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Guest Joshua

Why Canada?

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Guest Gerhard van Vuuren

Harry ;

Hoor Hoor, ek stem 100% saam met jou nuutste posit !!

Derrick ;

Ja, I can cannot help but let off n m* grin when I see 49% wants to return.

I think many people who say that simply feel guilty (for some odd reason) about leaving and says this as some kind of a troos.

I am not sure who they want to troos, but anyway.

We will see how many actually return,

and of those, how many sorely regret it for the rest of thier lives.

Like Harry says, the Boiling Frog ;

I ventureto say SA id the Boiling Frog capital of the world.

greatSAd00d ;

VASBYT OU

Very few people who settle in Canada / elsewhere hate SA,

they just hate what is happening there.

**

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miena

Simply, I can only respond by saying...

I was raised in a small town in SA and barefoot playing in the street "cricket, kennetjie and kleilat by die vlei ". The general rule was to be home when the streetlights goes on. My parents had no idea where I was. They trusted society and the environment.

My kids always had to be accomanied/driven everywhere. The idea of a park was foreign to them. They knew how to set the alarm and each had a panic buttin installed in their rooms.

The point: I new what it was like to live in a trusted and free environment, they would never have known any different as the norm was to be "carefull" and they accepted that as a way of life. The long term impact on their development and oulook on life can be debated at length.

I chose to live where I can be free and laws are respected and my kids can develop normally.

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Guest Derrick
Surveys also show that 49% leave with the plan to probable return to SA in the future. 34% leave, planning never to return and 17% leave undecided whether they will return or not.

Just to put this in perspective:

These numbers include more than just emigrants in the true sense of the word. It also include a large number of people who go overseas for a year or two to work or study. These people have all the intentions of returning. Thus, anybody leaving the country for more than just a vacation or business trip is included.

I wonder how many of the 49% end up staying and how many of the 51% end up returning permanently.

Like John Lennon said: "Life is what's happening while we're making other plans."

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Gerhard

My take on the adaptation thing is something as follows, after being here about 41 months:

1. SA folks are Jacks of all Trades..folks here work in narrowly defined jobs, often with unions and licenses

2. In SA, losing a job is like death in the family....over here you take a holiday and decide what to do next

3. SA folks are big on huisvriende....to folks here this is almost a no-no..very tight private space per person

4. SA folks have a cynical sense of humour.....the folks here laugh at totally different stuff..sometimes sarcastic

5. In SA you save for retirement....here apparently no-one saves at all and the future has to look after itself

6. In SA do-gooders are distrusted...folks here have doing social good as part of their national self image.

7. SA folks are aggressive in many domains.....the folks here are pacifist to a point of making it a religion.

8. SA folks see virtue in talking straight...the folks here are the most diplomatic nation on the planet.

9. SA folks lean on average toward conservative...the local folks lean on average toward liberal

10. SA folks are used to taking risks...here nothing happens until the insurance is sorted out.

Finally, I believe they even group stuff differently in supermarkets here than in SA.....it is never where I expect it to be, but that might just be me.

I think points 1, 3 and 8 are the ones that really catch the SA folks that come here....at least, we have found these things challenging as a family.

PS : This is a straight krib from one of Harry's posits somewhere else, but I think it is

worth while putting it here where more newcomers are more likely to read it.

Sorry Harry, could'nt resist it!

B)

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Harry

Aag, dis OK, ou Gerhard! Daar is geen kopiereg op die waarheid nie, net op die uitleg. Elk geval...dis maar net my idee van sommige van die verskille....ander mense is langer hier en het dalk 'n ander uitkyk op dinge. Ek vermoed van die dinge is ook bietjie BC-spesefiek...soos my opmerkings oor "liberaal" en "assuransie".

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Harry

Terloops, Gerhard, ek het 'n storie onder "Challenges of moving to Vancouver" geskryf wat 'n enkele sin net vir jou bevat...gaan lees dit. Dis so skewe verwysingtjie na 'n ander sosiologiese verskil hier....in die dames-departement.

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Robin

Canada is statistically the best country in the world to live in, and I think Vancouver has the highest quality of life in Canada - mild climate, beautiful nature, lots of potential. And you can live here and do business across North America, thereby earning US$ as well.

We're glad we came here 6 years ago!

Best Wishes,

Robin Elliott

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boeg

I'm going a little communication crazy here but I am sooo loving this forum.

From the research I've done, I totally agree with Robin. If , no, when my application is approved (best to be positive), we are heading for mellow & mild Vancouver. I am cold intolerant at the best of times, so even wrapping my head around their 3 degree winters makes me shiver. Why do so many SAs seem to be in Toronto? I'm sure its a great City, seems lekker in Summer, but their -12 degree winters would kill me! Each to their own.

One thing against Vancouver proper though is house prices. Is it possible to live on Vancouver Island, say in Naniamo, and ferry to work in Vancouver City? I would love to live and work in Victoria but there seems to be dearth of housing and jobs in that area.

Anyway, back to "Why Canada"

In Gauteng, where I live, the person who takes your life will most probably not be a masked hijacker wielding a gun or knife, but a grey-suited little man or woman sitting behind the wheel of the most dangerous weapon in SA: a motor vehicle.

I cannot speak for the rest of SA, but in Gauteng, there is an affliction sweeping across the population: the social disease of self-entitlement. The symptoms of this disease are: total disrespect for fellow road users, even for their lives; a proliferation of little white crosses marking the roadside where people have died in accidents; pedestrains and motorists succumbing to blind road rage and attacking their fellow human beings for "flashing lights", "hooting", "skeefing out" and other capital offences. Every day I drive on the roads, a complete stranger tries to annihilate me because he or she is in a hurry. Taxi drivers stop dead in the fast lane of a highway to pick up a jay-walking passenger and because they have their hazards on, its all right for them to do what they want. When my partner goes anywhere that entails him driving, half of me expects a phone call saying that he has become a statistic.

Now, I'm not saying I want to leave purely because of the likelihood that I or my loved ones will be maimed, mangled or killed by careless and self-centred drivers. The culture of self-entitlement pervades more than driving attitudes. The gap between rich and poor grows daily. And the poor simply have nothing to lose by taking what they want from the rich: imprisonment, even the re-instatement of the death penalty, will not deter the homeless, starving people who are already dying of AIDS related infections.

On a final sad point, many residents of the suburbs co-habit with cowardly fiends who, for sheer malicious fun and profit, toss poisoned sausages over garden walls to be eaten by pets. Nice hey?In the area where I live ( a very nice, respectable area in every other sense) this little hobby is rife, so much so that no responsible pet owner puts up "Beware the Dog" signs or lets Fifi in the front yard.

In a nutshell: lack of respect for humans and animals= taking my skills and energy elsewhere. Canada is a lot more immigrant firndly than Aus and NZ. I could never feel welcome in those countries because their policies are geared towards discouraging anyone but the super-wealthy out. I may not have a lot of money, but I'm a young promising professional who has a lot to contribute to the country that wants to be my home.

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anthea

We are in the processing stage for Permanent Residence, and the reason why we would like to come to Canada, is everytime, i come to visit, i regrettably have to leave, back for SA. Dont get me wrong, i love Cape Town, but i am thinking of our son. Hope that when he graduates / finished school, he will have opportunities, which he may not have here.

WHY NOT AUS:

My middle sister lived in Australia for 4 years before moving to Singapore. My parents live in Singapore. But very far on the other side of the "world" . And besides, cant take my cat with us, as the quarantine is far too long.

WHY NOT UK: (even though British citizen)

My older sister lives has lived in the UK for the past 12 years and is completely happy, but not the place i would like to bring up our child. Not too many opens spaces, miserable whether, as no distinction between summer and winter and then there's quarantine as well.

WHY NOT USA :

- not my ideal, reason for , we were duped in Feb by a company in Phoenix. Have our HIB visa and H4 visa for myself and son, but a week before we were to leave, the company went into liquidation, so had to send all our furniture back from LA to cape town, at our own expense, and then had to buy new house and cars here, etc, as we sold most things.

Life in SA is good, and the salaries are good but the crime very high, not many job opportunites if retrenched . Our lifestyle has changed, and become very much more family orientated, and family friends of ours have been blissfully happy in Canada. We feel Canada, is the country where we love to live, lifestyle, climate (extreme and not so), the large spaces, wonderful skiing in the winters, alot of outdoors stuff yet you feel relatively safe doing it.

We have told that getting a job in canada might not be easy and some immigrants sit for a year, looking for a job, and that the market for IT managers are not really great, and we would most likely, have to take a step down from our life in SA, BUT putting everything in perspective, it is well worth it!!

those are the reason for why CANADA!

Edited by anthea

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Hendie

Welcome to SACanada anthea. Well ... now we know why you so dearly want to come to Canada! How about an intro in our Foyer, we'd love to hear more about you and your family so we can properly welcome you to the "family". ;)

Enjoy!

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joeseph

Bottom line. Does Canada offer children good education, a better lifestyle and better oppurtunities?

We are giving up established careers (fortunately for a job offer), warm summer evenings on our porch in Hout Bay (albeit behind the fence of a security estate) and warm days year round for this reason. I would hate to arrive in Calagry to find the schooling is shocking, the lifestyle is bad as kids are cooped up in in-doors because of the cold and society alienates children.

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Harry

Joeseph,

the answers are, in sequence YES....YES maybe.....and YES.

The government schooling is better than SA government scholing, but probably not quite up to SA private school level. Private schools are inaffordably expensive here for regular immigrants, though some do it.

I say "maybe" because you used the term LIFESTYLE. I'm not sure what you mean by that. Your STANDARD of living (% disposable income) is likely going to be lower here, but your QUALITY of life is going to be higher. You will sleep well at night without burglar bars and panic buttons and not worry about whether your kids are going to come back alive, but your house is going to be smaller and have a smaller lot, and no pool.

If LIFESTYLE means GRANDNESS and a BMW To you...then it may be a problem. Salaries are low in Canada compared with the rest of the developed world and costs remain higher than SA ( though only marginaly so in $US terms these days). However, in terms of ordinary life, it offers a vastly better future for your children in the heart of the true Western Civilisation amonhg the most well-behaved people on the planet.

Your money will go further in Calgary than in Vancouver, but Vancouver obviously has more to offer as a recognised world city with a mild climate. Calgary has a vastly better economy at this particular time.

I hope that helps. Karen may want to comment on Canadian schools.

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Dick

Harry, I'd disagree with your assessment that schools here are better than those in SA. Yes, they do provide better opportunities if you have a child/children with learning or other disabilities - the best treatment on the planet (maybe Sweden is better). The rest of the system is however NOT (in my assessment) the same. Kids really struggle when they get to university level, because they are not used to doing a lot of work at school (homework that is) and the level of dificulty is sometimes adapted to suit every child- which again could be good or bad depending on your expectations. If parents don't push their kids to do better, please do not rely on the system here. It is all about collaboration. Competitiveness (academic and sport) is not encouraged (because you could harm the child's "inner self") eg. most sports are private club based and you do not have the A-team B-team C-team, etc. prospect as in SA Schools. Teachers here are not required to support any school activities - they don't get paid for it! Who can blame them? Some teachers do however try to engage the students!

Discipline is also a major issue here. Kids have all the rights! and it seems with it, they've lost most of their respect for adults. The main difference (for me) between the two systems is that in SA, parents expect (whether they want to know this or not) schools to sustain some sort of discipline based on a general unwritten set of values eg. respect adults. This is not something taught in Canadian schools because everyone has different expectations (read: values) and they expect parents to do that at home. Unfortunately peer pressure plays a major role (and kids rights), not withstanding the fact that generally both parents are working! With the lack of general sport activities (in the SA sense), kids are left to decide for themselves and in some cases it seems that parents want it that way!

All I can say is that you need to pay much more attention to what, where and how your kids are doing here than in SA where values and norms were pretty much the same for everyone. It is more difficult here, but also so much easier (and rewarding). You have the choice to really be part of your child's future.

This is only opinion - my learning comes from being married to a teacher who's worked in SA, Canada and a bit in Sweden.

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Gypsy Girl

Dick,

Having spent 3 yrs. in the Vancouver Public School System; I do understand your concerns with education in Canada. The standards and level of discipline in Public School are just not there. I have also spent my 2 yrs. in a Catholic All-Girl Private School and there is difference in the academic expectations and discipline. It is like night and day. Both of my younger brothers had attended the brother school from primary school to gr. 12 and I feel that they do set themselves apart from the Public School kids. Both of my brothers are also Star Athletes with one having won 'MVP' (Most Valueable Player) in basketball 5 yrs. in row.

However, not everyone can afford to send their kids to Private Schools. So, I've attached the weblink to the Calgary Board of Education's Alternative Programs. While I'm not too impressed with their Regular Public Schools; their Alternative Programs however offers very good options for better education on almost the Private School level. To name a few of their programs for kids who want to be challenged academically:

-GATE (Gifted & Talented Education for Gifted Kids) - this program is by recommendation only.

-Traditional Learning - this focuses on the style of education we are used to. A much more stricted level of discipline.

-International Baccalaureate

-Advance Placement

Other programs offered:

-Montessori

-Science School

-All Girls - Alice Jamieson Girl's Academy

I am considering sending my daughter when she reaches Junior High to the All Girls School. She is currently in a French Immersion Program. I was very impressed with their program which felt very much like the Catholic Girls Schools I have attended. The program is very small, uniforms have to be worn and there is a great Science Program where they work closely with a University Student - like sister mentorship program. Pilates and Yoga are also offered with a lot of focus on Nutrition and Health since lots of young girls become overweight in their teens.

So there are options for those who just cannot afford the high Private School cost.

http://www.cbe.ab.ca/sss/programs/default.asp

With regards to sports. I suggest you contact some of the your local community Sports Programs. Here in Calgary there is the Soccer Assocation, Ice Hockey Teams, etc. These teams are competative and may offer more of a challenge for you kids.

If you prefer the Private Schools here's some in the Vancouver Area that I am familiar with

Vancouver College

Little Flower Academy

-Both of these schools are Catholic and do receive some subsidy from the Gov't. I believe the tuition is around the 3-4K/yr. These are the only single sex Catholic Schools left in Vancouver. They have the highest standards compared to the rest of the other Catholic Schools. My graduation class had a Provincial Exam average mark of 88% - that was a good 10yrs. ago. but I know that the standards are still very high.

St. Georges Boys School (Boys only)

York House (Girls only)

Crofton House (Girls only)

-These are the best schools in the Vancovuer area. But they are pricey! You'd pratically need to take a mortgage out to send your kids to these schools! I believe St. Georges is in the price mark of 8-10K/yr. The girls schools are just slightly less than that.

Private Schools in Calgary range from 6-12K/yr.

I'm not familar with what the other cities offer in terms of alternative public school programs but I just wanted to show that there are options out there for everyone.

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Dick

Gypsy Girl,

Very true! The initiatives you are talking about are outstanding. I also agree with your statements about the Catholic System - however, you have to be Catholic to attend those schools (letter from a priest!). Some additional info on annual school fees:

Montessori - $7,000.00 - $11,000.00

Calgary Academy (School for kids with learning disabilities) - $12,000.00+

Public School - $70.00

All of the above exclude day trips, although the Public School is usually the best.

I think that your approach of investigating school on an individual basis are very good. Some parents even volunteer in classrooms for a while before deciding on a particular school.

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Harry

At the risk of sounding like a pauper that scrimps on his kid's education, I simply did not think R30-60,000 a reasonable price for anything a high school could teach within any limits of reason...quite beyond the fact that we just could not put a new life together AND pay that.

Of course this does NOT address the fact that some schools want a DEPOSIT of $25,000 before accepting the kid....please add that into the picture. That was what I faced. And they told me that only AFTER the young man had written their entrance examn and "passed". That killed any notion of private school stone dead right there.

I put my family in a car and left. In SA my son had been in a private school all the way and the standard had been excellent. Over here the public school was definitely not up to that level, and discipline was non-existent, but it was better than some stories I had heard from SA friends.

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Sangoma

I am curious:

Some people state that the public school system in Canada is worse than South Africas - are they looking at South Africa as a whole or the South Africa which benefited from Apartheid.

I think the vast majority of Canadian children receive a better education than the South African children no matter what their race, or economic group.

Also like South Africa some public schools in Canada are better than others.We should remember that not all immigrants will be able to send their kids to school in the better areas. Placed in the same situation arent they better off in Canada?

lets compare apples to apples.

Edited by Sangoma

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Gypsy Girl

Harry,

I totally know where you're coming from with regards to some of these Private Schools. My siblings and I prior to arriving in Canada had all attended Exclusive Private Schools so it was only natural for my parents to start looking at Private Schools in Vancouver when we arrived but since we landed in the middle of the school year none of the Private Schools would take us in so we had to contend with attending Public School. Quite a shocker coming from an All-Girls School since kindergarten! I thought to myself...it's just like on the t.v. show "21 Jumps Street" which was filmed in Vancouver at the time.

Initially my parents wanted for all of us to attend York House for the Girls and St. Georges for my brothers. My brother being a straight A student had "aced" the entrance exam but then came the interview. Little did my parents know that the interview was not for my brother but on them! My parents were grilled on their financial standing and inquiries about my dad's business. Needless to say, they had the same reaction as you. We never returned. We waited another year to take entrance exams for the Private Catholic Schools. Only I got in amoungst my sisters got in.

In Vancouver College my brother providen himself very talented in basketball. He had won his team the regional championship 3 years in a row. On my brother's 3rd basketball season in junior high he was approached by the coach for the St. George's Team and offered him a scholarship to attend their school (for high school) and play on their team. My brother said "no"...he had already made his friends in VC. Then he proceeded to beat at the next championship!

With regards to the Public Schools in South Africa. It's hard for me to tell. I had looked into some of the options and considered Constantia Elementary since it was close to home and seemed reasonable or the Catholic School....St. Mary's I think it was called. I had actually placed my daugther's name down as I was told there was a long waiting list. For PreSchool we had sent her to Montessori for 2 yrs. before we left. We wanted to continue with Montessori in Vancouver but there was none in the area.

Should we have stayed, I would have probably leaned towards a private school...granted that we could afford it. I've heard that the Public School are deteriorating.

I should know, I had gone to Wits Tech on Eloff Str. They had conveniently moved to a slightly better location in Doornforntein AFTER I had graduated. The situation certainly changed only for the worst each year. Most of my friends went to RAU but it was a quite intimidating considering I knew so little Afrikaans. And a Fashion School in Greenside was just to far to travel. But it certainly was an adventure! One worthy of many, many stories to tell of riots raiding the campus or someone getting shot just outside the building.

So, apples to apples....maybe it's better here depending on the school in your neighbourhood. As it's true to say, the better the neighbourhood the better the public school. It puts a hefty price tags on already staggering house prices in Vancouver.

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Marius O

Hallo to all expats

I have a simple question ...

Why did you chose Canada? Why not Oz or NZ or anywhere else for that matter?

Any insights or personal experiences would be most interesting.

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Boereseun

Mine was simple: I had some family here, and the requirements for Oz or Nz were way to high. I would never have made it in.

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Marli

I knew a little bit about the culture in Canada, having been engaged to a Canadian for a couple of years. Well, the relationship ended but my love for the place continued.

I cannot say that it was an educated choice on my side. I just knew I would fit in better with the average Canadian, I liked their respectful attitude, and I liked the fact that they are close to the USA.

Being in the technology industry, it was important to me to be close to both the States and Europe.

The only other continent I've ever visited was Europe, and I found it dreary and gray and I dont think I would have liked the ambience very much.

Canada does have snow for most of the year, but when spring comes, a lot of the places become truly beautiful. Admittedly I base my knowledge on having visited only Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto in the summer - In all three cities I had this distinct feeling that people were celebrating LIFE! Perhaps it is because it's so cold in the winter, but I think that Canada becomes ALIVE in the summer time and it's wonderful to be part of that upliftment.

So for me, I never had to choose between different countries; I always knew that it would be Canada.

This is certainly an interesting question, and I'm looking forward to hearing other people's opinions! - Thank you for starting this topic!

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Hendie

Marius, I moved your question in with this topic, which has been under discussion quite often in the past. Have a read what others have said. ;)

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Wesley

Off topic for just a second here but I was reading your blog Marli and your experiences have been most interesting. I can certainly relate to some of the things that you touch on.

Nice pics too!

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Marli
;) Thanks Wesley! I try to be honest about some of my experiences, but sometimes get attacked because of it. It makes me less inclined to give my views - even when it's my own blog!

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Guest Engela

My husband had a dream prior to us moving to Canada and in his dream (his believe is that God spoke to him) was that Canada is the best city in the world to live in. Upon our arival and the very first morning we woke up in the Hotel we stayed in near the Airport, my husband brought the newspaper to our room and in bold, black letters on the front page of that newspaper "CANADA, THE BEST CITY IN THE WORLD TO LIVE IN!" Do I need to explain it further?

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