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Thread: Adjusting to your new country.

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Adjusting to your new country.

    The excitement of getting the visa has finally arrived but now comes the real work for both the sponsor and the new Dominican Immigrant.

    What comes next? More paperwork,where to go, what is needed, adjusting to a new country etc.

    This is a good place to discuss all these issues so let's get it started to help others.

    If there are subjects for a few different countries, don't worry I'll separate topics and countries as we go.

    Also feel free to start a new thread.

  2. #2
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    Ontario, Canada

    Immigration Canada's Ontario Web site - After you arrive Ontario Immigration - After You Arrive

    Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants: Settlement.Org: For Newcomers to Ontario

    Booklet: "First days in Ontario"
    (Private health insurance, Where to apply for Ontario Health Card, Social Insurance Number (S.I.N.), Maple Leaf card (residency), Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC), etc.)
    (In English)
    (Guía de los
    Primeros Días (In Spanish)
    )

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    My husband arrived in Canada on Sept 13th so I can let you know what we have done so far...

    SIN #/card
    Find the nearest Services Canada Centre (Welcome to Service Canada | Bienvenue à Service Canada) and bring the landing paper and passport. They will issue the number (you can use it immediately) and the card will follow in the mail one to two weeks later.

    Health Insurance
    Check the information for your province...some have mandatory waiting periods before coverage begins. If this is the case you may want to look at buying private medical insurance to cover those first 3 months.
    You will need to prove that you are residing in that particular province. A utility bill, bank statement, rent/mortgage papers showing the new resident's name and address.

    Bank Account
    just bring the landing paper, passport and sin # (you do not need the actual card - at least at TD Canadatrust).

    Driver's License
    You will need to have the D.L. translated into English. For Ontario it needs to be by an approved Ministry translator. For Ont it is ATIO. If you call them they will ask you what city you are in and then give you some names and phone numbers of translators. We scanned and emailed the D.L. and had a translation in 2 days.
    Exchanging an Out-of-Country Licence
    This will explain about the years of experience they will give you. Basically if you have more than 2 years experience to get credit in Ont you will need a letter as stated on their website.
    You will have to write the G1 knowledge test - but if you have more than 1 year of experience you will not have a waiting period before writing the G2.
    You can bring the letter back at a later date to get the additional credit.

    LINC - Language Institute for Newcomers to Canada.
    They provide free language assessment and free classes. My husband was tested and the rating was ridiculous. And the woman told him to go the next day to a class that was ending in two days. We then went to check out an ESL class - they agreed to put him in a higher level but it is still not accurate. My husband has studied English throughout highschool and some university and took private school as well. So he is quite bored with the class - but it does give him something to do every afternoon and he is meeting people from all over and it was $30.00 for 10 weeks.

    Finding work - this is the big one. My husband has been quite anxious to start working and making his own money so that he can contribute.
    We made up a resume and sent it off to some temp agencies for General Labour to start. One of the agencies did ask if he had any references and he has his letter of employment from his last employer and it is translated into English.

    Finding some Dominican culture - We are lucky as we live in Mississauga. We have found a Cafe Santo Domingo on Weston Rd and the food was delicious. The owners were very friendly and we will definitely be back.
    There is also a Dominican food booth at the Downsview Flea Market.
    My husband has enjoyed being able to find some good Dominican food as I learn how to prepare things the way he is used to (poor boy is eating a lot of huevos y pan con queso lol).

    If you are in the same situation as we are...I was never able to spend any extended time with him in D.R. so it is also an adjustment for me. I'm not used to having to worry about someone else or what to make for dinner (Lean Cuisines were just fine for me lol) or having to try to balance work with family life.
    So much time and energy was spent on the Visa process that once he was here it seemed like a dream - it's only been 3 weeks so I still catch myself looking at him like he can't really be here (he thinks I'm crazy lol).

    As we journey along I will update

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    I have so often wanted to start this, so thanks Anna

    My husband has been here 16 months. Jose’s transition to Canada has been great with some bumps. He went through some lonely times and still does. He misses his family and friends. Jose has found the “minute passes” (phone cards) and “You tube” (DR shows and singers) help a lot in those lonely times.

    Jose was able to find work immediately at the Casino. He has been working there over a year and loves it dearly. He has made wonderful friends and also has learned that some people because you don’t understand everything in English perceive him as dumb. Now that his English is fluent he has been able to address some of those people and educate them.

    Jose has been enrolled in the LINC home study English program. He does his English studies on the computer and a teacher calls him once a week. I remember a time when he first got here I would be his translator and would speak up for him…I soon realized I was not helping him and I stopped. When I stopped I watched his English flourish. We stopped speaking Spanish in our house which forced him to learn English. I didn’t realize how much I said certain words until he started talking like me…LOLOL

    Food at the beginning was a challenge, but now Jose eats cereal and sandwiches without complaining. I try to make a couple of DR meals a week and I have actually learned to enjoy cooking.

    Our biggest transition has been understanding money and bills. This has been the topic of many disagreements. I tried many times to explain that a certain amount had to be in the bank when the mortgage came due or the car payment and it was starting to take a toll. So, now he sits with me and does the bills and understands EVERYTHING! (as it should be) We used to have many disagreements over money being sent to his family. Now I don’t say anything because it just got ugly. We sat down and figured out an amount that worked for both of us and now we just fit it into the monthly bills.

    I am glad we are through our transition stage. Marriage is hard work and double for us who decide to marry out of normal circumstances. It takes an extreme amount of patience and love to endure immigration, a new culture and a new marriage. One thing that was an incredible help to us was finding another DR/Canadian couple who were going through the same transitions and knowing that Jose and I were normal. We found that couple here on the DR1.

    I wish all of you all the best with your new lives together. You have found a support network here in the DR1 reach out if you need them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJSantos View Post
    Our biggest transition has been understanding money and bills. This has been the topic of many disagreements. I tried many times to explain that a certain amount had to be in the bank when the mortgage came due or the car payment and it was starting to take a toll. So, now he sits with me and does the bills and understands EVERYTHING! (as it should be) We used to have many disagreements over money being sent to his family. Now I don’t say anything because it just got ugly. We sat down and figured out an amount that worked for both of us and now we just fit it into the monthly bills.

    I am glad we are through our transition stage. Marriage is hard work and double for us who decide to marry out of normal circumstances. It takes an extreme amount of patience and love to endure immigration, a new culture and a new marriage.
    Sorry this is so long winded... I could go on for days about this topic but I think it will be helpful!

    My husband has been here in Canada now coming up on 3 ½ years. Things have mostly been great but there are some real cultural issues that both parties must recognize if they are going to be successful. Once you get over those issues (or you each learn to deal with them in a way that you can live with) life will be much easier for both parties.

    As noted by SJSantos, I see money issues as the biggest adjustment for the Dominican/Canadian couples I know, including myself. First of all, for those of us married to a Domincan man… they are very proud and are used to being the breadwinners in their families and in charge of where the money goes. It goes against the way they were raised to see their wife earning more money than them (in some cases) and telling them where they should spend their money (or hinting at where they SHOULD spend their money). This was a huge issue at the beginning. My husband was not used to juggling so many payments for mortgage, utilities, car, spending money, food, etc. and not being able to spend money as he pleased with no thought to it eventually running out. At first I took charge of paying the bills as I have always done on my own but I soon realized that if I wanted our marriage to be a success I could not try to dominate him and tell him what to do in this regard. Also, he was calculating in his head what we both earn and was thinking there should have been a whole lot more disposable income than what I was telling him and it created a trust issue. So… after trial and error on this issue, I began insisting we sit down together to pay bills on the internet where he could see clearly what money was coming into and out of our account. Over time, he realized how expensive life here can be and he really gained a lot of trust when he saw how I had been managing our finances and still putting money aside for investments, etc. Also, instead of having one joint account (which is how we started out) we decided on a joint account for our bills and separate accounts for each of us for spending money. This way, I could see that he felt more in control of the decisions surrounding where he was spending his money. I must say that I don’t always agree where he spends his portion of spending money, but I keep my thoughts to myself because it’s his money to spend how he sees fit and I’m sure that over time, he will learn to not blow it all the first week of pay so that the second week he has nothing

    With the sending money home issue, it’s a hard call. I did not agree that we should be sending money to his family when they made out just fine before he was in Canada. This is not to say that I don’t have empathy for their shortage of funds at times, but we are always very generous when we visit and at times I am witness to them spending money on items that are clearly not needed nor within their limited financial means. However, my husband has many family members living around the world who regularly send money home to the DR so he felt shamed by everyone else when they were sending something and he was not. Therefore, I had to try and put myself in his shoes and think of a way that we could send money to please him but still not feel like it was taking away from things we wanted to do with our hard earned money here. We unfortunately had a tragic death in my husband’s family about a year and a half after he arrived in Canada and this really changed our views on sending money home. We realized that if we sent money on a regular basis, we could not assist the family when emergencies arose (or at least not without putting ourselves in a financial pinch). Therefore, we decided that we would send money not on a regular basis or in regular amounts but when we determined there was a need and we could do without. For example, this past spring, one of his brothers had an accident and required medical attention. We did not even learn of the accident until the family had gotten themselves into considerable debt trying to buy all the drugs, etc. that were necessary. We sent them money at that time because it was more important to us that they could get the proper treatment that was needed than it was for us to be able to go out for dinner every Friday that month so we gave up our dinners for a month and sent the money there. Now I must also say that we have not shared with his family our system of sending money for emergencies only or I’m sure emergencies would become a much more regular occurrence and my husband recognizes this as well (you get to know which family members you can believe in the case of an “emergency” and who you have to take with a grain of salt or do some digging to find out if what they are telling you is true)!! So far, there has not been an abuse of our system of sending money and my husband gets to feel good about helping out when they are really in need rather than sending money at times that they don’t really need it and may likely waste it.

    My husband has also had to work on understanding Canadians. He has learned that your wife might not be too happy after arriving home from work at 6:00 p.m. to find out that he has invited over every Dominican within driving distance for dinner (guess who’s cooking)!

    It’s been a real learning experience for us both. I almost think it’s harder for the Canadian counterpart to adjust to the cultural differences and expectations of a Dominican (marrying a Dominicana might be easier) than it is for the Dominican to adjust to Canadian life. I have no regrets and in fact feel that we are luckier than a lot of couples in Canada because we are not only living through a marriage but learning a new culture along the way which helps to keep things new and interesting.

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    I'm just going to give my opinion on the "sending money for the the family" part. I live here in the USA and my whole family, let me make it clear MY WHOLE FAMILY is either a USA citizen or a Permanent Resident. My parents lives in the DR, my father has a business not big but pay the bills, but they still ask me for money because i'm here and they are there, especially my dear mother, because my father is stingy and doesn't give her money, eventhough they're both USA citizen,they can come and work here if they want, but they don't like it here in the USA, so they ASK me for money, and i don't know why but i can't say NO, sometimes i feel MAD but there is something in us Dominican that say send money to your family.

    Good example, my father asked me if i can borrow him $3,000 i was about to explode and say NO NO NO but i couldn't, i feel they are going to bankrupt me, i don't know what to do, and i know your husband feel they same way, they are UNDER a lot of PRESSURE to send money to their family.

    Keep in mind that my family are USA citizen (parents), image your spouses family that had never been out side the DR, they think that your husband are "livin la vida loca" and have more money that they can spend.

    So thank God you are still married, i know some Dominican men that sent their whole check to the DR and live a worst live here in the STATES than they used to live back in the DR.

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    wow i really like this thread keep it up i need to learn this stuff from people who have experienced it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezequiel View Post
    I'm just going to give my opinion on the "sending money for the the family" part. I live here in the USA and my whole family, let me make it clear MY WHOLE FAMILY is either a USA citizen or a Permanent Resident. My parents lives in the DR, my father has a business not big but pay the bills, but they still ask me for money because i'm here and they are there, especially my dear mother, because my father is stingy and doesn't give her money, eventhough they're both USA citizen,they can come and work here if they want, but they don't like it here in the USA, so they ASK me for money, and i don't know why but i can't say NO, sometimes i feel MAD but there is something in us Dominican that say send money to your family.

    Good example, my father asked me if i can borrow him $3,000 i was about to explode and say NO NO NO but i couldn't, i feel they are going to bankrupt me, i don't know what to do, and i know your husband feel they same way, they are UNDER a lot of PRESSURE to send money to their family.

    Keep in mind that my family are USA citizen (parents), image your spouses family that had never been out side the DR, they think that your husband are "livin la vida loca" and have more money that they can spend.

    So thank God you are still married, i know some Dominican men that sent their whole check to the DR and live a worst live here in the STATES than they used to live back in the DR.
    Thanks for your words about not knowing what to do when it comes to sending money. It's very brave and honest and there have been days I was feeling the same. Now because I accepted it and came up with a compromise it works. We still get phone calls from one of the brothers and Jose has learned not to call him back..and I pretend I don't understand what he's saying..LOL

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    When when one of my wife's cousins asks for money or complains my wife says yes life is hard here too, hope things get better for you. One of her cousins owns 2 houses in Santo Domingo and 2 in Jarabacoa- collecting rent on three. She always asks Yris for money, even though she paid cash for these houses, in one case 3,000,000 pesos. Language is the biggest issue because it is hard enough communicating when you are both fluent in the same language. For Yris the biggest adjustment was having to work for someone else when she was used to being the boss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiesta Mama View Post
    Sorry this is so long winded... I could go on for days about this topic but I think it will be helpful!

    My husband has been here in Canada now coming up on 3 ½ years. Things have mostly been great but there are some real cultural issues that both parties must recognize if they are going to be successful. Once you get over those issues (or you each learn to deal with them in a way that you can live with) life will be much easier for both parties.

    As noted by SJSantos, I see money issues as the biggest adjustment for the Dominican/Canadian couples I know, including myself. First of all, for those of us married to a Domincan man… they are very proud and are used to being the breadwinners in their families and in charge of where the money goes. It goes against the way they were raised to see their wife earning more money than them (in some cases) and telling them where they should spend their money (or hinting at where they SHOULD spend their money). This was a huge issue at the beginning. My husband was not used to juggling so many payments for mortgage, utilities, car, spending money, food, etc. and not being able to spend money as he pleased with no thought to it eventually running out. At first I took charge of paying the bills as I have always done on my own but I soon realized that if I wanted our marriage to be a success I could not try to dominate him and tell him what to do in this regard. Also, he was calculating in his head what we both earn and was thinking there should have been a whole lot more disposable income than what I was telling him and it created a trust issue. So… after trial and error on this issue, I began insisting we sit down together to pay bills on the internet where he could see clearly what money was coming into and out of our account. Over time, he realized how expensive life here can be and he really gained a lot of trust when he saw how I had been managing our finances and still putting money aside for investments, etc. Also, instead of having one joint account (which is how we started out) we decided on a joint account for our bills and separate accounts for each of us for spending money. This way, I could see that he felt more in control of the decisions surrounding where he was spending his money. I must say that I don’t always agree where he spends his portion of spending money, but I keep my thoughts to myself because it’s his money to spend how he sees fit and I’m sure that over time, he will learn to not blow it all the first week of pay so that the second week he has nothing

    With the sending money home issue, it’s a hard call. I did not agree that we should be sending money to his family when they made out just fine before he was in Canada. This is not to say that I don’t have empathy for their shortage of funds at times, but we are always very generous when we visit and at times I am witness to them spending money on items that are clearly not needed nor within their limited financial means. However, my husband has many family members living around the world who regularly send money home to the DR so he felt shamed by everyone else when they were sending something and he was not. Therefore, I had to try and put myself in his shoes and think of a way that we could send money to please him but still not feel like it was taking away from things we wanted to do with our hard earned money here. We unfortunately had a tragic death in my husband’s family about a year and a half after he arrived in Canada and this really changed our views on sending money home. We realized that if we sent money on a regular basis, we could not assist the family when emergencies arose (or at least not without putting ourselves in a financial pinch). Therefore, we decided that we would send money not on a regular basis or in regular amounts but when we determined there was a need and we could do without. For example, this past spring, one of his brothers had an accident and required medical attention. We did not even learn of the accident until the family had gotten themselves into considerable debt trying to buy all the drugs, etc. that were necessary. We sent them money at that time because it was more important to us that they could get the proper treatment that was needed than it was for us to be able to go out for dinner every Friday that month so we gave up our dinners for a month and sent the money there. Now I must also say that we have not shared with his family our system of sending money for emergencies only or I’m sure emergencies would become a much more regular occurrence and my husband recognizes this as well (you get to know which family members you can believe in the case of an “emergency” and who you have to take with a grain of salt or do some digging to find out if what they are telling you is true)!! So far, there has not been an abuse of our system of sending money and my husband gets to feel good about helping out when they are really in need rather than sending money at times that they don’t really need it and may likely waste it.

    My husband has also had to work on understanding Canadians. He has learned that your wife might not be too happy after arriving home from work at 6:00 p.m. to find out that he has invited over every Dominican within driving distance for dinner (guess who’s cooking)!

    It’s been a real learning experience for us both. I almost think it’s harder for the Canadian counterpart to adjust to the cultural differences and expectations of a Dominican (marrying a Dominicana might be easier) than it is for the Dominican to adjust to Canadian life. I have no regrets and in fact feel that we are luckier than a lot of couples in Canada because we are not only living through a marriage but learning a new culture along the way which helps to keep things new and interesting.


    I have to admit I'm finding this thread interesting. The women in my family have a tradition of marrying men from foreign shores. And when you mentioned the part about your husband inviting people over for dinner and you finding out at the last minute, it reminded me of my parents. Even though my father and mother have been married 38 years ( Dad's been a Canadian citizen for 31 years), he never learns. He still invites people over and then drops the bomb on Mom. When the last guest leaves, she gives it to him..both barrels! lol Does this deter him from doing it again? Nope! LMAO

    He also loves to spend money and even though he pays bills and looks after the finances along with Mom, sometimes he thinks they should have more disposable income as well. Then she has to sit him down again and say, this gets paid on this date...and this comes out of this account and so on. He loves buying gadgets...computers are the big thing. He even buys stuff and hides it from her. He has his own computer room and she always tells him that she is going to photograph it one day and if the photographs from week to week don't match, she's going smash up his room! LOL

    From time to time, she'll call him on his cell phone when he's out on errands and ask him where he is. She'll say, " You better not be at that damn Future Shop again!" hehe So...anyway..Mom and I think all of this obsession with material stuff comes from going without early on in life and having to work very hard and still have very little. He's one of the success stories you could say. He came to Canada with $20 in his pocket and has done very well and had a successful career. That being said, my Mom is still trying to put the clamps on him and its funny to watch. He says she is always trying to dominate him, but that's not the case. She's only trying to save Dad from himself! lol

    Foreign men are funny creatures that need space to make a niche for themselves in their new homelands, but never give them too much leeway because as you can see from my family's example...you can take the foreigner out of the mother country but you'll never take the mother country out of the foreigner. We wouldn't want Dad to be any other way...he is such a source of comic relief!

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