Q & A on Canadian Immigration – School and Life

Since I made the trek north side I have been asked by many people not only from Jamaica but other countries about the processes I went through and what they need to go as far as coming to Canada and trying to get permanent residence. Now this sentence is my disclaimer because I am no expert and all that I will put in this blog is what I’ve found out since I’ve been here. Some can be considered hearsay while others fact. The laws here change often so the best source is the Canadian Immigration site, http://www.cic.gc.ca/ … This will be an ongoing blog which I will update as much as I can with questions asked and random tips or facts that may come to me that may make the transition to Canada easier. I’ll be taking questions from the comments, Twitter and Facebook and adding them to this blog. The questions will be added randomly so they will not be in any order other than chronological.  Let the questions begin….

Q:  Why did you decide to move to Canada?

A. After trying unsuccessfully to follow through with my plans in Jamaica because of theft of property, extortion, bureaucratic red tape, just to name a few, I decided to try overseas. The decision to leave was hard but was made a bit easier one of my best friends almost died defending a business interest of mine. To cut a long story short, I shortlisted Japan, The United States of America and Canada and after Northern Caribbean University (NCU) failed to deliver my transcript to me on time to be a part of the Japanese English Teacher (JET) Programme, I decided to go with Canada and further my education.

Q. What is the best time to come to Canada?

A. I’m Jamaican and being in a country that was four seasons I’ve learnt to appreciate the sun’s warmth.  If you are coming for vacation and you have never experienced snow, then try coming around the end or beginning of the year.  If you don’t care for snow then come in the Spring or Summer.

Q. What school did I attend?

A. I attended Centennial College.  It was the school that what was recommended when I did a consultation with a Education Lawyer before coming to Canada. I was accepted for a 18 month Project Management.

Q. Where do I live?

A. I currently live in Hamilton, Ontario. While I was in school I lived in Scarborough.

Q. How do you get school and work permits?

A. If you want to enter Canada as a student you have to g through the process of getting qualified. All information on this process will be provided after being accepted to the school of your choice. If you want the information beforehand the CIC website mentioned above will help. For work permits, the school will help you acquire this during the period of your study. Depending on how long you’re studying for the process will be different. For shorter than two year study you will get a work permit when you’re finished studying that will be the equivalent of your time at school. If you study for more than two you may be granted the permit on entering the country and it may be a little longer than the time of study.
Q. Where is the best place to come and settle in Canada?

A. There is no hard and fast answer to this question as every province has its pros and cons but the short answer is Saskatchewan. The province has jobs and tax breaks and will actually accept you in many jobs without Canadian education or experience.
Visit saskjobs.ca for jobs and more info.

Q. Is it true that there are provinces where a friend can file for a friend?

A. I’ve only recently heard of this but yes, it’s true. I don’t have much details but that seems to be the case in some areas of Alberta.

Q. What’s minimum wage in Canada?

A. Effective June 1, 2014, the minimum wage will be $11.

Q. What is the biggest benefit you have seen while being in Canada for its residents?

A. I’ll give you three. One is free health care and two, everybody is entitled to educational loans. The third is the mix of cultures is an interesting one and reminds me of Jamaica but even more so. With restaurants and hangouts everywhere you can explore culture from across the world all in one country.

Q. Can I have two jobs?

A. You can have as many jobs as you want but you have to make sure that you have the right work permit.

Q. Can I pay my bills outside of the country while I’m there in Canada?

A. Yes, but there will be fees involved for processing as well as other minimal fees.  Usually using banks that can be found in your country make the process a little easier.

Q. Would I have to stay with someone?

A. No. You’re responsible to find somewhere to stay. I used rental sites (Kijiji among others) and found a place where I spent my college time. Staying with a family usually works out a lot cheaper.

NOTE : ALL QUESTIONS MAY BE EDITED TO PROVIDE THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWERS.  FOR THIS REASON CHECK BACK EVERY NOW AND THEN FOR UPDATES AS WELL AS NEW QUESTIONS ASKED THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA.

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Battle of the Smartphones : Apple iPhone vs. Samsung Galaxy S3

I’m in the market for a smartphone. I’ve been without a smartphone for over a year and even though I am over the whole withdrawal period, I still crave the power of being mobile and connected to the rest of the known universe. Yes, it has been hard but in anticipation of getting a job after finishing my course of study, my first real purchase will be a new smartphone. I am a blackberry fan because I love buttons. Nothing like the feel of them but with the announcement of them also going fully touch screen I’ve decided to go with what seems like more advanced options as Blackberry seem to be a little behind in the tech race too..

Now if I was to talk about all the points look for in a phone I’d be here all day so let me cut it down and point out a few that are very important to me.  Those two are productivity and integration. Now I do use my smartphone for media including music and games but that is not my primary reason for ever buying a phone. My reasoning is usually how much work can I get done on this device without actually having to be around a desktop or laptop.  Can I track my progress at the gym? Are my finances balancing?  Do i have access to a decent word processor and email access as well? Having these features and them being available with ease of use usually make the choice easy.  Integration is also very important. Not having to transfer files of whatever kind from device to device when I’m ready to work at home or work instead of on the go is key. The time saved if these are all readily accessible is indeed invaluable.

Click link here for comparisons of both phones. 

So here it comes. I have identified two phones that meet these needs and some. They are the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Apple iPhone (I’d wait on the 5 to come out). But another set of requirements that i did not think about came up. When I was in Jamaica even though both phone services had equal strengths i went with the one that most people were on because of the cheaper rates and other benefits that if I had joined LIME instead of Digicel may have had me switching sooner or later.

The same thing has come up again. My girlfriend, brother and numerous friends have iPhones and communication between these devices are brilliant (Thanks to Steve. Rest In Peace Mr. Jobs). It would allow me to sync and share and be a part of an already established network and a part of the bright future Apple has created.  Sounds great huh? My problem with Apple though is why I love the Samsung. My problem is lack of freedom.  I am basically stuck in a system with Apple and not able to explore the many different paths as I would be able to with a Galaxy S3. Yeah, I know. Apple is a safe choice as their system allows them control and the ability to weed out bad experiences which may not be possible on any other device out there.

Before this turns ugly let me stop and say that even with all the apps available on the iPhone, I love certain features on the Galaxy S3 in terms of hardware. So right now its hardware vs. software and integrated “closed but brilliant” experience over freedom to explore.  I guess when the time comes and I have cash in hand it will come down to eenie meenie minie mo.  What are your thoughts?

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A Whole New World

I don’t like reading long blogs so I’ll try to keep this 500 words or less. Don’t want to dish out what I don’t like so here goes…

I decided to go to Canada for school because of basically being disillusioned by what I left behind. After trying over and over I decided to set a new foundation and God has opened the doors so now I’m enrolling in a post grad course in Project Management and plan to use it for a spring board into a world of possibilities.

I landed last week and became overwhelmed the minute I left the airport.  Now 7 days later I still am being culture shocked around every corner. I was laughing to myself yesterday is culture shock what Jamaican people called “frigthen fa”?  Well if is let the frigth begin. I haven’t been out of Jamaica since I started high school and that was the US and Canada is totally different from what I remember of their close neigbors America.

But like America though they do everything big and maybe i thought to myself if the islands copied some of their architectural ideas we could use less space for more but that’s another blog.

I could sum it up in one word. It’s civilized. Everything in total order. I dropped right in the lap of a very sweet Jamaican who I call Aunt Joyce. I feel so at home that It’s not till I leave the house in the days and look around I realize, “no boss, yu nuh deh a yaad again”. Shopping of course is great but great just in the fact that if you want something you can find it but not in the price factor. I remember going into a store for a hair brush and seeing 24.95 and literally running away saying “Chiney shop have dis fi 150 Ja”.

The whole experience with food has been interesting so far. I’ve had many an indian dish as well as local pizza and yes even KFC (which I will just say want more seasoning).  The Indian food is great but spicy. There was a one pot dish called Chicken Biryani and Haan as well a Greek dish (I think it was called cous cous). Interesting to say the least. As time goes by and I happen to get a job on campus best believe I’ll be trying more whether it sends me to the bathroom or not 🙂

 

I’ve also found a church where I feel comfortable. God is good. Aunt Joyce goes to that church and after meeting everyone I have to say I’m impressed. Everyone is nice and open and it feels like home. Went to the men’s meeting last night and am glad i have brothers here with which i can share and understand certain things. Again, God is good.

Speaking of the people, compared to the aggressive nature that seems to be ingrained in most of our people back home it is a refreshing change. Everyone I’ve met is nice and accommodating but this seems to be the lifestyle of the people, enjoying life and what it has to offer without the “don’t get in my way mentality”. I am either dreaming and if I am I pray it doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

Being here has been fun so far with every step being an adventure.  Hopefully I’ll have the time once school starts to let you know what else I am gong to be up to. Thanking God for guidance so far and praying for continuous help from Him.

Peace.

Below is my first vid on my youtube channel since being here….

Word Count 606..sorry

Food Review : Club Sandwiches at The Pelican, Montego Bay

I know I did a food review on my last blog but this food experience happened on the same trip and after reading this review you may understand why I did.  This particular experience happened after the one I blogged about but after the ocean took me and tossed me to and fro in a couple of hours I was ready to eat again and hoping for a better experience.

I had never been to The Pelican and wanting to conquer the hip strip (as in interact with every food joint and hotel – 85% there) so when it was suggested I eagerly agreed.  It was exactly as I had thought the ambiance would be but the design of the place wasn’t.  But all in all very nice food place that I would recommend to anyone.  Not only for the sweet setup but the prices were very good as well.  I mean if I had the choice between KFC and The Pelican, KFC lose! (yes, I went there).

So to the “meat” of the matter! We got our menus and after the experience with the microwaved and very salty meal mentioned in previous review before I wasn’t in the mood for chicken and neither were the other four people that made up the group. So after looking through and rejecting all fowl dishes, two people went with fish and the other oxtail. I wasn’t feeling any of those dishes but something caught my eye.  Club sandwiches with a mix of three meats. Once my eyes saw that my mouth started to water.

Excitedly I ordered and waited hoping for a meal as my mind was at the moment was creating and my taste buds were hoping for. It came in good time. Nicely served with a beautiful smile I jumped right in.  Can I say that… my mouth, lips, tongue and belly were not disappointed.  I had struck food gold.  I will try to find some adjectives to describe my food high.   Delightful, Loaded with flavour and a real work of art.  The bread was toasted just right and the meats which were ham chicken and beef were all well done.  Bravo! *claps* It came with a decent serving of fries which maybe even though tasty were a bit soaked in oil so I ended up squeezing some of that oil out but tasty nonetheless.

I’d dare say even though this was my first expereince there and having tht club sandwich that I may go back for seconds…..naaaah! I’ll try something else next time!   After making such a good impression and with such good service I am confident they won’t let me down….

Only time will tell!

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Peace…

Retro Blog – Bad Experience at a Hotel In Negril

As I may have mentioned before I started blogging in 2003 on MSN Space and even now my head is reeling that it closed down and I never had a chance to save my stuff.  A part of me is lost forever.  I did have part tiem jobs on the internet back then as well and one of them that I applied for required I send in a copy of one of my blogs.  So I was cleaning up my PC and saw what you will read below.

I’ve been blessed to travel to 20+ hotels around Jamaica and I use to use my blog as a review for all the hotels I travelled to. Even though this blog was written in 2007 the experience I get from all these places stick with me and my sentiments have not changed.  If you have been there and you disagree or agree please leave some feedback.

Peace.

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Travellers Beach Hotel – My experience

Well I spent my vacation at a place called Travellers Beach Hotel but that was not originally the plan. The plan was to stay at Fun Holiday Resort but because of some mix up we got transferred to TBH. Just to say though that the staff I met at Fun Holiday were very nice, always smiling and were even asking us some questions about homework for one of their kids and that’s how laid back and fun at the same time we as Jamaicans can  and should be. I was only there for 15 minutes maybe but it was worth it. I will be going back there the next time.

Now back to Travellers. After going from Fun Holiday to here with all the smiles and warm welcome, it was like a change from heaven to hell. Went in and stood at the check in counter but the guy who was there never even greeted and stood there looking blankly so I took the initiative to tell him about the transfer. Without even a change in facial expression he handed me a card to fill out and informed me that someone would soon come to take the bags. Long and short is, he didn’t look to happy to see us. I’m not sure if it was because I was Jamaican or he just found out his girl left him dry but geeeez. Anyways while in the lobby I noticed that there were people telling the guests (and these were Spring Breakers) about the hotel and the attractions and stuff like that, so then some thing came to me and I asked the same guy if there were all inclusive packages available. He again looked blankly at me and said “you haffi to talk to food and beverage about dat”. OMG. Do I live here? Where is that I said to myself but he offered no directions and I didn’t ask because I was getting perturbed.

After being carried to the room I realized there were no bulbs so while out on a walk I asked one of the cleaning ladies about it. She said she would see what she could do. Later after going back to the room there were bulbs but alas they didn’t work. The beds were hard and the water in the shower took 30 minutes to recede as there was something wrong with the drain opener on the tub.  At this point I’m not a happy camper.

I finally found the Food and Beverage Dept. which as I assumed was near the beach front   ( but I still should have been given directions) and saw a bunch of workers just lazing. I needed a spoon so I asked one of the guys. He looked at me and then said “Yow unooo get a spoon fi me nuh”. I stood there for 15 minutes while he was on his cell and smiling at some Caucasian woman.  This is day one of my three day vacay.

I won’t say much more about the hotel because the only time I spent there after that was for sleep and for maybe one or two other activities (use your imagination or don’t).  Below are pics of the hotel and some of the stops I made and always make when in Negril.

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Oh there was one good thing about this place. It had good water pressure.

At check out time it happened to be a young lady so I thought okay, maybe a different response…Nope. She had me stand up waiting on her while she was on the phone for about 15 minutes and even transferred calls to people in the lobby. The management too was not much better because through their office door they saw me standing there and it was after that 15 minutes that one guy came out and said “yes”. I handed him the key and after looking in the computer he kinda did something with his head like in a nudge motion which I guess meant “we dun wid you now”.

Anyways I won’t be going back transferred or not.

2 out of 5 stars (Water Pressure save dem from get 1).  The other one was for a roof over my head at nights.

Ainzlee

So that was the review back then… I did stay at one hotel worst than this one but that is another BLOG…