Lessons from moving to Canada. Today makes it exactly six months since I touched down and set my feet on Canadian soil; six months since I begun this journey towards the next chapter of my life, and although I never anticipated things to go the way they did (Coronavirus – in Cardi b’s voice), the past months have been full of exciting changes, and through it all, one thing has become clearer: Canada is definitely home! Today I’m sharing a few lessons I’ve learned since I moved to Canda.
One of the first lessons I learned from moving to Canada is the tipping culture. Tipping is actually expected in most jobs across the service sector such as restaurants, salons, Uber, etc. Coming from a country where tipping isn’t standard practice it came as a shock.
In Nigeria, trash is trash and I never had to sort my trash. However, here, every household has two bins- one for recyclable items and another for organic waste. And you have to sort them properly before disposal.
Here, you have to pay to operate a bank account. It was one of the hardest things for me to wrap my head around – paying a bank to keep my money. “Negative interest” is unheard of in Nigeria but it definitely is a thing here. There’s also the credit card system that encourages you to spend money you don’t have to build your credit score and oh if you aren’t disciplined and go beyond your limit without due repayment, you are on your own; your credit score badly tanks and this affects you in many ways. One more thing, you better have reminders so you pay back as at when due.
You’ll pay through the nose for your data and mobile services as mobile plans here are quite expensive. The good side is you get value for your money in terms of speed and reliability. Lets just say the service is quite ‘swift’ and more often than not, leaves you ‘smiling’. I learned to ensure I don’t spend more than the allocated data or I get charged overage fees. On the bright side, it’s a WIFI-enabled country so it’s best to always check if WIFI is available around you and use that.
Prices tags aren’t the actual price; this took some getting use to. Imagine seeing a beautiful jacket only to get to the check out point and realize additional 13% will be added because tax! A bummer but in time you get used to it and do your additional calculations on prices you see.
Health care is *free* for permanent residents but dental and eye care aren’t. Also, it will be a good idea to get health insurance pending when your health care benefits kick in. I learned this the hard after fainting at a mall (not because I was overwhelmed with all the amazing items story for another day) but after the ordeal, my bill came to $800… Let’s just say if fainting wasn’t that expensive, I’d have fainted again.
Repairs are expensive
I miss the days when I could easily walk into a tailor’s shop to get things fixed. Here, it is so hard to find handymen and even if you do find someone who specializes in repairs, the sad reality is that getting things fixed often costs as much as buying a replacement.
Gardening becomes the biggest pastime in many parts of Canada during spring/summer. I watch in awe as my neighbors put in so much work with their flowers for three months and then when winter kicks in, everybody morphs into jacket & boot wearing creatures.
Time is money
Literally, there is no need for extra long hours because *eye service* or any of that hypocritical shit. Here, you get paid for every second spent actually working outside regular time.
It is ok to politely ask for help as people are very responsive and helpful. Don’t use strong head and get lost while commuting, better ask somebody for directions. Quiet mouths don’t get ‘fed‘ right?
Apartments and building spaces are generally tiny (compared to Nigeria) so you gotta learn to make the most of and beautify smaller spaces
Networking is King
There really isn’t a hard and fast rule to get jobs but a good resource to have is networking. Referrals and recommendations are a big deal here so important to build those connections. Also, being modest does not always pay off when interviewing , so when asked about yourself, SELL YOURSELF!!!! (Truthfully sha)
Alcohol is pretty expensive and you can’t get it at your regular grocery store.
Canadians love having small talk before meetings. It’s either they are talking about the weather, baseball or a cabin they spent the weekend in. Sadly, these ones don’t watch Big Brother Naija .
Some lessons on settling in;
Never compare your journey to anyone else’ The fact that someone got a job in one week doesn’t mean you will and doesn’t necessarily mean you are the problem. your path to growth and success is unique.
Everyone will have an opinion about your situation and how to ‘settle in’, the best areas to live, the best mobile service to use, etc. in the end, the decision is yours on what to do.
I have learned that even if you delay your arrival to avoid winter, it will be waiting for you in front, it will still hit you hard, you can’t escape it so come and join us. HAHA
Those are some of my lessons from moving to Canada. Let me know if you too have learned some interesting facts about living in Canada or whatever city you’re in.
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