1. Make sure you say a proper ‘goodbye’ to your native country 🌎
Leaving everything you love and are familiar with behind is tough… It’s important that you properly close that chapter in order for you to fully embrace your new Canadian home! Homesickness will inevitably rear its head at some point. However if possible, I advise staying in Canada for at least 6-12 months without visiting “back home” to fully give it the chance it deserves.
Before you leave, spend lots of quality time with your favourite people, places, and foods. Ensure your loved ones understand your reasons and allow them to get involved with the moving process. Take lots of photos to look back on and schedule those facetimes so you know when you’ll be catching up next. Have a goodbye party and celebrate! It’s an exciting new adventure you’re about to embark on and your “old home” will always be just a flight away.
2. Take care of as much of the “life admin” as you can ✏️
“Future you” will thank you when you land in Canada and have more free time to explore your new neighbourhood!
– Gather and clearly label all of your paperwork in an easily accessible folder for quick reference (e.g. immigration, education, personal funds, driving documents, birth certificates, vaccine records, employment & accommodation references, etc.)
– Organize medical insurance to cover you for the first 6 months in Canada to be on the safe side.
– Order Canadian currency to tide you over until you can open a bank account (anything over $10,000 CAD will have to be declared at the border.)
– Officially inform *everyone* that you’re leaving the country (e.g. taxes, jury duty, student loans, etc.)
– Look into daycares / schooling if you’re a parent.
Whatever you can check off that list, do it!
3. Register for my ‘New to Canada’ virtual socials 💻
Each month, I host a Zoom meetup for internationals thinking of making the move to Canada, as well as those who have already arrived. Any awkwardness at the start is quickly gone as we are always such a fun and welcoming group! Join us from anywhere in the world, we love answering your questions about life in Canada and you could even make a connection with someone living in your area. Expect insider information, top tips & advice, pets, Netflix recommendations, and a lot of laughs…
4. Google “Newcomer / Settlement Services” + “location you’ll be living in Canada” 🤝
It’s only since I launched the Newcomer Collective that I’ve realised the true scope of FREE support and resources that are available for newcomers to Canada. It’s crazy how much is out there and how nobody really knows about it…
There are 200+ Settlement Agencies that are funded by the Canadian government that offer free support in the form of job search help, language classes, webinars, events, immigration advice, and more. It’s definitely worth a quick Google and some emails!
5. Start building your Canadian career from abroad 🧳
I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you, building a career in Canada is notoriously difficult for a lot of immigrants. It’s a LOT of work. So take this time before you arrive to focus on your job search strategy!
– Ensure your resume is up to date and in line with Canadian standards.
– Spruce up your LinkedIn profile.
– Gather your references and a portfolio of past work.
– Start building a list of your “dream” companies and connecting with current employees.
– Attend online networking events. Ask people for a virtual coffee to share advice.
– Start to think outside of the box for ways to stand out and attract employers to you!
Click the button below to read my blog post on building your career in Canada. At the bottom of the post, there is also a full list of related podcast episodes that you can dive into. Good luck!
6. Listen to the New to Canada podcast 🎙️
Tune in to the show to hear directly from internationals from around the world who have chosen Canada as their new home. We chat all about their native countries, why they moved to the Great White North, and all the lessons they’ve learnt along the way. The show has amassed 170,000+ unique downloads and features the stories of people from 50+ different countries.
7. Get into the right mindset 🧠
Moving to a new country and rebuilding your life from scratch is a HUGE deal. It can be easy to focus on everyone’s social media highlights and feel like a complete failure when things don’t quite go to plan when you get here… Taking some time to prepare yourself for what to expect and accepting that you’ll have to be flexible and resilient will make *all* the difference.
Check out these resources:
- Blog Post: The Emotional Rollercoaster of Living Abroad
- Podcast Episode: Top 5 behaviours to avoid when you first arrive that could sabotage your progress.
8. Join lots of Facebook groups ✔️
Aside from following me over on Instagram of course (@TheNewcomerCollective) – Facebook is definitely the best place to connect with other newcomers to Canada. Simply search your nationality + where you’re moving to and there are bound to be groups filled with others making the same move as you.
Be a little cautious as these groups often descend into negativity about Canada and what people miss from their home countries, so take it all with a pinch of salt! Despite this, they are a great place to ask for advice if you’re in a pinch, as well as make new connections.
Bonus tip: Use the group’s search bar to see if your question has already been asked – You could get an instant answer!
9. Research the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and what native land / territory you will be living on 🧡
As a newcomer to Canada, it’s important that you learn about and appreciate the history of the land you will be living on and its peoples. Canada is famous for its stunning natural landscapes and we should always honour and treasure them accordingly.
Colonization and white settlement are a major part of Canadian history and there are still many issues that Indigenous peoples in Canada are facing. We must not only educate ourselves but actively advocate for change as well.
“Home on Native Land” is a great place to start – It’s a FREE self-guided course (including videos, cartoons, and lessons) about Indigenous justice in Canada — with Anishinaabe comedian Ryan McMahon.
And last but *certainly* not least…
10. Join the New to Canada Academy! 🎓