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April 20, 2016

 

Carlos, what is your professional background? I am an accountant; My bachelor's degree is in accounting (CPA, Mexico and CMA ICMA, Hong Kong Branch), my master's in Managing International Companies. I have been in international business and now I am in banking. I am into numbers!

 

Why did you leave Spain? I have loved to travel from the very beginning! When I was a teenager in Spain, I loved going to Europe. I left Spain when I was 19 years old and went to Mexico. I’m very happy experiencing new things and seeing different ways of living. My wife and I are actually here now after several years in China.

 

What was your first emotion upon arriving in Canada? Always when you start something, you are nervous. It doesn’t matter how much you prepare. You know you are losing something you had and there is no way to return. You are throwing the dice. It is a leap of faith.

 

Who here has helped you the most since you arrived? Lisa, from Volunteer Victoia. Lisa Mort-Putland. It was the first time someone in Canada recognized my professional experience and what I could contribute.  She saw a place for me and helped me make connections. She trusted me. I am very grateful to her.

 

 

It was the first time someone in Canada recognized my professional experience and what I could contribute. She saw a place for me and helped me make connections.

 

 

What do you miss most from home? The warmth and ease of talking to people

and being with my family—the support.

 

How many Spaniards are there in Victoria? Oh, not many, I don’t think; I have

only met three or four. There are many Spanish speakers here though, from all

over the world.

 

How do you stay connected to your own culture? I don’t need to stay

connected. I feel now like a battery or something like that! I was born in that

culture, so I am wired to that culture but I don’t need to stay connected. Maybe

I would feel homesick if I did.

 

 

I was born in that culture, so I am wired to that culture,

but I don’t need to stay connected. Maybe I would feel

homesick if I did.

 

 

You mention that the job market is one of your biggest challenges here, did

that surprise you?  Yes, actually. Canada seems much less open and

globally-minded than I expected. There are many restrictions. It’s like all my

qualifications and overseas experience have disappeared, like they don’t exist.

 

That is one of the most common statements I hear from newcomers. Can I

ask why it was so unexpected? That is a good question, actually. You always

think it will not happen to me, or it will not be like that with my professional

degree or with my experience. You think: it will be different for me—I'm not the

immigrant coming with no educational background. I know English, etc...

Sometimes I think you also trick yourself. I should have done more research; I

should have prepared more too. But I chose this and I will keep moving forward.

 

You mentioned that you might change your name. I think that if I want to

settle in an English-speaking country that I should probably change my name.

This is very personal; my wife, Berenice, doesn't like this idea, nor does my son.

I think it's a way to integrate, so if I'm going to be here a long time, then I will

probably change my name.

 

 

 

 

I think that if I want to settle in an English-speaking country that I should probably change my name. I think it's a way to integrate, so if I'm going to be here a long time, then I will probably change my name.

 

 

 

There are studies that show people with more "anglicized" names have a better chance of having their résumés reviewed and getting interview opportunities. Is that part of your motivation? Yes, it is. And it would only affect me here in Canada; I'd still be Carlos everywhere else. You are you—I don't give so much importance to the name. I'm trying to find a place here in North America.

 

You have referred to "pity" talk as a strange Canadian custom? Why "pity"? And can you explain more? Not "pity"! "Petty" talk! That's my pronunciation. I have trouble with those two sounds! What I mean by that is the exchange every time we meet: "Hi, how are you?" or "Great to see you", and the constant encouragement, like when I do something, people say: "Well done, Carlos!". I could just write my name and someone might say, "Great job!" It's not like this in other countries and it seems strange to me. But it's nice—I'm getting used to it.

 

note: "petty talk" is more commonly referred to as "small talk".

 

What is your favourite thing to do in Victoria? Go to the sea. Walk the beach. Also Beacon Hill Park is nice—it’s important for me to get outside.

 

Any advice for other newcomers? Be prepared! Do research! Prepare and learn as much as you can before you arrive. Don't think that you have it all organized. People misunderstand. They think Canada is a country for immigrants; it has a lot of experience integrating immigrants, so it will just welcome them and everything will be easy. Try to find opportunities before you come; connect with people on LinkedIn; find a support group here before you come.

 

 

People misunderstand. They think Canada is a country for immigrants; it has a lot of experience integrating immigrants, so it will just welcome them and everything will be easy.

MEET CARLOS HERNANDEZ CARMONA

NEW HERE Globe-trotting accountant takes a leap of faith to start again in Canada

HIKING VANCOUVER ISLAND WITH RYAN LEBLANC

TRAILING SPOUSES: MARRIAGES-ON-THE-MOVE

THE INTERLOVE PROJECT BY COLIN BOYD SHAFER

Fiona Bramble meets Carlos at Serious Coffee in Victoria's B.C.'c Cook St. Village neighbourhood to talk about his path to Canada, his cultural ties, and his biggest challenge in B.C's beautiful capital.

 

hometown: BARCELONA, SPAIN

languages: SPANISH, ENGLISH

days in Canada:  300

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