A new life in Canada for Damien and his family!
Expatriating to Canada as a family: Damien's testimonial!
He settled in Montreal in July 2023, accompanied by his wife and three children. A Java developer, he talks about the beginning of his adventure with Maplr.
Freshly arrived in Canada, he tells us how he and his family have experienced this change of life!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name's Damien, I'm going on thirty-three and I'm from Clermont-Ferrand in France! I have been a web developer for several years. In the course of my career, I've worked mainly in PHP, and I've been doing Java for two years now.
I'm married with three little girls aged 7, 6 and 1.
We arrived in Canada June 2023.
Why did you decide to move to Montreal as a developer?
Our move to Canada was motivated by a desire for a change of environment. I was starting to feel a bit stuck in my previous job, so I wanted to move on professionally, but I didn't want to move to Paris. That's when I said to myself "if it means changing my life, why not go to Montreal? I immediately put the idea to my wife, and as she was used to traveling, she was immediately enthusiastic! It became a joint project. Then, after doing some research on the Internet, I quickly came across the Maplr website!
What was it like to tell your children about your move to Canada? ?
My daughters are quite young and it's worked out really well!
We explained to them that we were going to live elsewhere and that there would be a change of school. We also had to explain that we'd be further away from the rest of the family, especially the grandparents. It's true that you have to expect a bit of a downturn from time to time, since grandma and grandpa aren't around every day. Nevertheless, the announcement was no more difficult than that.
Did you encounter any difficulties when you arrived in Canada as a family?
The only difficulty we encountered was the wait at immigration. We had to wait more than four hours on the spot to get my wife's work permit. I have to admit it was pretty intense with the three kids. It's something you have to take into account in theexpatriation process.
My advice would be to be well prepared for this stage. ☝️
Also, we were worried that we wouldn't be able to get to our Airbnb with all our luggage. In the end, we managed to fit our six large suitcases into a cab, along with the stroller and the whole family. A real success!
👈 Our lives were in this luggage. 😄
What is your first impression of the city of Montreal?
The first thing you notice is how airy it is! Although I'm not a Parisian and had access to a lot of space at home, I'm really happy to be back in a big city where I don't feel oppressed.
By the way, how did the housing search go?
As a first step, before we left, we booked an Airbnb for a month. This is what I recommend to all new arrivals, whether you're alone or with your family. It takes the stress out of finding a place to live, because you know there's a roof over your head when you arrive.
Once there, we had time to find a car, do our initial paperwork, visit the city and get our bearings before settling into our long-term home in a neighborhood we liked!
Most rental leases end around July 1ᵉʳ. That said, we have not encountered any particular difficulties in finding accommodation to our liking. In the end, we opted for a house in Brossard, on Montreal's south shore.
What level of English did you speak before coming to Canada?
Another reason why I came here with my family is because of the bilingualism present in Canada. For me and my daughters, it's great to be in a bilingual environment. French is very present in Montreal, but you quickly realize that English is too: in the stores or in certain trades, for example. It gives us a chance to practice our English.
What's more, there areEnglish classes at school, which is a very good thing for our girls' education. Some of the families near us are English-speaking, so the girls are exposed to the language, which is an extra opportunity to learn it!
What was the transition to school like for your daughters?
One of my daughters was born at the end of the year and was due to enter CE2 in September, which is the equivalent of the 3ᵉ year of primary school in Quebec. Then, according to local rules, she would have had to repeat her CE1, but in the end it was fine.
My advice would be to find out all you can about the Quebec education system before you leave, so you know what to expect on arrival, because it's not the same system as in France.
Have you noticed any differences with France?
Of course it is! In Montreal, there's the presence of the English language, as mentioned above. We're not at all used to being confronted with English on a daily basis in France.
Otherwise, in terms of standard of living, I'd say that what I miss most is sausage 😂! I've only just arrived, so I don't yet have my own shopping habits, but if you want to find exactly the products you used to eat in France, it can be more complicated. What's more, the prices of imported products are more expensive, as are telephone and insurance services.
Do you have any plans this summer with your family?
As I've only just arrived, I haven't yet had the chance to discover everything about the Maplr community, but I'll be at the famous Maplr chalet this year with my whole family!
ℹ️ Do you dream of living the chalet experience with Maplr? 🇨🇦 Like Damien, sign up for our support program 👇
Then we have a little ritual at the office where we all have a morning coffee together, comfortably seated on the sofas. It's a great way to meet my new colleagues.
What advice would you give to parents thinking of moving to Canada as a family?
So, if these are provincials used to cars, I suggest you get one quickly!
Indeed, here, spaces are vast and it's really more practical for everyday life, if only for shopping. The streets are very long, so it can be difficult for young children to walk all that distance!
📍 Discover the neighborhoods.
How was your expatriation with Maplr?
Even though we arrived in July 2023, ourexpatriation processwith Maplr started a year earlier!
We were accompanied by Maplr right up to the last minute, and even today we're well looked after. We had regular meetings with our guide Camille to prepare our departure as well as possible.
Before our departure, our family was able to take us in while we sold our car and finished the final preparations. With Camille's advice, we decided to expatriate in the spring, in May, to be more practical with the whole family.
Maplr has been a great support to us!