How long does it take for a man to achieve a dream? For me it took almost 10 years…
Why do people immigrate? I believe that most of people are driven by rational idea of improving quality of their lives or give a better life to their children. For me, it is a bit different. All this matter, but first of all, I am chasing my dream.
The early beginning
It all started on a warm August evening of 2005. I was 17 years old and was about to start my second year at university. I was walking dog with my mom, she was telling me stories about when she and my dad were young. And then one phrase changed everything. I discovered that my dad had an idea about going to Canada to work as log trucker. That moment it just hit me like a lightning. I suddenly realized that it is something I want to do. I never felt as being a part of post-soviet world, I felt that I belong to the western world. I never liked soviet music or movies, but I grew up watching Convoy and Smokey and the Bandit, and listening to Metallica.
So I started learning more about Canada. And the more I learned, the more I was eager to live there! And I started digging the Internet, to find out how to do it.
Long distance run
It wasn’t until fall of 2011 when I was able to start it. I prepared application package and applied for Quebec Skilled Worker program. As it turned out, it is a very long process and it was getting longer and longer to complete it and more difficult. When I just started learning about immigration to Canada, it was taking 9-12 months to receive the immigration visa, when I applied, the average time was about 2 years… Most of the people keep living their normal lives while waiting, with some adjustments for saving money and learning languages. It definitely was not the case for me. I was obsessed with Canada. And I could not just sit and wait. I felt that I should take an aggressive approach – do everything I can possibly do to make it happen faster.
So I started acting – first by learning languages and passing all possible language exams, then making Évaluation comparative des études effectuées hors du Québec. As a result, I passed french language exams DELF B1, DELF B2, TeFAQ C1/B2, english exam IELTS twice, visited special course on Quebec culture at my local Alliance Francaise, prepared 75 pages-long immigration project, etc. And every time I got exam result – I immediately sent it to the immigration bureau. In total I had sent 9 packages to the bureau. I spent a lot of money on it, but I wanted to prove them that I am the best candidate for immigration they can possibly have 🙂 I spent almost all my free time learning languages and improving my professional skills. It was a huge effort and investment of time and money. And it payed-off.
In September of 2014 I was notified that I was awarded with Certificat de sélection du Québec (basically a certificate that states that province of Quebec needs your skills and accepts you as an immigrant) without having an immigration interview. This cut over 1 year from my waiting time. But even better then that, my heavy time-investment into improving my professional skills let me get a very good job with a truly amazing company, Unity Technologies, in Ukrainian office. I met some really nice people there, who understood my passion, and wanted to help me to achieve my dream faster.
So here I am less then 48 hours from boarding a plane that will take me to my dream. Going to Canada on a work visa, with immigration still to be completed. Still a lot of work to do before my goal of becoming permanent resident of Canada will be 100% complete, but even now a very important milestone has been reached.
In general, I can say, immigration is hell. You dedicate some period of you life to it, make huge efforts and still don’t know if you will succeed or not. You wake up every morning, first thing you do is check e-mail, hoping that overnight you received some good news from immigration authorities. You lose your breath every time the phone beeps notifying about incoming e-mail. Every day you wonder how long still to go. And every day is like that, like a Groundhog Day. I had over 1,300 of such days. And I am happy that it was a success for me in the end. But it does not happen to everyone who tries. A lot of people fail, and not always they are the only ones to blame. I think that most of immigrants are really strong people and they deserve a monument to all their efforts. I really believe that only the strongest, and the ones who are most ambitious get to the end, and that contributes to prosperity of countries of the New World.
But on the other hand, I am really happy that I had this experience in life. First of all it gave me a reason to wake up every morning. Every time I opened my eyes, I knew that this day I need to do a little step towards my goal. I never had a single morning when I did not know what to do this day. Secondly, I met some really good friends. Immigrant communities are quite unique in a sense that people there have exactly same problems, and surprisingly, ready to help each other. And finally, this lengthy process made me who I am – I learned some valuable skills that help me in work and life, such as patience, perseverance, setting up goals and priorities.
On the downside, I think that immigration process to Quebec is just too long. 4 years is a lot of time, and for many people life can change dramatically during such long wait period, and people whose skills are the most valuable, would find another, quicker way to move to another country, and most likely, not the one he or she was waiting to get to. Personally I think that it would be fair if immigration took about 2 years. It is long enough that immigration would not be too easy, and fast enough to be efficient.
It has been a long way full of adventures. My certificate (CSQ) was lost by post, I travelled far and wide, from Kyiv in Ukraine to Goteborg in Sweeden, I faced numerous smaller challenges on my way. I can’t wait to dive into this new adventure that I was waiting for for so long! I am sure it will be excellent!