Cross country moving is never easy. Moving to another continent is a task that requires even more responsibility. When you decide to move somewhere very far away, to a country with different traditions and totally different levels of economic development, it is a big step and you may even be scared by your expectations.
I was born in Kazakhstan and lived all my life in the beautiful city of Almaty. When I told my friends and my relatives that my husband and I are moving Toronto Canada, very few people supported my decision. To be honest, at first, I was distracted and even upset by other people’s opinions. The society of Kazakhstan is very conservative, most people find it difficult to accept the traditions of the West.
My parents were unpleasantly surprised. Some of my acquaintances said I was interested in wealth accumulation and thought I would get rich instantly right after I crossed the ocean! And I couldn’t even tell my boss about this because he would fire me on the spot!
The decision to move to Canada was not a spontaneous one. I thought carefully about the advantages and disadvantages before making my decision. And I was weighing up the facts, not the opinions! It has been 2 years since I arrived in Canada and I have never regretted it! I think every person is unique and there is no universal truth about the pros and cons of long-distance moving.
Here I would like to point out some differences that I encountered as a newcomer in Canada. Some situations are just different, they are challenging, but I do not label things as “good” or “bad” here.
Here in Canada my understanding of safety changed a lot. For example, I used to be afraid of policemen, when I saw a patrol car passing by I would think I had done something wrong and would be punished. Here in Canada people trust the police and are eager to cooperate. When an accident happens anywhere, the police, fire department and ambulance will be there in minutes. And what is more important, Canadians obey the rules not because they are scared, but because everyone understands and values the benefits of a safe environment.
When I was leaving Kazakhstan, I thought of myself as a highly experienced restaurant manager and I thought that my hard work and my desire to move forward will open many doors for me but I was mistaken. As a newcomer, you usually start from the lowest positions, and literally you rise from the bottom to the top. Personal recommendations are more important here than all your diplomas and certificates, this is why everybody is focused on developing their soft skills and building a network. The top positions are never advertised on the job market, they are being discussed only within a certain network of people.
Canada is the land of immigrants, everyone knows that. But it is only when you are actually here you can feel this spirit of equality. It is legally prohibited to discriminate against skin colour, religion, beliefs and gender here. Personal identity is valued and respected everywhere. In my home country, the society is conservative. They downrate women in the workplace. There are certain jobs where women are not allowed to work and get less pay than men in equal positions. This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to live in a more contemporary society. Here in Canada you can become anyone regardless of your age and gender.
Cost of living
I was prepared for the fact that life in Canada is expensive. Everything from food to furniture costs more than back where we came from. And what is very interesting, the prices in Canada for the same item are higher than in the USA. If you are buying something online. For example, the tax would be added if you ship the thing to Canada. Taxes are really high in Canada, and it is through taxes the government provides social assistance programs and free healthcare. The first time I came across it was when I was looking for local Toronto movers that would help us upon our arrival. It was an unpleasant surprise for me when I paid more for the Toronto moving service than I expected – just because I totally forgot to add the tax!
The feel of the city
I am a city person. I love metropolitan cities and the dynamic life there. When I made my decision about relocating to Canada, I would be moving Toronto or maybe Vancouver. You can find some buildings dated back to the 19th century. There are some older parts of the city where Victorian-style architecture dominates, but most of the places boast postmodern styles. Compared to Toronto, my native city Almaty was founded more than 1000 years ago, this is why it has so many historical buildings and places that reflect the unique national style. You may find really ancient styles neighbouring with soviet era buildings with modern glass and concrete style. Toronto is very bright and vibrant, it is 10 times more dynamic than Almaty, and I enjoy it.