View All Stories

From Cape Town to Canada, shared Immigrant Stories

This image has an empty alt attribute, its filename is Info-Session-FBLITW-6.png

For anyone who has moved abroad or is thinking of immigrating to a new country, taking the plunge can be daunting. In this Spring Blog Series we explore fellow expat stories and their experiences on moving to Canada.  

We’re kicking things off with Jennifer, her husband and 2 children, who moved from Cape Town, South Africa to North Vancouver, Canada. Here’s what she had to say about her experience:

When and why did you decide to emigrate?

We immigrated in May 2022 in search of greater career and lifestyle opportunities. I also have family and friends in Canada so it was a great fit.

Where is your hometown?

Cape Town, South Africa

What was the main reason you moved countries? 

Freedom of lifestyle, greater infrastructure and opportunities for the kids. We were on the lookout for a family-friendly destination and Vancouver, North Shore has been a great place to settle, due to its proximity to the city, mountain, water and close knit community. 

How easy or complicated was the immigration application for Canada? 

It was complex when looking into it and researching all the various options for entry including but not limited to; Express Visa, Student Visa and Highly Skilled Visa. However, once we landed on the right option for us (a Spousal Visa, due to my Canadian heritage) it was a seamless process.

On arrival, what was living in Canada like? Did you have a positive or negative experience. Anything funny/humorous take place

When we arrived,  we were introduced into a wonderful community of like-minded expats and locals who welcomed us warmly. We found job opportunities and elementary school for our children accessible and close to our neighborhood. In general our immigration experience has been positive!

What have you missed most about your home country?

Everything!  But mostly family and friends. This is something only expats can truly understand. 

What have you enjoyed about living in Canada? 

Proximity to nature, adventure and enjoying a new sense of community.

Based on your experience, would you emigrate again? 

I would, but I say that lightly. It is a huge undertaking to move abroad. But I think that it is a wonderful way to open your eyes to new cultures, communities and societies. Small things make the biggest difference i.e. filling up gas, recycling, access to wildlife are all completely different in various cultures.

 I recall comparing South Africa’s wildlife to Canada’s and initially assuming SA was pretty wild. Nowadays, I would say Canada takes the prize for its abundance of suburban wildlife. We have had bears and cougars right  in our backyard! In South Africa, you generally have to go to a game reserve to explore the wildlife. 

As a fellow expat, what’s the best advice you can give a person or family making the big move?

Do your research on the right immigration Visa for you. There are lots of options and some have shorter time frames and are less expensive than others, like the Start-Up Visa option.

Also, whether it be family, friends, or a group of like-minded individuals it makes the world of difference to have a community or cohort to lean on. 

– Interview end –

In recent years, the world has witnessed a significant increase in the number of people forced to leave their homes and seek refuge elsewhere. Whether it’s conflict and refugee status, instability and security, or the effects of climate change displacing communities, the global migration crisis is a stark reminder of the urgent need for international cooperation and solidarity.

If you or anyone you know is thinking of immigrating to Canada, take a look at the Impact Startup Visa Program for entrepreneurs. Find out more about Spring’s Impact Startup Visa upcoming INTAKE here.