Emigration – What’s it like?

What’s it like to leave everything you’ve ever known, both people and places, and to embark on the biggest journey of your life?

What’s it actually like?

Terrifying, exciting, nerveracking and completely alien are good descriptions to start. Let’s explore some of those in more detail:


There is a huge amount of excitement that comes from embarking on such a big change in your life. It can come in waves when planning to move abroad, especially if you plan over a longer period of time. This can also be heavily intertwined with sadness.


Some sadness during this process is completely normal especially as your move is going to take you away from your closest friends and family. It would be almost worrying if you didn’t experience some sadness leaving.

For me leaving my family wasn’t especially hard as I am used to not seeing them for extensive periods of time, however, leaving my girlfriend behind in the UK was really tough. We are still together but she hasn’t come with me to start with. It’s really weird not having her here to share this journey but using FaceTime and Skype it makes it much more manageable and so far the love sickness has been manageable.


The level of nerves experienced on the lead up to moving will vary from person to person. I have met people here who were nervous wrecks before leaving and others who were cool as cucumbers. For me I was somewhere in between.

As mentioned already I was hugely excited about my move but I was, and still am to an extent, nervous about being here. I have now found a job, completed my training and am hoping to pass my probation in 6 months. I’ve also found somewhere to live for at least the next 5 months but there is plenty of uncertainty still outstanding. However, these nerves are a hugely motivating force and are certainly something I wouldn’t want to go without.

To help limit the level of nervousness you have before leaving it is definitely worth doing some research before getting out here, especially for things like where to register for your Social Insurance Number (SIN), which bank account to get and what phone provider you want to use.

I chose to go to the Sinclair Centre in Downtown Vancouver to get my SIN, I got a bank account at TD Bank and my phone contract is with PhoneBox. I got everything done in less than 3 hours and it’s a great way to get your bearings of the city. Make sure when you do these things and factor in some down time. Mine was spending lunchtime down at Canada Place sat in Mahony & Sons with a cold beer looking out towards North Vancouver. I had to pinch myself several times to believe it wasn’t a dream but my reality.


Loneliness is something you’re likely to feel at different times, it’s certainly not a constant thing. Loneliness is part of the process especially as all the people you are used to being around you are in a different time zone, you’re not likely to know many people in your new country and it takes time to settle into your new life.

A few things I would recommend you do before coming out here is to connect with people through social media and forums, and look at groups on Meetup. Meetup has over 280 groups you can join, covering everything from meet and greets through to cuddle parties and extreme sports. You can also join InterNations which is an organisation specialising in bringing people from different countries. I have used meetup and found a great coffee club and I have been to one InterNations meeting and really enjoyed that too.


Overall the most important thing about making this move is actually having the confidence to do it. It is too easy to make excuses and not do it. However, coming from someone who has first hand experience of actually doing it, it will change your life in ways you never imagined.

With the year just 3 days old make this year the year you take affirmative action and actually fulfil one of your new years resolutions. If anyone wants any advice or to connect through here before moving to Canada please get in touch, I’d be happy to help – greatcanadianmove@outlook.com

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