My first month as a Software Engineer in Canada

It’s been a month since I moved from Brazil to Canada to work as a Software Engineer and I’d like to share a few thoughts regarding my first impressions on this Country.

How it started

To give a bit of context, I'll explain how this entire process occurred since the moment I decided I was going to move. I started working at this company in 2021, it's a multinational company that has clients in many different countries and offers some relocation opportunities.

The first project I worked on was for a client in Canada, and after about a year of working remotely, I began to consider the possibility of moving to this country, in case the company supports me with the documentation. After a few months, I received a positive response and the process to get the visa started, this was probably one of the most hard and tiring things I've done in my life, and many times I thought about giving up the idea and staying in Brazil, even when the visa was already approved. In the end, I decided to continue, set the date for the trip and resolved everything I needed in Brazil before coming.

Since I had already been working at this company for more than two years, I had a good idea of how things work in a large company, in a multicultural team, with people from all over the world. To give you an idea, I was always the only Brazilian on my team, so all communication was always in English. Those who know me know that this was a big challenge at first because with my English learned from Friends and How I Met Your Mother, I suddenly needed to talk with people from various parts of the world, with different accents hard to understand.

This was never really a problem, it never harmed me in my daily life, but even so, at many times I felt a little insecure because I put a lot of pressure on myself regarding the fact of sometimes not being able to express myself the way I wanted to. Over time it improved, and it ceased to be a concern for me, today I feel much more comfortable speaking in this language.

The arrival

I had never left Brazil before, and the first time having this experience I was going alone, and to stay. When I was on the plane, coming time to land in Toronto, I remember feeling a mix of emotions, accomplished that this was finally happening, happy, but also with a bit of fear: "This is really happening, I am arriving in another country alone and I don't have a return ticket...", or also "did I make the right choice?", among other things, which I believe are part of the process in a big change in life.

The first days in the new country were quite tiring, bureaucracies to solve, opening a bank account, buying and assembling some furniture, learning to use public transportation, among other things. Gradually everything was being resolved and a new routine was being created.

A few days later, talking to some people close to me, I commented that in reality I was much more prepared for this change than I believed to be, as I was managing to adapt well and resolve everything that appeared without major problems, and since the first day, everything seemed very natural, I felt a certain ease in dealing with things since the arrival at the airport, having to go through immigration speaking in English, explaining what I was going to do in the country, where I was going to work, etc.

The city and the company

I arrived in Toronto on Saturday, so I had a chance to get to know a bit of the city over the weekend, and on Monday, it would be my first day going to the office. The company operates with a hybrid work model, so a few times a week I have to go to work in person. I really like remote work, being able to work from wherever I want, with flexible hours and other advantages, I have been working remotely for almost 3 years, however, I believe that in this new situation of my life, in a new country, without knowing anyone, going to the office a few times a week could be very good, I would get to know my co-workers better, and make some friends.

Arriving at the office on Monday morning, I had the opportunity to meet some of my team members, with whom I talked almost daily since I started working at the company at the end of 2021. It was very nice to meet them and be able to talk in person, as well as attend my first face-to-face meeting that morning.

All meetings take place online, those in the office can go to the meeting room reserved for that meeting, and those working remotely access the meeting through Teams, this offers a lot of flexibility to access the meeting from wherever you are.

Also, I found the work dynamics a bit different here, I had worked exclusively at the office of a company a few years ago, and there the development team had its room, and each one had its fixed place to sit. Here things work a bit differently. The company campus is huge, and you can take your laptop and sit down to work wherever you want, if you want to work with your colleagues you can arrange with them and do that, or if you want a more reserved place, to focus more on work, you can look for a quieter place and stay there, in fact, some days I go to the office and have very little personal contact with my team members.

I'm enjoying this way of working, some days at home, some days at the office where I go, do my work and leave, some moments working alone to focus more and deliver what is needed, and also some moments of interaction with the team, in face-to-face meetings, lunches, conversations, which I also consider important to better connect with my colleagues.

Conclusions so far

Despite some difficulties along the way, I've been enjoying what Canada has been offering me, Toronto is a multicultural city where I have the opportunity to talk to people from many places in this world, try food from other countries, visit some pretty cool places and even try winter sports like snowboard, which by te way, is really hard.

A photo taken in the Niagara Falls with me standing at the center of the image and the falls in the background.

On the other hand, being away from my girlfriend, family and friends is not easy, there are times when I miss them a lot and I just want to catch the next flight to Brazil. Also, other simple things that we are so used to in our day-to-day life that we don't even notice, like eating typical common dishes in Brazil, like rice and beans for lunch and even hearing people speaking Portuguese anywhere. I know all this is part of the process and that gradually we adapt and everything becomes more natural.

What I can say so far is that it's been an incredible experience, which will certainly add a lot to my personal and professional growth.

If you're curious to know more about life here, feel free to contact me, or also leave a comment on this post.

Thanks for reading all the way here!

Best regards, Nicolas

Comments - 2024 | Developed by Nicolas Zwierzykowski