“Having a buddy is fundamental when you move to another country”
I’m Eduard Samà Casanovas. I was born in Barcelona (Spain) and I went to the university in Barcelona and Madrid to get a Bachelor’s Degree and MBA. After the crisis hit Europe towards the end of 2012, my then girlfriend, and now wife, lost her job. It became quite clear to us that there were not many options for her to develop her career in Spain, so we decided to leave everything behind and move to Canada in September of 2014. We landed in Toronto, where we have been living since then.
Moving to Toronto was a unique experience. Although you face similar challenges when moving abroad, Toronto has its own way when it comes to the basic things, e.g. finding where to stay for the first few days, getting a phone number, opening up a bank account, learning how the labor market works, etc. After some time though, we learned the ropes and things improved for us. We had a baby boy 1.5 years ago and we discovered new passions: from cooking classes, to making home-brewed beer with friends, to discovering the amazing nature Canada has.
Moving to a new country is always a tough experience, no matter
how many times you have done it. Finding the right info for basic services,
banking, government bureaucracy, housing, etc. is hard. Unless you have a buddy
to guide you in the right direction, you’ll be lost many times. It is also very
important not only to know how things work, but also to take strength from the
small advances you make day-to-day. We were quite lucky because two very good
friends lived here when we moved and one (who is an expat himself too) was kind
enough to host us until we found a job and a new apartment. This was a huge
help and gave us the confidence we needed to keep going when we didn’t see
positive results as soon as we expected. Thus, we learned that having a buddy
is fundamental when you move to another country. For us it was a game changer
and we are all part of the family now. We meet almost every weekend, our kids
play together, and we can’t imagine our lives without them right now.
Our plan now is to stay in Canada. Once we had our son, our
perspective changed and the priority now is him, so making sure that he’s
raised in a country where he can have the best opportunities is key in our
In closing, I would encourage other expats to reach out to other
expats, to share their thoughts and needs, and to ask for help when needed. After
all, there are plenty of other expats in Canada in a similar situation and
endless opportunities to meet them: friends of friends, new colleagues from
work, your school’s alumni network, etc. They also moved to a foreign country and
have much empathy for the trials new expats have. They can help you. Once
you’re settled, I would also encourage you to help new expats too.