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Meet Matthijs: Building a Network


1. What brought you to Leeds and Grenville/Canada?

My wife is working for the Coast Guard and had an opportunity to start at the Prescott base.


2. What was your transition moving to Canada/Leeds and Grenville like?

After moving from The Netherlands, we first stayed in Sydney, Nova Scotia for 6 months. In March 2019, we arrived in Prescott. We rented an apartment close to the Coast Guard base to get known to the area better and to decide if and where in the area we wanted to find the new home for our family.


3. Are there any recent changes or transitions you’ve gone through that you’d like to share?

Growing up in a city in The Netherlands and now living in the country here in Canada is a big transition. The space, being in nature and the distance you need to cover to go to places like our daughters’ school, shops, or sport clubs.


4. What do you think this area could change to be better for newcomers?

We have felt very welcome in this area and that is the most important!


5. Was there anything that surprised you about this area/Canada?

How easy going and friendly people are, and how the pace of life seems to be easy going as well.


6. What would you change about your life/this area/anything if you could?

Nothing at this moment.


7. Have you had to change anything in your life to adjust to Leeds and Grenville/Canada?

Starting to live in the country came with some things to discover and learn about. From cutting wood and growing food in our garden, to outside maintenance/yard work and of course dealing with the snow in wintertime.


8. How have you had to adapt to working in Canada?

I had the opportunity to work for the Township of Augusta in a temporary position. This job gave me the opportunity to experience working in Canada and everything that comes with it. Improving my English language skills in a professional environment and meeting a lot of local people to start building my network in this area.


Through people in my network I was introduced to the Employment + Education Centre in Brockville, where I currently work in my field of experience as Employment Coach. The same work as I was active in in The Netherlands.


9. Did anyone help you while you were transitioning to Leeds and Grenville/Canada?

We experienced this transition as a family and didn’t rely on outside support.


10. If you could do anything right now, what would you do?

Continue what Im doing, enjoying life her in Leeds & Grenville/Canada!


11. What was the hardest thing about coming to Leeds and Grenville/Canada?

It was not hard, but you do need to familiarize yourself with some rules, regulations, and expectations. Mostly you run into them because of things you want or need to do.


12. Do you have any advice for anyone planning on coming to Leeds and Grenville/Canada?

Be pro-active, participate in activities in the community and be open to the people around you. You will see that everyone is interested in hearing your story and happy to have you here.


13. What do you think is most important for people to know/think about when working/connecting with immigrants?

Be open to new people, show personal interest and invite people to participate.


14. What supports do you know about that can help newcomers in this area?

Of course, the ‘Immigration Partnership’ and the ‘English Conversation Club’ for newcomers organized by the Employment + Education Centre, who also support people new to Canada with finding a job.


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