I am a chemistry professor and thanks to my work at a university, I was able to get a scholarship to study a doctorate in the city of Montreal, in the province of Québec.
One of the initial difficulties I faced was language. Even though my English is good, I am in a francophone province, that also has a very particular way of speaking which is not taught in French classes in my country. The change in my field of study and returning to school after 8 years of graduating from college were difficult as well.
The experience has been very emotionally challenging. It is not easy to build a support network from zero. I miss my friends and family, and it has hurt me to not be there with them for certain moments. However, here I have become close friends with other migrants and we have supported each other a lot. I feel I have grown so much as a person and that I have achieved a level of independence and obtained some personal skills that perhaps I wouldn’t have acquired in my country.
I have also learned that you are not alone and that you must fight to be well, taking care of your physical, mental and emotional health. I advise all people who are outside their countries to seek resources that are available: agencies that help migrants, counselors, therapists among others.
Living in Montreal has been a very enrichening experience not only because you are in contact with people from many different nationalities, with their own languages, cultures, and ways of thinking. It is also a city with great college energy and the fact of being in the province of Quebec give it a North American identity with a strong European influence.
Due to the conditions of my scholarship, I must return to Costa Rica to work, which gives me a competitive advantage, but also gives me the feeling of not being at home when I travel to my country nor when I am at Montreal. I think being a migrant is to have different places you call home and to know that wherever you are, and you can grow, there is your home.