time. It didn't help that I had managed to lose my 2nd year of transcripts! In the end I managed to get the UK Engineering Council to write a letter to confirm that my degree was recognized under the Washington Accord and that did the trick. I do sympathize with you as there was a lot of back and forth before my qualifications where accepted.
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