I first connected with Lawretta on Twitter in my first months of landing in Canada. I was intensely homesick and I had been tweeting a lot about needing to build a tribe in Toronto. She reached out to me via DM and very compassionately gave advice. She spoke to me about negotiating my room lease agreement and giving myself time to settle in here. She also kindly accepted to feature on the blog. Read her thoughts below:
- Introduce yourself in an artistic way (You can chose to give your government name or not)
Hello everyone, my name is Osehise Lawretta, my friends call me Etta and my family members call me Osehi. I am a lawyer, businesswoman and student. I do charity work through my involvement in Rotary and my personal efforts. I love God and I am deeply spiritual, I am fun (id like to think) and outgoing. You could say I’m a people’s person.
- When did the idea of moving to Canada first strike you?
It started when I was doing my Masters in the UK some years ago but I wasn’t really interested as I was eligible to get my residence in the UK (which I did) however I was determined to go back to Nigeria and make an impact. I love Nigeria and always wanted to live there and travel the world. After several years, I realized our beloved country had seriously deteriorated and as you can imagine I had lost my Permanent Residence because I did not stay back in the UK. In December 2015, my brother was in Nigeria for some events and we had a really long and personal conversation about relocation and this time I listened and was a bit amenable to it, so I would say I really started thinking about moving to Canada in 2016. Visiting Canada also gave me the much needed push to start the process.
- What method did you arrive into Canada? (Student, PR, Canadian Citizen by birth, Refugee, other)
I applied through the Express Entry stream of the Federal Skilled Workers programme so I came as a Permanent Resident.
- How long have you been in Canada for? (Be inventive :))
I landed officially in January 2018 in the thick of winter and stayed until March, went back to Nigeria and came back fully in the middle of June. So I haven’t been in Canada that long.
- How did you decide on the city you finally settled in?
That wasn’t difficult at all, one would have thought that because my brother is in Canada I would automatically go to his city which is Toronto, Ontario but I had other plans. I currently live in Calgary, Alberta and this is where I landed as well, one of my best friends and her family live here but strangely enough I didn’t want Toronto because there will be too many distractions as I’ve got loads of friends there and the social life is awesome. It wasn’t even an issue from the onset as I knew before the application that I was going to Calgary as its more closely related to Abuja where I lived in Nigeria in terms of calmness and serenity while Toronto is more like Lagos.
- Did you continue in the same profession here that you practiced in your home country?
I intend to continue practicing law here but it’s a long process to get there. One needs to get their credential assessed and the National Committee on Accreditation then specifies how many exams you have to write to earn a certificate of qualification, then prepare for the exams, after which in Alberta you are required to Article, take the CPLED exams ( all of which for some people can take up to 4/5 years). I have started the journey and also intend to do a few other certifications along the way.
- Any main or side hustles to mention?
In Canada not yet but when I’m fully settled I may delve into the beauty business as I have sold weaves for over 8 years and I love makeup as well so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and see where the road leads.
- What mistakes have you made while on this journey?
I’m not sure I can think of any to be honest, because I have lived outside of Nigeria before, I already had an expectation of what to expect and the Canadian system is kinda modelled after the British system.
- What are you most thankful of in your journey?
I’m most thankful for my support system here in Canada. To be honest that’s the most important feature in my opinion. People to guide you and tell you what to do, where to get things done and all. I always say your first contacts in a country determine how your journey will be, where you will head to and your level of determination and preparedness.
Hahahaha , money does not grow on trees!
You will not get a job immediately you land!
There’s no jumping queue!
You can’t shout anyhow!
No taking amala and gbegiri to work!
You are starting all over again!
You will miss Nigeria!
Winter is coming!!
- Knowing what you know now, would you still relocate to Canada? Why?
Yes I definitely would and probably would have done it sooner. As hard as this may sound to say, it’s a saner society. There may be pockets of violence but there’s more value for human life, everything is orderly and there’s an expectation of what you are getting. Basic amenities are guaranteed and planning your life is easier, especially the fact that you do not have too much to worry about.
As a side note for anyone preparing to come and live in Canada , what I can say is focus on “Preparation, Patience and Perseverance”. Its not a one day journey and its not a land filled with honey but if you truly know what you want, then go for it. I also advise people that if they can afford it, they should land, spend a few weeks, do documentation, see the city and head back home and prepare for final relocation.
If they cannot afford it however, then they need to come prepared for life in Canada and understand that nothing good comes easy and the night is always darkest just before dawn.
Welcome to Canada in advance !!!