After a long process of filling out papers, waiting in lines, and the act of uprooting your existing life, take a breath – you’re in Canada now!
That said, it’s time to get your affairs in order to prepare you for life in the Great White North. There are a lot of things to know, but here are four of the most important things to do once you arrive in this great country.
1. Find a Family Doctor and Health Insurance
As a new immigrant in a new country, you’ll want to make sure that you basic needs are covered first and foremost, and that includes getting a family doctor and receiving provincial health insurance.
Fortunately, Canada has a universal health care system, which means that many of your health needs will be covered by the government (in return for paying higher taxes). That said, not everything is covered. As an immigrant, you should look into expat health insurance.
Either way, you don’t want to face any health concerns in a foreign country, so do yourself a favor and find a family doctor as soon as you can after immigrating.
2. Find a Bank and Build Your Savings
If there’s one thing many Canadians have, it’s debt. Managing your finances is crucial in an expensive country like Canada, so do yourself a favor and establish a chequing and savings account at a reputable bank as early as possible.
If you feel secure with your money, it might be wise to get a credit card. Credit cards should only be used when it is absolutely necessary, but they are worthwhile for building a credit history. Your credit rating improves when you pay off bills and loans in a timely manner. The better your credit history, the more likely you will be approved for a loan, a mortgage, or other large purchases.
Keep in mind, though, that many banks have monthly fees, and credit cards will charge interest if left unpaid. Therefore, it is very important to compare rates at different banks in order to choose the most financially beneficial one.
3. Take in the Culture and the Lifestyle
It’s very important that, after immigrating to Canada and taking care of some basic needs, you be a tourist for a while! Get out there and try new things, see the countryside, talk with other Canadians, experience the local cuisine.
You want to feel part of your new country, and staying at home isn’t going to achieve that. That said, getting used to the new and exciting things about Canada is as important as adjusting to the things you may not like.
Any new place is likely to make you homesick, though, so it’s important to stick with it. Soon enough, you will feel like a real Canadian and you’ll feel as proud as anyone else here.
4. Find Opportunities through Networking
What’s the best thing about travel, arguably? It’s talking to, and getting to know the citizens, right? Once you arrive in Canada, start talking to people! If you feel you’re English isn’t great, this is an excellent opportunity to improve it, as most Canadians would be willing to help.
If you choose not to socialize, however, you may experience loneliness and longing for home. Moreover, most Canadians, in fact, obtain work through networking (most jobs aren’t posted online). An opportunity for work, or a friend, a relationship, or even new activities may arise once you start including yourself in Canadian society. So go join a group on Facebook or Meetup.com that suits your interest and start talking to people. You’ll feel right at home in no time.
Immigration to Canada isn’t easy. There’s a lot of work, time, and luck involved. That said, I wish all prospective immigrants the best luck and that you will find joy in a new life in Canada. Follow these helpful Canadian immigration tips, however, and you should find no problems at all.