#MillennialMonday | Packing Up and Moving to Another Country with Nathalee D. Ferguson

A world of possibilities is open to anyone who sees the opportunities available across the world. So said, so done! Millennials are taking heed; yearning, exploring and venturing into the great wanderlust and greener pastures, by migrating to big cities. “Bright lights” shining on improved job aspects, better work-life balance and affordable living are what they seek. For some, it is a walk in the park with proper planning, access to information and family support. But for others, it may seem a mistakenly rushed move resulting in even great disappointments and set back.

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Today, 20/40 Exchange catches up with recent immigrant and Author of the book Packin’ Up and Moving to Canada 101: An Experiential Guide from Pre-Application to Settling in As a Newcomer to Canada, Nathalee D. Ferguson.

Just like any other major life choices, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making a final decision. In this regard, Nathalee hopes to provide a complete guide to make the transition, of those interested in migrating to Canada, as simple as possible.

2040 Exchange: The prospect of moving to a new country can be very enticing. What should one consider before acting on such desires?

Nathalee Ferguson: Packing up and moving to a foreign country is no easy task especially as a single person. The move is further compounded if you have children. But I’d say, the two most important things to consider are:
  • Where will I Live? Some persons are blessed to have family or friends to stay with and even assist them with settling in but those arrangements often go sour quickly. Ensuring you have savings and get on your feet before this happens is critical. Another important piece to consider is the fact that rent is very expensive (especially in urban areas) and it is often a challenge to secure comfortable living arrangements. This will require tremendous research beforehand and a willingness to accept that you may not start out in your ideal home situation.
  • I need a job! Employment is just as important. One has to consider their Plan B where this is concerned. If you are unable to secure a job within your first year of living in the country, what is your plan?

20/40 Exchange: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced living in a new country? How did you overcome those challenges?

Nathalee D. Ferguson: When I migrated, I was still employed by the Government of Jamaica so I could have easily returned to Jamaica after the three (3) month trial period I gave myself. During this period, however, I found myself getting more invested in the move as the days went by. Although I was excited about the prospects, I was also facing a number of challenges which left me depressed at times.
I’d say my top three (3) challenges were:
  • Employment – Finding a decent job as a newcomer is extremely hard. Employers generally seem to be of the view that cultural and language barriers exist and so they tend to prefer hiring local talent to avoid the perceived hassle. Consequently, many newcomers remain unemployed for many months or are forced to accept minimum wage jobs. I was fortunate to get a job which paid me quite a bit above minimum wage but as a single person facing Canada’s high cost of living, it was simply not enough to meet my needs so I ended up using thousands of Canadian dollars in savings to help make ends meet. I continued to work hard and showcased a high level of knowledge and professionalism until I saw an opportunity I could jump at. As soon as I got a shot at a promotion, I took my shot at it and was successful.
  • Finding housing– Credit is king in Canada! If you have good credit, it is relatively easy for you to get a place to rent or get almost any kind of loan. Since I was so new to the country when I started seeking a place to rent, I was being asked to pay up to four (4) months of rent as security. That was just not feasible for me since that could be as much as $8000 CAD which I did not have to spare. Fortunately, I was blessed with the support of an aunt who stood as my support in the application process. I got my apartment and was able to make it my happy home.
  • Mobility– Getting my drivers’ license was very tedious and stressful. As a result, I found myself commuting for hours daily and often running down buses to avoid being late. Yes, real-life running! Like Usain Bolt running! I kept pushing to get an earlier date and paid for driving lessons and then aced my THIRD exam. I purchased my vehicle that same evening!

20/40 Exchange: What inspired you to write the book: Packin’ Up and Move to Canada 101?

Nathalee D. Ferguson: In the midst of what was a rough time for me mentally, I questioned my decision and asked God for clarity. Surprisingly, I felt that my way out of the depression was to turn my test into a testimony and to lighten the load of others interested in packing up their loves and walking this road as well. The rest is history.

20/40 Exchange: What would you tell someone with a desire to migrate to another country?

Nathalee D. Ferguson: Have a plan. In my book, I outline all the situations newcomers face and provide tips and secrets to overcoming them. Migrating to a new country won’t be easy but you will find it hard to not admit it was worth it.

Canada is quite attractive to millennials at this time. We hear of the country’s need for young, skilled individuals. A lot of my colleagues have been talking about the possibilities of migrating there, whilst others have actually started the process and/or is currently there. Some have shared similar sentiments like Nathalee and that’s why I thought it prudent to do this feature.

So, as the saying goes “a man without a plan is a man without direction”, take my advice and grab a copy of this book on Amazon, get your checklist in order and feel free to connect with Nathalee with your questions @moving2canada1010. It’s always good to have all the information and prevent looking back to say “if mi did eva know”.

Until then, take heed and stay safe!


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