Life in Canada: Filipino migrants share their stories
Moving to a new country can be a life-changing experience. Though every country can be different, new migrants go through quite similar experiences. Many Filipinos choose to migrate to Canada, as it is a beautiful massive country that offers vast and diverse opportunities. So some may wonder, what is life in Canada like?
To give you an idea, the Kabayan Remit team interviewed five Filipino migrants to find out what their life in Canada was like when they first moved to the country and after they settled in.
Why move to Canada?
Every migrant has a different reason for leaving their home country. Those that come from low-income countries like the Philippines tend to search for better opportunities abroad. The five kababayan we interviewed all chose to move and started a new life in Canada for quite similar reasons. “Like everybody’s decision, I relocated to Canada to have greener Pasteur,” Faust shared.
Similarly, Saneli Ann and Mark Anthony also wanted to start anew and have a better life in Canada. Saneli Ann wanted “to have a better future and to have a better salary,” whilst Mark Anthony “decided to move to Canada because they offer a better compensation for nurses and better opportunity for immigrants.”
Meanwhile, others migrate to provide a better life for their family. For Mary Ann, moving to Canada meant she could provide “better opportunity and good future for [her] kids”.
“I did it for the future of my family para kasama ko sila kahit nasa abroad ako (so I would still be with them even if I’m already based abroad),” Hazel Joy added.
Though they all made a decision to move to Canada, they didn’t choose a particular province to move to. “The only available program that suited my experience was in Quebec,” Faust shared.
“Quebec, at that time, offers the fastest visa processing for nurses and has the highest demand for the nursing job. So I opted to apply thinking processing would be much faster and it turns out I was right,” Mark Anthony added.
Challenges to starting a new life in Canada
Relocating to a new country halfway across the globe may seem like a great idea. However, it also comes with challenges. It’s not easy to be thousands of miles away from your family, especially when the time difference makes it even more challenging to stay connected. For Mary Ann, “the cultural barriers and weather made it difficult for me to adjust here in Canada quickly. Of course, being separated from my family didn’t make it any easier.”
“Homesickness was the biggest challenge for me. There was also a language barrier since they speak French in Quebec. Moving abroad, you can’t help but also experience fear — fear of the unknown on what would happen next, among others,” Faust added.
Like Faust, Saneli Ann also admitted that she couldn’t help but feel scared. “When I first moved here, I feared what the future holds. The winter was another challenge, of course, since Quebec is one of the coldest provinces in North America,” Saneli Ann shared.
Like every non-French speaking migrant who moved to Quebec, Mark Anthony found it difficult adapting to the language. “The language was a big challenge because most people speak French and you will have a hard time if you don’t speak even just the basics. Also, even if you are already a professional nurse from your country, you need to study again to be considered as a registered nurse and to start practising as a nurse in Quebec, Canada.”
How did you overcome these challenges?
It’s not that easy to fully adjust and settle in a new country. If you’re moving for work reasons, you may need to do further research and see if the country you’re moving to accepts your existing certifications and qualifications.
As a nurse who moved to Canada, Mark Anthony thought that the easiest way to adapt to the country was by pursuing further education. “I gathered information and found out that Canada and the province of Quebec offer free educational assistance in learning their language and a continuing education for those who want to practice their desired profession.”
For some, like Saneli Ann, optimism helped her overcome these hurdles. “I trained myself to have a positive outlook in life. I embraced change. I strengthened my faith in God.
And sometimes, determination is all you need to succeed. “I accepted the challenge. It wasn’t easy, but I was able to overcome the difficulties by focusing on my work and the goals I set for myself,” Mary Ann shared.
I learned to fall in love with the country!
Despite the challenges they went through, our kababayan eventually fell in love with the country. They all agreed that there are a lot of different things to admire about Canada.
“I love everything about this country! The people, the place, and the security of our future,” Mary Ann shared.
“I think the diversity and the benefits they provide to immigrants in order to start a new life here are fantastic,” said Mark Anthony. Quite similarly, Hazel Joy appreciates the benefits migrants like her receive from the government. “Canada is a great country to settle in. Their government is very helpful.”
It’s also not a surprise that other migrants simply fell in love with the beauty of Canada. Saneli Ann eventually fell in love with the French language and the tourist spots in Quebec, whilst Faust enjoys the European feel the province of Quebec brings.
Advice to incoming Filipino migrants
Every single one of our kababayan may have had a different experience migrating to a new country. But one thing’s for sure – they all shared some things in common. They all left home, moved away from their family and started a new life in Canada. And so, our interviewees were happy to share their advice to fellow Filipinos who wish to move to the country.
“Don’t give up on your dreams. Keep pushing for them. There will be challenges, but as long as you know you can keep going, then don’t stop,” Hazel Joy shared.
Similarly, Mark Anthony shared, “never give up on your dreams. Always believe that there is a lot of opportunity surrounding us. All you need to do is choose wisely. For those who want to settle in Quebec, the challenges will be 2x harder, but it will all be worth it. And make sure you bring your winter coat!”
Saneli Ann advises newcomers to “never give up and never get discouraged. A person with determination can make his/her dreams come true,” whilst Mary Ann suggests that readiness is the key. “Prepare for the challenge. It’s very different here in Canada.
Faust reminds those who wish to relocate to Quebec that the language and the weather may be of a shock. “If they expect you to learn basic French, go for it. You should also stay mentally and physically healthy because of the intense Canadian winter.”
Staying connected to your loved ones in the Philippines
Moving thousands of miles away from family is not easy. We, at Kabayan Remit, understand what our fellow overseas Filipinos go through. We know how important it is for you to send your hard-earned savings through a service provider you can trust. That is why we offer a fast, convenient and affordable money transfer service to allow our kababayan to send money to their families back home with peace of mind.