Sunday, 15 May 2016
MY EXPERIENCE AS A FOREIGNER IN CANADA
In 2009, after spending seven months in Perth (Western Australia) studying intensive English Second Language with various teaching materials from England, I went back to France. Two years after, I passed the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) organized by Cambridge University. According to them, I was a “competent user’’. Not so bad, isn’t it?
My score was above the Province’s Benchmark displayed by Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. Therefore, I was confident that my language skills and academic background will get me the Permanent Residency Status, quickly. “Yay! O Canada! Here I come!’’
As you could read, I was bold and confident until the harsh reality crush my wonderful “Canadian dream”. At this time I didn’t know that I will spend lot of money (four figures) to renew two Work Permits and to obtain the “Permanent Residency status”. I didn’t know that I will blow up all my savings (five figures) in less than 6 months even though I was already working part-time. And I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be able to understand the Canadian accent, either…surprise, surprise! To be honest, I mistakenly assumed that Canadians spoke British English. Instead, I discovered the ‘’Ken-A-dian accent’’. It took me about 8 months to understand it. I mostly felt like a moron but after talking with other foreigners, I realized that it was a normal process. (Sigh)
I remember the day I flight from Paris to Winnipeg on December 1st, 2011. Once I arrived to Winnipeg Airport, a Custom Officer asked me a question but I couldn’t understand his gabbling. I thought: “what kind of dialect is that?’’. Was he an Irishman? After asking him to repeat his question eight times, he made a very smart move. He called one of his colleagues who spoke French...dah!
I remember that in France, during my middle school years, I learned to say “bye bye” and “goodbye” to end a discussion. Many years later, in Australia, I even acknowledged “see yah’’ and “have a good day”. And I don’t mention their numerous abbreviations such as “mossie”, “kangoo”, “barbie” and “aussie”.
Anyhow, I wasn’t prepared for the Canadian expressions: how’s goin’?’’, “bye for now’’ and “have a good one”. Oh boy!! Anytime I heard “how’s goin?” my brain processed “house go in?’’. How in a world could I answer this question? Is it too complicated to say “how is it going?” That made me questioning if Canadians are out of their mind? Just kidding! Or when a perfect stranger told me “bye for now’’: I was like “uh… are we supposed to meet later?” Or the tricky “have a good one”. I was always wondering: “have a good one, what?”
Long story short, my adaptation to the Canadian culture was very messy. I was, completely lost, wandering, in Slurpee City. But good news! I made huge progress. Look! Finally I figured out that:
- Hockey is a real sport,
- “Winnipeg Blue Bombers” are not hockey players,
- “Winnipeg Jets” is not a private air flight company,
Well...now, I can proudly declare: O Canada! Here I stay!’’