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Moving to another country is a major step in life that can be both exciting and stressful at the same time.There are a few ways to eliminate your anxiety from your move by preparing and learning a few simple facts. Here are a few helpful tips:

Pre-Move Planning Pre-move planning is critical for making your move both successful and enjoyable. Consider the following one month prior to your departure for Canada:

Sell or get rid of unnecessary belongings.
Get estimates from shipping companies. Decide on the shipping method to suit your needs, timeframes and budget.
Get estimates for pet shipping services. An air-worthy animal crate will need to be ordered and is custom built to your pet’s specific measurements. Each airline has a different policy on the transportation of live animals. Contact your airline of choice directly for costs/regulations/shipping requirements for your pet.
Gather up all of the required documentation you will need on landing in Canada and within the first few weeks after your arrival.
Know where you are going! Canada is an immense country, being the second largest country in the world. Many newcomers are not familiar with the geography of Canada and do not have a true appreciation of its vast size and the diversity of its people, its landscape and its climate from coast to coast. When you are choosing your settlement destination, decide whether the following factors, such as strength of the local job market, cost of living, access to affordable housing, weather patterns and basing your decision on arbitrary factors. Your choice of destination can have an enormous impact on the success of your settlement and your future in Canada. Find out about at least three Canadian destinations and research the areas in detail before choosing where to finally settle. Look for destinations that will benefit you and will fit into your type of lifestyle.

Waiting for visas! While your visa application is being processed, you will have lots of spare time. Canada is a bilingual country, having French and English as there two languages. If possible, take classes or work with a tutor to improve your speaking and listening skills to make you feel at home.

Do you speak the language? One of the most important skills is adapting to the language. Learning the languages of Canada (English or French) is key in order to be socially active, and more successful in finding jobs, and communicating with people.

Choose your moving date wisely! Canada is a place where you need to be precise when choose your moving date. Moving to Canada in the winter can present a number of problems. Winters in many parts can be very severe with snow for months at a time and temperatures as low as -40 degrees. Arriving during these harsh conditions just adds further stress to you and your family. If you must move during the winter months because of your visas, at least make sure you have pre-arranged accommodation and some reliable transportation available for your arrival.

Have a quick look! Take an exploratory trip prior to moving (if possible)! This will familiarize you with the environment and give you a better understanding of whether Canada is the place for you. It may also give you an opportunity to meet with some potential employers to drop off your resume ahead of your permanent move.

Don’t bank on it! Consider leaving your bank account and visa account in your country of origin open for the first few months after you arrive in Canada. Wait until you become established with banking and credit in your new location before closing out these old accounts. As soon as you arrive, visit your local bank manager, introduce yourself, explain your needs and build a relationship from day one. Open a bank account and apply for a credit card.

Arriving in Canada! Everything will be different once you arrive in Canada. You will be homesick for a few months, but hopefully that will all change. Most newcomers experience these feelings as they settle into their new life. You will soon realize that these feelings are quite normal and allow yourself to relax and enjoy the differences around you. Adapting to a new home and lifestyle will take a while. That’s normal. Be patient and Ask questions! Learn about life in Canada from speaking to people in your neighbourhood, at church or at your children’s new schools. Making friends is key to feel more comfortable in a new area. This will help you to get involved in your community and make you feel less like an outcast. The more motivation and commitment you have the more support you will receive in return from people around you. Canadians are a friendly people and more than willing to help you adapt to your new life.

Culture Shock It is highly likely you will experience culture shock within your first few weeks or months in Canada. Culture shock results from experiencing a new and different way of life with all its inherent ups and downs. Although culture shock can become overwhelming at times, knowing how to cope can make a big difference. Find out all you can about the culture and you will be better prepared to cope if you experience those feelings.

Health Insurance To receive free public health care services in Canada, you must first have a provincial health insurance plan card (Health Card). It is very important to apply for your Health Insurance Card as soon as possible after you arrive in Canada to secure your safety and health. Each province administers its own health insurance program so there may be some variations for eligibility from province to province. In most provinces, you will have to pay a monthly fee for this insurance. Provincial health insurance does not cover the cost of prescription drugs, dental care, ambulance services and prescription eyeglasses.

No Credit history? You may wish to purchase goods or services on credit in Canada and as a newcomer; you will have no credit history here. Your credit cards from home will provide you with a stopgap until you receive a new credit card. It is imperative to build a good credit rating in Canada. Your credit rating is a measure of your credit-worthiness or in other words, your record of borrowing and repayment. Without a credit rating, few institutions will lend you money!

You can never be too prepared! Start researching in advance for your satisfaction, and to learn about your new destination. Good preparation will save you time and money. Also by doing this, it is a major stress reliever instead of worrying about everything and not having a plan. Begin by learning some quick facts about Canada; Weather, Voltage, Public holidays, Canadian money, Tipping, Measurements, and others.

Moving to a new country is a major step in life and a courageous one at that. It also offers new and exciting opportunities for you and your family. I hope these tips will give you the breakdown of what to expect and will help you to adapt to your new life.

I hope that this has motivated you, and good luck with your move to Canada!

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