Introducing Camille, who relocated with her parents and two siblings from tropical Fort-de-France to freezing Montreal, Canada at age 16. We hope her testimonial will help your teenagers cope with the idea of relocating to Quebec!
“Moving on, changing countries and culture is a really challenging upheaval for the whole family. This change seems easier for younger ones, but what about your elder children? How will your 16-year old son adapt to his new high school? How will your 18-year old daughter face the loss of her points of reference?
It would be utopian to believe that this change will come without fear or anxiety, but it would be worthless to worry too much about that. My name is Camille, I’m 19 years old, and I personally experienced this, two years ago. Like your kids, I left my friends, my points of references, my habits, and my world behind me. And like your kids will, I built a new life here in Montreal, and I’d change it for nothing in the world.
Obviously, the beginning was not that easy, we’re discovering a new culture, a new mentality that we’re not used to. We’re wondering about a lot of things: Am I going to make friends as good as the ones that I left? Absolutely not, we think. What am I going to wear this winter? I’ll probably die because of the cold… What do the young people do when it’s freezing outside? Hibernate? What are they doing all day, what are their favorite activities or shops? What if I don’t like hockey? How will it be?
First thing you need to know is that the people of Quebec are particularly welcoming, open minded, and warm. They will do everything to help you adapt to your new life. Moreover, Montreal being a heterogeneous city, there is a lot of immigrant communities: French, Chinese, British, Arabic, Italian… Everyone will find satisfaction! I’ve been to a French international school, and had the chance to meet representatives of every one of those nationalities, and they’ve become my closer friends.
Your kids will quickly find out that Montreal is the perfect city for teenagers. There are so many things to do, so much to discover! Moreover the environment of the city is really reassuring because it is regularly classified in the top 10 safest cities in the world. Obviously, you always have to be careful, but there is almost nothing to be afraid of, and the crime rate is very low. Therefore, we can easily discover the city.
Montreal is full of crazy little coffee shops, of festivals all over the year, of eccentric hidden shops, enormous malls in which time flies really fast, of magnificent gardens where you can go biking on a Sunday afternoon with family or friends… If you’re up to the challenge, there are English speaking movie theatres; for calmer people, there are numerous ballets at the Quartier des Spectacles; and as sports fans, especially hockey fans, you should appreciate the crazy atmosphere during the playoffs in sports bars and restaurants. The ice arena is opened year round; the amusement park is accessible from the metro; gigantic universities’ libraries, or Starbuck’s cafes are always full of students preparing for their exams. Therefore, being 17 or 18 years old in Montreal should be very exciting for your teenagers, so don’t be anxious, they will never be bored, believe me.”
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Photo Credit: Camille Lauriol