Long post alert.
There were edits made after few comments from my friends in Canada to add more details. This makes this extreme long post from long post.
This is not to discourage people from moving to Canada but to rather help them take right factors in consideration.
Yes, I regret moving to Canada. I moved from India’s most happening city ‘Hyderabad’ from one of the Big4 firms. That being said, neither am I a high flier nor someone who draws high/exorbitant salaries (upwards of 1 lakh per month).
Unlike many, I did not spend a fortune to come here or spend dizzying amounts of my savings. Yes, I did spend significant portion of my savings, it is not just that high when I compare it to my peers who moved here with their families and are still trying to get a job.
Did I not get a job here and is that the reason why I regret?
No– I did get a decent paying job in my area of expertise within 3 months. No qualms here. It is just good networking/ referrals/ family friends who helped me get a job.
Was I not able to accommodate to the culture/ are people not good enough?
People here are extremely friendly.
My friend who I knew from India who got a job here before I came to Canada was more worried about me that I was not getting a job.
My friend’s brother’s best friend’s wife helped me get the job. Let that sink in. I was that lucky to have such a great friend and such lovely people here. I cannot thank them enough. They are like my extended family now.
Why do I regret?
When I was researching if I have to move to Canada, I considered a few points to make the move.
I thought free healthcare, eh, how many countries in the world would do that?
My research was wrong.
As cool as it may sound, it is very slow. I had to wait for a week to get an appointment for an ultrasound scan for my wife because she is suffering from stomach ache. God knows what would happen if the cause is diagnosed after some damage already happened.
If I was in India it would have been done in a few hours. The cost even if I would have to bear it will be very small. Doctor visit in a walk-in-clinic+ Ultrasound+other tests+ medicines would have cost me at the most 3000 INR (60 CAD).
Just FYI: The cost of a colonoscopy in Asian Institute of Gastroenterology (the most famous hospital) where even Prime Minister of India had his surgery costed me INR 2000 (40 CAD).
I was covered by my company back home for 5 lakhs per annum. Not just me, my wife, my parents and my future kids. Now 5 lakhs is only $10k. However, in India, any major surgery can be completed within 2 or 3 lakhs in a upscale hospital. My uncle had a heart attack and the total cost of 2 stents to be implanted in his heart was 3 lakhs.
My parents now are not covered by insurance in India. I will have to buy them an insurance plan.
If someone is coming from India and one of his considerations is free healthcare, think again- You are coming from a country to which even citizens from developed nations (mostly USA) go for low cost healthcare services.
Education for kids
Many studies placed Canadian schooling as the 2nd or 3rd best in the world. I thought it would be a great opportunity for my future kids.
I was wrong in my assessment. I misread the report. The studies consider public schooling system in the country for the rating. Yes, the public schooling system in India is pathetic. Do I really want my kids to join a public school in India? No.I would have had them joined in a decent private school. The education if not on par would at least still be on par with Canadian public school.
If you are coming to Canada considering this as a factor and you make good money back in India, think again- Private schools are really good in India too.
Who are we kidding? The rents are sky high. I knew that before coming here. However, I did not know that even to get a unit when someone is willing to pay the rent, it is never easy. I applied for 8 condo units and 5 apartment units, all of which rejected my application since there were more than 5 people who were bidding for the units and the house owner had a choice to pick from. The apartments buildings had a waiting list. I am talking about some decently maintained apartment units like the Morguard ones.
Now two of my friends got a place relatively fast forcing me to think again- if I am unlucky or considered moving during wrong time or if he is lucky.
I was trying to get answer to this question when another friend of mine mentioned me that searching for rent is like mini-job search here. You will need to put in as much effort as job search.
My search for job drained my energy. Right now, I am not ready for another round of energy drain.
I ultimately made peace with staying in a basement with my wife.
Canada has a housing crisis and most are not ready to admit it. Think again.
This is very specific to me. However, just jotting it down because there might be someone like me. I am someone who would draw energy seeing people. Imagine the number of people at midnight in Hyderabad and the traffic.
Now, the so called most densely populated Greater Toronto Area (GTA) during the most busy hours, is like Hyderabad during midnight. Such low is the population here. Heck, I have to walk at least 10 minutes to find some person in person and not in car. I feel like I am lonely. I landed in June, during summer, even then in downtown Mississauga, I hardly found people.
While some might enjoy the solitude, I feel like I am lonely sitting somewhere on the edge of the world.
Weather- Sun and Cold:
While I was in India, I used to curse my stars that it is so hot in India. After I came here I hardly see sun during winter (which started sometime in October- for me). May be it is for good. I am now realizing what I missed. I miss the sun.
The weather is a nightmare. I knew it is going to be cold. However, I am not prepared for this level of cold. Knowing is completely different from experiencing it. No, I am not considering staying out for extended periods of time. I am talking of walking from my home till bus stop (which is 2 mins, waiting for bus and then walking from Square one till my office which takes 10–15 mins). During the cold snap, it is hell. The cold is not bad, the wind during the cold is.
A little more detail:
Download a weather app, see the temperature, now scroll down and look at the section where it mentions about ‘feels like’. That is how it actually feels like.
I am talking of wind blowing to your face, it feels like it is cutting your face with a knife. Your body generates more fluids. Nose generates water and eyes too. Now imagine your eye drops freezing when you close your eyes to get rid of eye drops because you do not want to take your hand out of pockets. (Mostly in Jan and Feb- not like that everytime)
It is cold as hell. You cannot even go for a walk outside during winter without properly getting dressed. In India I can just go out even during the coldest day here with a pair of slippers and in shorts and a t-shirt.( This is during fall- not winter)
Am I chickening out at the first sight of winter?
What do you think is the favorite pastime of even Native Canadians (exaggerating a bit)?
What do you think is the favorite topic of conversation for small talk (very essential softskill here)?
Answer: Cursing the winter
Food (Eating out)
I get it. Canada is a multi-cultural paradise for food. There is no cuisine in the world that you will not get here. That is freaking expensive. A normal dosa for 12–15 CAD, dinner for two in a restaurant 30–40 CAD. Now before you jump the gun and say I am converting everything to INR and hence I feel they are expensive. Even when you think about in only dollar terms, it is expensive. Just to give you some context, imagine a time (15–20 years ago) when someone used to earn 5000 rs as salary. Now, when you go back to that time, how much was a dosa or a idly? Imagine the same in CAD now.
If you want to cook, it is normally not expensive even by Canadian standards.
Retirement is costly here. Canadian govt provides some pension that will be barely enough for you. Even if you earn 50–60k per month in India and invest a decent amount somewhere like Mutual Fund and likes, you can get a far better retirement in India. I am not even considering the family support system that you will get if you are in India.
Well, never considered retiring here. This is for people who want to leave India for good.
One area where Canadians bury their heads in sand and pretend like no problem exists. Not comparing it with India.
Freaking expensive. Even after you consider the low population density and operating expenses.
Cost $50 for a person(only sim) and low cost provider like Fido/ Freedom.
Friends and Family:
Let us not even discuss, I might cry here in office.
Are there only disadvantages?
There are many positives too.
- The international exposure you get at work is international in its true sense. There is at least one national from each continent in my team where I work.
- The work you do matters. You will immediately find the difference b/w the work you do on outsourced project and the work you do when you are the business. Exposure increases multiple fold. In India, very few get such exposure, usually restricted to someone from top tier B Schools.
- Work-life balance- 8 a.m to 4 p.m
- Pollution is very minimal (let’s just say non-existent if you are coming from India). Let me illustrate, go to the outskirts of Pune for trekking (may be into a forest), the AQI here is better than that too.
- People are uber friendly. When I lost my way when I went to get my OHIP card, sensing I might be confused, this girl came across from the other side of the road, and asked me if everything was alright and if she could help me. When I told her my location, she opened her Google maps app (I did not yet take a phone by then), and guided me to my location, shared her number and asked me to contact in case of any questions. That’s the sweetest thing someone has ever done to me.
- Canada during summer is paradise. Oakville and Burlington’s lakeshore road took my breath away. If that is what happened to me with some random area in GTA, I cannot guess how it is if I visit some real natural locations across Canada. I am sure they will put even well renowned world tourist locations to their place.
Am I moving back because of all of this?
Not right now!
I made a decision to move to Canada and before I move back home, I would want to make enough money to buy a home (1 CAD is still 50 INR) in India.
Someone asked why Hyderabad is great?! Found this article on the internet ..Here it is:
This is written keeping in mind the people coming from different states (provinces) to Hyd to make a living.
Also, another user commented that I am just whining:
For God’s sake, here is an article from insauga.com, one of the most referred websites of Mississauga for city’s news. This lengthy article talks of how dire the housing situation is in Mississauga and surrounding cities where there are any jobs available.