How I Became a British Expat living in Toronto

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How I Became a British Expat living in Toronto

For as long as I can remember I had always wanted to live in North America. I mean who wouldn't want to live in a city like New York or Chicago etc? A colleague of mine suggested Canada to me as it was his dream to move there one day. If I am honest I had never thought about moving to Canada before, but after lot of research I decided to just bite the bullet and move to Toronto. I am going to show you the steps I took and how I became a British expat living in Toronto.

When I Decided to Move to Canada

January 2008 was when I decided to take the plunge to move to Canada. I was living in London at the time working in the corporate world of retail fashion. Living in London meant that I was surrounded by a lot of diversity and exposed to many different expats from around the world, so I was fortunate enough to get some great advice about becoming an expat myself.

Starting the Visa Process

I was tipped by a colleague to contact a company called Bunac who were based in London and specialised in gap year travel. It was through them that the path to Canada became so easy. They did all the hard work, all I did was submit an application form and send them a cheque for £250. After a couple of weeks they replied and advised me that I had been accepted onto the programme for a one year open visa. Financially I saved up like crazy and paid off any existing credit cards and loans. I felt like the journey was now beginning!

Securing Employment in Toronto

Whilst the paperwork was going through I decided to be honest with my employer and I told him of my plans to move to Canada. My boss was actually great about the whole thing, he even gave me great job hunting advice and effective interview tips to help me stand out from the crowd. 

I contacted Canadian recruitment agencies and I literally blitzed my CV out there to practically every job vacancy in my field. Once I arrived I secured two interviews, one of which I was offered - four weeks after arriving in Toronto. The company was fantastic, I could not have wished for a better employer. They were a large multinational retailer, they had awesome facilites available within the building such as a gym, personal trainers, a basketball court, dry cleaning etc etc etc. Everything you needed was available, a stark contrast from any employers I had known in the UK. 


Sponsorship and Immigration

After a few months of working for my new employer, I decided to approach both my VP and Director about the possibility of being sponsored. I already had a great relationship with both of them. I went above and beyond than my current duties, partly because I loved being there but mainly to show them I would be worth the sponsorship. To my amazement they agreed and not only did I get sponsored for permanent residency but they also paid for the entire thing, the lawyers, the fees, everything! 


My First Few Months

One of the best parts about using Bunac were the instant friends I made who were also going on the same Canadian adventure as myself. Bunac had arranged contact between myself and eight other British expats and for those first few days we depended on eacother for companionship and starting our new lives. After a few days I found a house share in Downtown Toronto and made even more friends. My whole experience felt like a dream come true. By this time I had a great job, I was paid more money than I had ever been before, I made lots of friends and the Canadians just loved my 'ghetto' British accent. 


My Canadian Experience

In total I stayed in Canada for five years before moving back to the UK. To this day it was the the best experience of my life! I made some wonderful friends, I had fantastic experiences and they truly welcomed me. Toronto will always have a special place in my heart. 

So that was my story of how I became a British expat living in Canada, where theres sheer determination theres a way, and if I can do it then anybody can!

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