There are several benefits of living in Canada says, Patricia D’Souza-Lobo, who is now a Financial Controller for the Anglican Diocese of Toronto.
By Lisha Gomes | Opening Doorz Editorial | October 31, 2021
Opening Doorz to Patricia D’Souza-Lobo and her story of moving to Canada and her perspective on migration. Anyone considering relocating outside of India can learn from Patricia’s story and #StoriesFromOutOfIndia.
We at Opening Doorz are making an effort to help you in making an informed decision (through stories like these) if you are one of those who are looking to make that move.
Patricia is currently the Financial Controller and Head of Finance for the Anglican Diocese of Toronto. However, when she moved to Canada as an international student in the year 2013, doing her post-graduation in Business at Humber College, Lakeshore, she began doing odd jobs as her fees were very steep.
“All your experiences depend on your attitude, so have an open attitude and be open to new opportunities and experiences that the place has for you,” says Patricia about her move from India to Canada, a country she has comfortably settled in with her husband.
Over to Patricia…
When did you decide you want to move out of India?
I wanted to move abroad right from the time I was in Grade VI. My parents were looking to migrate while I was in school but because of prior commitments of taking care of their parents, the shift never happened. When I was in college, one of my friends moved abroad and that is when I decided to make the move.
Why Canada. Why not the US, Australia or New Zealand?
When I was planning on moving, immigration were more focused on the United States. No one thought of moving to Canada; it was just known as this place abroad that was cold. So I hopped on the bandwagon and tried for the States, but to my hard luck they had shut down immigration. Canada and New Zealand were the other two viable options left and since I had relatives and friends there, I planned on moving to here. I moved to Canada on January 01, 2013, as a student, which then got me a three-year work permit. As of July 2019, I am a citizen of Canada.
How were the initial years? Was the place welcoming, were you missing India or its chaos?
I moved to Canada as an International Student and it was extremely hectic. The fees were twice as much as the citizens paid, so I started looking for jobs alongside managing school and everything else. With balancing studies and work and managing so many other things, I didn’t have much time to miss home, which was both a good and bad thing. When I was in Mumbai, taking the train to work was plain chaos—you had to push and squeeze your way in and would end up not getting a seat! Here, there are plenty of seats available and no chaos, this was one of the positive changes and I didn’t miss the morning rush. I am someone who likes spending time at home but I did end up making really good friends. So for me, the place felt extremely welcoming.
How difficult or easy was the process to go to Canada?
Since I was moving as a student, the immigration process was very straightforward. There were a few hiccups like trying to negotiate my loan. There was also an issue with my fees since the college said that they had not received it. Later, we realised that it was paid under my Dad’s name. We then figured the whole scenario and fixed everything. Because of these slight mishaps, the process was a little stressful for me but the process otherwise is very straightforward.
How would you rate the quality of life in Canada as opposed to India?
I love it here. Some people miss home (India) because there are more events, places to go to and people to meet. I like it here because one gets more freedom, you’re mostly to yourself; you get your privacy. The travel is very convenient, there is a good work-life balance. Saturday and Sundays are off which is not so common in India. The Labour Laws are strict here, which is a positive aspect. You work 35-40 hours a week, if it exceeds, you get paid extra. Medical is covered by the Government. Canada has a year of Maternity Leave which can be extended up to 18 months, which I’m doubtful other countries offer.
On the other hand, I have had friends who have hated it here. I think it’s all about perspective and perception. If you have a post of a Director or a Manager before moving to Canada, you cannot expect the same post when you move here. One has to be open to doing all sorts of odd jobs. I moved as a student and didn’t have a set lifestyle so it was easier for me to adapt and adjust to the new lifestyle and take up anything to get through here. It was the tough times and odd jobs at the beginning that helped build me up for the future.
How is the quality of education in Canada?
The things I studied while doing my post-graduation in Business in Canada, was very similar to what I did in my XIIth grade in Mumbai. So it was comparatively easy for me. India focuses more on mugging and memorizing whereas here more importance is given to practically applying what is learnt. We had more case studies, case writing, comprehensions and multiple-choice questions. Given my background of memorizing everything in India, I found the education system here easy.
Do you think age plays a role in shifting and adjusting to a new place?
Absolutely. When you’re in your 40’s or 50’s you already have a fixed lifestyle. However, if you’re in your 20’s, nothing is fixed. You are still exploring and are adaptable to change. You’re open to new options to build your way of living. Settling in a new place becomes easier when you have an open mind.
What are some of the minus points of Canada?
The cold is the biggest minus point. Winter lasts six months, it gets dark in the afternoon and there are times where the temperature hits -40 degrees! We try to dodge that by staying indoors and going out as little as possible and luckily, we don’t have to be on the road much for our jobs. Even social life gets very restricted. People in India are very habituated to various social gatherings and the throbbing heat, so it does get a little difficult to deal with this change. Another minus point is you have to do everything by yourself, from washing and cooking to plumbing and drilling. Labour is very expensive; most houses don’t have maids unless you’re well off. This is also a plus point to some extent because every job here, no matter how big or small is treated with dignity.
Would you recommend a shift to Canada for people who are toying with the idea of migrating here?
Migrating is a very big decision and I don’t think I’m in a place to advise people on the same. For me, Canada has worked well, but that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. If I have to recommend something, I will say come to Canada on a tourist visa and test the waters for yourself. Get an idea of the lifestyle and other things before leaving everything and migrating. When it comes to Canada, visit the country during winter so you know if it’s manageable. The standard of living is extremely good and there are several benefits of living in Canada.
What is the one thing people migrating should keep in mind?
When you migrate to a new place, you need to have an open attitude. All of your experience and the way you feel depend on your attitude. You’re going to a different place and it’s going to be different. But if you think I need to get this particular job and need to have this particular lifestyle, you’re going to hate it, because it might not turn out that way and it will only lead you to be disappointed. Just keep working hard and be open to what this place has in store for you and you will love it.
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