Dear Team BlackMigrantGirl Blog,
I am eager about celebrating my black sisters and brothers who have migrated on their own terms from wrongly perceived ‘third world’ countries to Canada. This newly introduced guest feature will on a month to month basis share the inspiring stories of these everyday people. Their courage in leaving all that they know behind and their drive to begin all over again, in a new country; new region is worth celebrating.
This 1st guest feature is by Miss P. She was introduced to me by a mutual Nigerian friend, and she arrived in Canada in May 2018. I have written about her previously- here and here. As fellow JJCs (Johnny Just Come) in Ontario, we have gone on picnics together and eaten a lot of badly cooked Jollof rice. Miss P went through a really tough time renting a place in the GTA. She eventually had to pay for 4 month’s advance rent (which is an illegal practice perpetuated by home owners) to secure a place.
She writes about it below…
1. Introduce yourself in an artistic way (You can choose to give your government name or not)
For the purpose of this blog post, I shall be masking my government name. But you can refer to me as ……….. Miss P.
I enjoy good food, great company, love, and laughter because simple pleasures rule :). Love my mum to a fault. Trust me, she’s the best thing to happen to me.
2. When did the idea of moving to Canada first strike you?
So I did not learn about migrating to Canada until April 2017, and I was not entirely open to the idea until after about 6 months after – October 2017 precisely.
3. What method did you arrive in Canada? (Student, PR, Canadian Citizen by birth, Refugee, other)
Came in through the Federal Skilled Workers Program, as a Permanent Resident.
4. How did you decide on the city you finally settled in?
It’s not possible to incorporate all of your desires into one place – this is an unavoidable fact of life. They have to be a few trade-offs, which might be agonizing to decide between. However, some of the factors which ranked high on my priority list were:
- Employment Opportunities: From my research, there are a number of manufacturing companies in GTA (Greater Toronto Area). So it was almost impossible that I settle elsewhere
- Transportation: Access to public transportation was a big deal for me, at least until I am able to get the appropriate driver’s license and afford a car.
- Nearness to amenities: You’d be surprised at how life might become slightly difficult if you can’t get groceries in a timely manner. Proximity to stores was key for me.
- Crime Rate: In today’s world, crime is inevitable, sadly. However, some places are safer than others. With every house viewing, I went for, I had to check out the crime rates in those locations.
5. Did you continue in the same profession here that you practiced in your home country?
So Engineering is a licensed profession here in Canada, and it takes a minimum of 4 years to be a fully licensed Engineer. It is my wish to continue with Engineering, however, I am open to exploring any other field that might spark my interest in the interim.
6. What mistakes have you made while on this journey?
Depositing all my USD in the bank. I have learned that there are a few companies that offer better exchange rates out there. Secondly, my bank gave me a credit card monthly limit of $500, which is like the lowest offer out there 🙁
7. What are you most thankful for in your journey?
I am thankful first off, for the opportunity to have a fresh start in life. Thankful to all who made this big move possible, and for the beautiful friendships I have made thus far.
Also, I have been able to rent a house after 2 months of The Ultimate search. This wasn’t easy in any way, as a number of landlords don’t want to transact business with you once they learn you’re a newcomer.
Relocating is a BIG move you make only when you are ready for it – physically, mentally and emotionally. I mean, I took pride in the seemingly vast research I did before arriving in Canada. But I can tell you clearly that there are a number of things that nobody or the internet tells you. In Canada, everything is tied to everything. You can’t open a bank account if you don’t have a proof of address. You can’t rent a place if you don’t have an employment letter or a credit report. Which is the one thing I want to touch on – CREDIT REPORT. I cringe upon hearing those words. I have heard them more times than I bargained for. I am well aware that Canada operates a credit based system, but then it is almost IMPOSSIBLE for a new immigrant to have a credit history. It takes between 6-12 months to build. I would have thought that there might be some caveat for new immigrants in this regard. I really hope somehow there is and it’s just me who has not found this out because it can get a bit frustrating when you’re asked to provide something you do not have.
9. Knowing what you know now, would you still relocate to Canada? Why?
Yes, I will. I say this because I am here for better opportunities, which I have not lost sight of, regardless of the obstacles along the way.
10. Sign Out 🙂
I am so cool, Akata allowed me to post this without signing out 🙂