Hanging out in Van

Getting Along With Canadians: The First Meeting

Before I write anything else, I must first say this:  it’s impossible and ridiculous to generalize about an entire nation in terms of its ‘culture’, especially one as large and ...

stomp

But It’s Just a Canadian Travel/Holiday/Unimportant Visa – Right?

WRONG… Imagine:  A travel agent or visa company helps you with your Canadian travel visa.  You don’t bother to check to see if the company is associated with an Authorized ...

Its OK to celebrate.

Who Can Help You Immigrate: Part Four

Now that I’ve established who can legally represent you (see Parts Two and Three), you need to know how to choose someone.  With so many choices out there, how do ...

Recent Musings

Claire's hike

New-Year Style

I’ve decided to start the new year with a new post written in a new style.  Instead of having a specific topic and title in mind, I have not yet decided what this post will be about and will write stream-of-consciousness style until a topic naturally emerges.  A new year seems to be the perfect […]

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Vancouver Street

My Top 5 Things About Living Abroad

Living abroad as an expat worker, international student or immigrant has its ups and downs, pros and cons.  There are moments when you experience the highest of highs and feel like you never want to go back, and others when you experience the lowest of lows and feel like returning ‘home’ is the only way […]

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students

English Language Proficiency Exams: IELTS

This is the first of a series of posts on the various English language proficiency exams that people encounter when planning to live, work or study in Canada.  As a certified English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor and licensed Canadian Language Benchmarks Placement Test assessor, I am familiar with most of these exams and […]

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Hanging out in Van

Getting Along With Canadians: The First Meeting

Before I write anything else, I must first say this:  it’s impossible and ridiculous to generalize about an entire nation in terms of its ‘culture’, especially one as large and diverse as Canada. Canadians can’t even really agree on what it means to be ‘Canadian’, so analyzing Canadian culture certainly has its challenges. However, I […]

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stomp

But It’s Just a Canadian Travel/Holiday/Unimportant Visa – Right?

WRONG… Imagine:  A travel agent or visa company helps you with your Canadian travel visa.  You don’t bother to check to see if the company is associated with an Authorized Representative because the company says they know what they are doing or because your friend used that person last month and his visa application was […]

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home

Emigration: Leaving Home or Going Home?

The post below was written while on my flight from Amsterdam to Cape Town.  At that time, I was only intending on staying in Africa for two months. It’s now been 2.5 years and I have no plans to return to Canada.  Sometimes, immigration is accidental!  This post is very special to me…I hope that […]

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table mountain

Thoughts on the Expat Life

I wrote this about a month after I first arrived in Cape Town, South Africa – thought I should re-post. March 2, 2010 Living as an expat is one of the most exciting yet stressful things a person can experience. It allows one to be a voyeur, able to watch with fascination, but also lends […]

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Contrastant -- Contrasting

Culture Shock – It’s Real!

I previously touched on culture shock in my post about pre-immigration syndrome, but I’d like to explore it here in a bit in more detail. Most people have heard of culture shock and quite naturally associate the term with the challenges involved with adapting to a new culture, whether during travel, living as an expat […]

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Its OK to celebrate.

Who Can Help You Immigrate: Part Four

Now that I’ve established who can legally represent you (see Parts Two and Three), you need to know how to choose someone.  With so many choices out there, how do you decide? 1) Look for the ICCRC logo and or references to a Canadian law society on a company site.  If you see either of […]

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Nunavut License

Tales From a Port of Entry Officer

As I mentioned in the ‘About’ section of this blog, I am a former Canadian immigration officer and former Canadian customs officer.  In countries where government jobs are not highly paid or respected, such jobs might sound rather undesirable, but in Canada, positions with the federal government are highly competitive due to their higher-than-average pay, […]

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