Expatriate web developer in Montreal since February 2019: interview with Mathias
Mathias was born in Korea, adopted in France and has now adopted Canada.
Passionate about cooking, photography and Escape Games, he is a big part of the Maplr family thanks to the events he regularly organizes. Always motivated by a happy hour or a new discovery, we are really happy to have been able to help him accomplish his project of living in Montreal!
Mathias decided to join the Maplr family because Paris had become too small for him. He now lives and works in Montreal, the largest French-speaking city in North America. We took the opportunity to ask him a few questions to find out more about his expatriation experience.
How was your expatriation to Montreal?
I arrived one morning at the airport and 8 hours later, I found myself in front of a customs officer who told me (among other things) "welcome to Canada" and that was it!
And if we go back a bit further, I met Maplr (via a friend who was also a candidate at the beginning), they introduced me to a company, it worked out (more efficient than Tinder?) and after a few long weeks of paperwork and especially of waiting (quite stressful) I received the sesame: the work permit.
What difficulties did you encounter during your expatriation to Montreal?
The biggest challenge: making choices when packing, Maplr is there for the rest!
What do you think of the support offered by Maplr?
There are two phases in the expatriation project: the pre-travel phase, when you think about/plan everything (you try); and the post-travel phase, once you are there.
Seen from France, moving to Quebec doesn't seem that complicated: they speak French, it's still a western culture society. It seems that it was even a part of France, a while ago, so it should be easy... But, as for any big trip, there are a lot of little questions that you ask yourself: how does the public transportation work, is it reliable? Can I take kitchen knives in my luggage? Will I still be covered by the health insurance if I come back to France for a vacation? Will I be able to get in and out of the country easily once I'm there?
And then, on top of that, there are the questions we are asked ("we" being the Canadian immigration department): passport of course, but also detailed CV, criminal record extract, biometric fingerprints to be taken in a special centre (and so on). This, only to be given permission to fly to customs and apply for a work permit (I'm hardly exaggerating).
The administrative process, although it seems to be quite well run on the Canadian side, did not seem to me to be the simplest, and was even somewhat stressful. In short, one could think, at first, that it is simple... Hmm not so much... add to all that the stress of the (big) departure, it is really not so simple anymore.
But, always full of good will and optimism, Marion from Maplr accompanied me throughout the process, which greatly simplified things both on the material level (cf. my biggest difficulty), and on the psychological level: it really helps to be more serene to be well accompanied.
"Maplr's support throughout the process greatly simplified things, both materially and psychologically: it really helps to be more serene to be well supported!"
Web Developer in Montreal
And then there is the post-trip period, once you have arrived on site, (re)settling into this new country... which is not so different, but a little different all the same. It is sometimes surprising, sometimes confusing... but here again Maplr accompanies us, or rather I would say that once you are there, you really become part of the " Maplrfamily "!
What do you think of the cost of living as an expat in Montreal?
It's not easy to evaluate, it's quite subjective and Montreal is a big city (you can find everything at all prices). In my daily life, if I tell myself that 1$ is like 1€, as I earn more dollars than I used to, it's fine?
On a more serious note, if I compare the share of my monthly budget by expense item, I am financially much better off here.
- Paris (16th district): about 43% of my net income
- Montreal (equivalent neighborhood): about 30% of my net income
Lunchtime catering :
- Paris : about 6% (brasserie, fast food, or sandwich shop) of my net income
- Montreal: about 7% (brewery/restaurant every day) of my net income
Fixed" charges (internet, cell phone, water, electricity, heating, insurance, building charges, council tax, etc.):
- Paris : about 10% of my net income
- Montreal: about 4% of my net income
Be careful, this figure can vary a lot, depending on your personal choices (internet speed, insulation of your home, etc.. But here, there is no housing tax, and overall the energy is really cheaper :)
This leaves me with about 49% of my income for my leisure time, compared to 31% in Paris (I still deducted 10% for groceries and/or other expenses, but again this figure varies a lot depending on individual choices). Overall, my purchasing power has increased, but it can be noted that I have no particular medical expenses, no children, no car.
If you need more information about the cost of living in Montreal, this article this article is for you.
How did the Canadians welcome you?
Canadians are very kind, polite, welcoming and open.
What do you like most about Montreal?
It's hard to say what you like most. I haven't been here that long and at the same time, it's a city in which you feel at ease very quickly.
I think what I really appreciate here is the relationship with time, which is not the same as in my life in Paris, here, we have time!
On the pro side, are there any differences with France?
I haven't had the opportunity to see different companies in Canada yet, so I'll speak for myself, but I've been to a few different companies in France, and I've never seen a company with a hundred people all in the same big room. The bosses give us a speech every week: there is a great proximity / horizontality of management.
But I think the most important thing about work is that they (Canadians) have understood that you don't have to live to do well at work, you have to work to do well in life!
Any last words of advice for future expats in Montreal?
Hurry up! ?
Want to try your hand at an adventure in Montreal?
If you also want tohave more time anda better work/life balance? Then join the Maplr family. In addition,on is actively looking for someone motivated to try the new trendy activity in Montreal: lightsaber combat! ? So don't hesitate!
At Maplr, we will help you find your IT job in Montreal for free and assist you in all phases of your relocation. Our French-Canadian team is here to guide you and give you all the information you need to start your new life in Montreal with confidence!