INDIA TO CANADA

30 Dec

So I have been receiving a lot of requests and DMs asking for more information on my move to Canada. Instead of answering the same questions over and over again, I thought its better to put it all together in a blog. I know each case is different and you may still have some very very case pertinent questions. I am happy to help you all with the best of my knowledge. But here are a few frequently asked questions that I wish to put together. Let me know what you think.

But before that … a little about myself and my story in brief.

I am a media professional of over 10 years of experience in TV (Fiction and Non-Fiction content) from Mumbai, India.

I used to save over a year and make a trip to Europe / some other country. Somehow I felt that these limited days of travel doesn’t give you a feel of what it is to live in another country and be a local. All my life I have lived and worked in Mumbai. I do not come from a travel savvy family, so all my travelling in my life was a result of work trips or leisure trips (only when I started to earn and save on my own).

Hence the move! Wanted to move to a country that is a) first world b) English speaking (as I am not fluent in any other language apart from English) c) where I can work in Media / Films

Husband was on board to this thought. So we started looking at our options. Canada seemed like a great country, inviting enough to make the move fast. Age was a factor to be considered, as beyond the age of 30 your credit score starts adversely affecting. But we still decided to go ahead.

I was 32 when we started the application process.

No Agents Please: I did not want to hire an agent because I just did not have the money for it. All you have to do is read the website carefully and fill up the forms and get your documentation right.

Please Note Documentation might take up some time/months, especially if you are dealing with Mumbai University.

First, you express your will to apply. The entire process is online! There is a draw done every month. Whether to make it to the draw or not, depends upon your credit score. For example: if the cut off for the draw is 432. Your credit score should be above 432. All those you have expressed a desire (by filling in the necessary application forms online) and have a credit score of 432 and up will get an invitation to apply. This is also called as ITA – Invitation to Apply – basically, Canada government says that you are eligible to apply. Please Note: This does not mean that you are accepted for the PR program. 

Once you have the ITA – you have 90 days to send in your application. (They keep changing the buffer time, so please refer to the official website for the exact number of days). 

This means sending in the documentation that you have been working on all this while. They have another 90 days to react (accept/deny) the application. 

Selecting the city/province to land: You will get a job that will give you a good living but doing what you love to do might take some time and efforts. But you will get there… sooner or later .. there is a system and an organised way to go about every job/profession here … you need to find out which is the right city for your desired work profile… 

I chose Vancouver for the move because

  • It was in close proximity to my sister (who lives in California) and super close to my college friend who lived in Surrey (which is part of Greater Vancouver)
  • It doesn’t get as cold and snowy as the rest of Canada
  • It is a coastal city just like Mumbai – which means lots of fresh Fish! 

d) its close proximity to Hollywood, which means better chances of finding a media-related job. 

After you have made this choice and sent in the application, all you have to do is WAIT. 

Till the time you receive an email from the Canada Government mentioning that your PR is approved. AND THEN you are READY TO FLY. 

This is when the real struggle begins. You need to prepare to move to another country. This requires planning – financial, mental and physical. 

Financial Planning: The most important one of them all. You certainly don’t want to land up in another country with a piddly amount in your pockets. ‘I came here with 15 dollars in my pockets.. ‘ is not a story that your grandchildren would be impressed about. They might think you were a fool to do so. That’s why I insist on planning much ahead. 

Check on your savings. Avoid borrowing money from friends or even family for that matter. I had put together my bank savings, mutual fund investments, Provident Fund and some Fixed Deposits. 

Physical Training: India is a tropical country. I was used to hot and humid weather. Going to Vancouver. Hence choosing when to land is very very important. Along with that, I made sure I was exercising regularly before I left. I was in my best shape ever  – this made me feel a whole lot confident! So do what works best for your confidence. 

Mental Preparedness: Whatever said and done you are going to another country and this is not for a few days of travel. This is forever. Saying goodbye to your friends and family is the hardest part I would say. Make sure you meet a lot of your friends and family before you go and binge on a lot of good food! These are the two things you won’t get for a few months now. Make sure you are prepared to live in a frugal/minimalistic budget till you get your work life going. 

WHEN TO LAND?

I chose March as the month of my first landing in Canada. I had never visited North America, so I had no idea what the cold would be like. Hence I chose a time in which the weather would progressively get better. Landing from 33 degrees Celsius from Mumbai to 14 degrees Celsius in Vancouver was still a big jump. Also, I would suggest people plan their first landing, just before spring or summer.

a) summer is the time when people are generally happy and accepting. you also have tonnes of small jobs that you can immediately take up for initial days of survival. 

b) Avoid coming in winter – escape the cold rains and the possible depressing moods. 

I was travelling all alone, hence I chose March for my landing. This also gave enough time for me to explore and settle in before my husband could travel. If you are a couple who is planning to move, I would suggest, one person should stay in India and the other one should move ahead. 

Side Note: If you travel alone you are exposing yourself to many more experiences, both good or bad. If you are excited about this, then I would suggest go ahead and make the first move. It’s fun. 

LANDING PROCEDURES : 

Pehli baar ek hi baar hota hain… so make sure to make it extremely special and memorable. Enjoy this trip to the fullest and always remember there is help at every stage of your travel. So Don’t Worry. Upon landing you will be guided to submit your landing papers (that is part of you PR approval email). The officers are very very sweet and welcome you with a big smile. They ask you a few questions about your documents and Voila ! you are done … you have landed and are officially the Permanent Resident of Canada. 

After I landed, I had planned to stay with my friend for a month. I like to get out of the house, explore, walk and make new contacts. I was sure if I sit at home, I would be depressed and bored to death. Plus I was living in Surrey (which is like living in Navi Mumbai). I was far away from the hustle of the city life and this was a clear invitation to depression. Hence, in the very third week of my landing in Canada, I took up a job in a cafe. 

a) the cafe was Tim Hortons situated in the heart of the downtown area of Vancouver. This made me travel a whole deal every day and explore the city. Also, I made sure I lined up appointments for every single day post work. 

b) working in a cafe takes care of your meals (lunch/breakfast) depending on the timing of your shift. 

c) I made sure I took up a job with maximum interaction. This helps work on your accent, educates you about the slangs people use, how people behave in public, and yes gives you a chance of what they wear. 

d) you also get used to the local currency.

e) no-one and I repeat no-one knows you in this new country, so the hell with shame! 

Networking is the key. Everything here works on networking, and it’s not the way it is done in India (like chal na bhai tere liye main kar ke dunga… bas tere liye…) Since I work in Media I would only be able to write about that. 

Here people are very very professional and vocal about networking for work. There are ample networking events that I suggest you must start looking out for and registering yourself. It’s very very important. I got my first gig as an AD at one such networking event. A lot of work happens through Facebook. 

Join MeetUp.com and search for some networking groups on Facebook (there are tonnes of them) 

Grooming yourself is very important after you land here. By grooming, I mean being in tune with the local Canadian life and culture. It just helps you connect with people better. Listen to the radio for current political debates, current hit songs, try and remember a few celebrities, journalists… these are great conversation starters. Also, radio helps sharpen your accent and educates you on the general sense of humour.. Get the accent right, and learn to laugh over your own accent… it’s totally fine… and its fun to see how we pronounce certain words differently. But then there are some Indian words that they cannot wrap their heads around… for eg: Turmeric… here they say Too-mer-yik … Once a girl laughed over my pronunciation of a certain word .. and I laughed over her pronunciation of Turmeric… and we both ended up becoming good friends. 

 

To get your accent right and just to learn the way the locals speak… I would suggest just take up a small job wherein you have maximum interaction with local Canadians. For eg: I worked at Tim Hortons for the first month. This humbled me a lot and trained me in the local accent. I used to just observe people: the way they talk, the way they dress, what makes them hyper, what calms them down… just observe and learn… its good fun … and cafe is the best place to experience all of this. I must admit this was a very humbling exp too… There were days when I felt terrible about it … (because you know in India we were never taught dignity of labour. Being empathetic to your domestic help is a different thing and actually doing that work is a whole lot difficult) and washing duty days were the worst of the lot … But I knew that I am not doing this forever…and the fact that no one could recognize me out there … so that was for sure re-assuring … 

If you take up a job like that make sure to take it up in a happening – downtown area … the crowd is better and there are lot many things you can do and explore after work. 

 

Shed your identity you might have worked as a boss or someone as a team lead … be prepared to work at any profile .. or any order here… (didn’t I tell u its a humbling experience !) 

 

Volunteer this is another way of meeting new people and networking. Even if it is or isn’t in your field of expertise … try and look out for some volunteering work… This helps build in your resume by adding some Canadian experience. You giving your time to something is regarded very high in the culture here. So feel free to mention your volunteering gigs in the resume. 

 

Meet New People 

Try and pick up a hobby if you don’t have already or a sport or something that will make you go and meet new people. 

Get on Meetup.com : this website has a lot of groups (walking, dancing, work related conversations, dating, yoga, trekking, etc) I suggest join these groups and go for there meet ups.. its fun… mind you there would be occasions when no one turns up.. not even the host of the meet-up… trust me… either ways you will have a story to tell ! 

 

Vancouver is a city that sleeps early, doesn’t party till late in the night… This was sort very difficult for me to get along with initially… but later on I re-scheduled my life according to the life here.. So me and the city have now made peace with each other … Plus its very very silent here… just like the english movies … no ambient sound at all… so it took me a while to get used to this silent… (as i am typing this right now .. the sound of my keyboard going click-clack is the loudest in the room) 

 

Life here Weather-dependent. People are generally happy when the sun shines are very much to themselves when it doesn’t. So be ready for that ! 

 

Courtesy and Appreciation are two main virtues that one must have to get on with life here. Thank You, Please, Sorry is the way to go. Don’t hesitate to say these words whenever and wherever you can. 

 

The problem of Plenty this is the biggest problem here. you go to buy a simple bulb and there are tons of options. You will learn this slowly… but there are ample options for every little thing here… so you need to be wise what you buy and from where… I will not bore you with my shopping smartness here. but let me tell you one very very important thing … please please ONLY BUY ORGANIC staples from the grocery shops. GMO foods are available here everywhere and are very cheap and lucrative. DO NOT buy those. And don’t buy a lot of stuff in the first three months. I lived a minimalistic life till the time Gaurang joined in here… and its fun… 

 

Be Patient, Breathe! In Mumbai / India we are used to thinking and act very fast. People here are super slow in their thinking and actions. So don’t let your anxiety feed on these situations. Take deep breaths. Do not show that you are impatient for them to get to the same point. This may make you feel that you are disrespectful. And respecting one another is the third biggest virtue here. 

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Works in Documentaries and Film Industry, Canada Always on a 'SEE FOOD' DIET

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6 Responses to “INDIA TO CANADA”

  1. DEEPALI khatkhate December 30, 2018 at 9:39 am #

    All I can say is I’m really proud of you and looking forward to get whatever you have in mind or wishes.keep it up

  2. Swarge smita December 30, 2018 at 9:40 pm #

    Khupach chhan lihle aahes

  3. Anonymous January 1, 2019 at 1:57 am #

    Priyanka mam..while i was reading this i had goosebumps… what a drastic change and acceptance towards a new world altogether…very keen to read your next blog..and all d vry best…

  4. pdlight January 12, 2019 at 10:45 am #

    Thanks So Much ! Do keep Reading and giving me Feedback. It will help me improve my writing !

  5. pdlight January 12, 2019 at 10:46 am #

    Thanks So Much SMITA KAKU ! Do keep reading and giving me Feedback. It will help me improve my writing !

  6. pdlight January 12, 2019 at 10:49 am #

    Thank YOU Thank YOU Thank You !!!!!!

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