Immigration blogs: future academic sources?

One of the reasons I’ve had immigration themes on my mind lately is the profusion of blogs I’ve been reading lately written by Brazilian immigrants (mostly to Canada but a couple to Spain, France or the US).

The blogs written by Brazilians going to Canada are the most fascinating from an academic point of view. The fact that Canada is a country open to immigration doesn’t mean that the process is as easy as hopping on a plane. The main avenue of entry into Canada is as a skilled immigrant and to qualify as such, the prospective immigrant needs to have a minimum amount of schooling (usually university level), work experience, a certain proficiency in English or French, and enough money to support him for the first few months in the new country. For Brazilians the whole process can take around 16 months. So it’s not easy. It requires a lot of investment in time, planning, energy, resources, etc. All of this planning and organization reflects on the blogs written by those imbued by a Canadian dream.

Most of them start writing their blogs the moment they make the final choice, after much soul-searching, to initiate the process. They are usually couples in their thirties or young families looking for a better quality of life. Most have good jobs and good careers in Brazil but are sick of living a life of fear, locked behind tall fences and electric wires. So career and jobs are not the main motivators, but rather the search for a place where they can be assured of safety, respect and a more organized life.

There are usually three phases in this process of immigration.

1. The prospective immigrants (usually a husband and wife) file the application at the Canadian consulate. While they wait – they know it will take some months before they hear back – they research continuously about life in Canada and what to expect. They join support networks of other Brazilians who have gone to Canada, they read Canadian news and listen to CBC Radio. They also start saving as much money as possible and brushing up on their language skills. They try to pick a city. Most have never been to Canada and choosing between Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, etc without ever setting foot in the country can be quite daunting.

2. Visa arrives, move to Canada. The most fun parts to read are the last posts in Brazil and the first few in Canada. The going away parties with family and friends, the difficulty in trying to fit one’s whole life in two 32 kg suitcases, the excitement and the tears. The flight to Toronto – for some, the first international flight – the arrival, going through immigration, the dreamed-off “Welcome to Canada” greeting by the immigration official when he stamps one’s visa.

3. Settling. The first few months. Getting all the pertinent documents, finding a place to live, opening accounts, registering at special programs offered by the government to integrate immigrants into the workforce. From the blogs I’ve read it seems that people in more technical professions such as ITs, engineers, system analysts, programmers seem to find work within the first 2-3 months in their area. That seems to be particularly the case in Toronto. Others from professions in the humanities and social sciences take a bit longer and often need to work for a few months in a co-op (non-remunerated work) to get Canadian experience in their area of work.

It’s fun to follow their first impressions and their positive attitude. Most give updates every few months evaluating their progress and their decision to immigrate. I notice very few disappointments. I think this is mostly because of the extensive research they do before immigrating and their general open-mindness about the whole process. It makes me wish I knew about blogs way back when I immigrated to Canada so I could have documented my process…
Some of my favourites are:

A Era do Gelo

 Cravo e Canela

 Mikix

 Familia Saltense no Canada

 A Marcha dos Pinguins

 CanaDaBoa

 Meu Cantinho

 Destino: Canada

 Brancas Nuvens

 Maple Brasil

….and many others…

Author: guerson

Born and raised in Brazil, a Canadian stole my heart and took me to Canada in 1999. After seven years between Montreal and Toronto, we then moved to Barcelona, Spain, where I did research for my PhD thesis. This blog began as a chronicle of our adventures while living in Barcelona and exploring the old world and has acquired a life of its own after we moved back to Canada.

10 thoughts on “Immigration blogs: future academic sources?”

  1. Hello. I got your blog from my google alert about immigration. I was amazed by it. Would you explain why the Brazilian blogs are the ones that you like the most? Thanks

  2. Hi Katia,

    I don’t think I can say Brazilian blogs are the ones I like the most because – as far as immigration goes – I haven’t really come across blogs by people of other nationalities immigrating to Canada. I suppose I like them because they remind me of my own experience immigrating to Canada from Brazil. My case was very different since I didn’t come in as a skilled immigrant but was sponsored by my husband, who’s Canadian and lived in Montreal. Unlike many of the people in the blogs above, I had been to Canada about 5 times in the 3 years before I immigrated. So my actual trip there wasnt as exciting and full of anxiety. I had moved all my life and to me this was just like moving to a different city. But I got a good sense of the hard investment immigration can be when I started attending the French classes offered by the Quebec government to new immigrants. That’s where I met other immigrants from all over the world and heard their stories. They have my undying admiration and respect.

  3. I like challenges. The whole canadian immigration process is so difficult. We need a lot of money, time, and motivation to achieve our goals. I don´t like the way Canada is strongly selective about their immigrants. This makes me nervous, but i will use my skills to “win” this challenge. My motivations are all about the experience of living in another country…learning languages and, with luck, studying what i really like. I want to start from zero. I will take care of every step…i have a little daughter and i am going to live in Canada to have a better life than i have here. Be sure…it is a “hard investment”.

  4. I forgot to say that i need to study english. Sorry for my bad writing. : ) and thanks for metioning our blog.

    Your blog has some valuable information…already in my feed reader.

  5. Welcome Daniel!

    I really appreciate how difficult the whole process can be. Like I said before, I strongly admire people like you and I truly believe that a country can only benefit from attracting such strongly-motivated people.

    Don’t be nervous. Take one step at a time and I’m sure your dreams will come true.

    By the way, your English is very good!

    Alexandra

  6. Hi Alexandra,
    Eu comecei escrevendo meu blog depois de três anos de Canada… na época que imigrei, em 2000, eu nem sabia da existência de blogs (acho que na verdade nem havia!)… e como você eu me divirto atualmente lendo os posts do pessoal que esta chegando… é como relembrar minha própria experiência…O primeiro ano de Canada é tão intenso, tão cheio de novas experiências!!!!
    Hoje conheço muitos blogueiros, inclusive, tenho uns 8 ou 9 casal de blogueiros como vizinhos lá em North York!!!! É muito bom ter gente conhecida por perto.
    bjs

  7. Como a Mirella falou, quando eu tambem imigrei em 2003 nao existiam tantos blogs como agora. O motivo da criacao do meu foi exatamente a falta de informacoes, pois quando estava procurando nao encontrava. Dai a necessidade (e pq nao dizer o dever) de mostrar a nossa realidade por aqui.

    Alias, conheci o Blog da Mirella pouco tempo depois de ter chegado a Toronto.

    Beijo e parabens pelo excelente post

  8. As I am about to face becoming a permanent resident in the U.S., I feel a connection with many people immigrating to various countries all over the world. The process is incredibly complicated in the United States and I’m quite lucky that as a person with a Ph.D, and a job already, it will go a bit faster than most. In general, getting permanent residency in the U.S. can take up to 10 years, depending on the path one takes. For me, it should take 6-18 months. Only about 8% of people who get residency in the U.S. do so through work, most of the time it is either the green card lottery or through family members. As our process begins, I’ll be spending more time talking about it on our blog.

  9. Oi Alexandra,
    Não pude deixar de comentar aqui! Parabéns pelo muito bem escrito post. Sabe que eu tenho ouvido isso que você mencionou da admiração por quem imigra de muitos Canadenses desde que cheguei há 6 meses. E você está certa quanto às poucas decepções que encontra é justamente porque para tomar uma decisão dessas leva anos de planejamento e desejo mesmo de fazer. Eu e meu marido por exemplo (somos casados há 3 anos mas temos 10 anos de estrada juntos) e desde que nos conhecemos sonhávamos a mesma coisa e para chegar aqui passamos os últimos 6 anos estudando, guardando dinheiro e tudo mais. E mesmo com todas as dificuldades do começo temos certeza de que viemos para ficar e estamos muito felizes com a escolha que fizemos.
    bjs

  10. oi Paula,

    Pois é… esse perfil é muito diferente ao de muitos imigrantes que vejo aqui na Europa e nos EUA que atravessam a fronteira na cara e na coragem, sem saber o que vão fazer no novo país, sem falar o idioma (em muitos casos), sem conhecer mercado de trabalho, etc… Não estou desmerecendo essas pessoas, é claro, pois foi assim que a maioria dos nossos antepassados chegaram ao novo mundo mas eu imagino que não estando em situação legal, eles ficam numa situação super vulnerável e sujeita a explorações. São realmente cidadãos de segunda classe. Isso me incomoda muito pois acho que uma pessoa que arrisca a própria vida por um futuro melhor poderia dar muito por um país se fosse dado uma opção justa.

    É por isso que eu acho a aposta do canada na imigração de mão de obra especializada super acertada. Principalmente no mundo mais globalizado em que vivemos hoje. Tem muita coisa que precisa ser melhorada ainda – encontrar formas de facilitar ou ao menos tornar mais justa a habilitação de profissionais estrangeiros pelas profissões regulamentadas, por exemplo. Isso é extremamente necessário principalmente no caso da área de saúde. Há falta de médicos e enfermeiros no Canada pois muitos vão para os EUA, onde ganham mais. Mas ao menos no Canada existe a percepção de que não se deveria colocar empencilhos no caminho dos imigrantes e que se deveria aproveitar-los melhor. Nada choca mais um canandense que escutar a velha historia de que há PhDs dirigindo taxis em Toronto ou Montreal…

    Eu também gosto MUITO do grande sentimento de justiça social que existe. Eles não gostam de dar tratamento preferencial a ninguem. Vc nota logo nos aeroportos onde não existe uma fila especial para cidadãos canandenses para passar pela alfandega. Hehehe, meu marido fica p.. pois quando vamos ao Brasil eu entro na fila especial para Brasileiros, quando vamos pra Europa tem uma fila especial para europeus, nos EUA tem uma para americanos, etc. O Canada não tem fila especial para canandenses. Todo mundo é tratado igual e eles fazem mil perguntas para os canandenses tambem (onde mora, onde estava, o que traz, etc…).

    Como eu disse muitas vezes aqui, sou muito feliz desde que cheguei no Canada. Nunca tive nenhuma porta fechada por ser imigrante, muito pelo contrário. Na verdade eu nem pensava muito nessa coisa de ser imigrante ou não. Eu simplesmente mudei pro Canada, assim como um dia mudei do Rio para Brasilia ou de Brasilia para Recife. As pessoas às vezes te perguntam de onde é mas só por curiosidade mesmo sem julgar quem vc é por causa disso. Lá as pessoas acham que vc deve ser vc mesma e ponto final. E eu acho que isso não tem preço…

    Um dia sentamos em Toronto para tomar um café e bater um papo sobre isso tudo!

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