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A New Challenge Overseas

Published March 30 2022
Érik Munk-Jakobsen, Java Developer
Érik Munk-Jakobsen
Java Developer
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My name is Erik Munk, and I have been working at Alithya since 2018. More precisely, until very recently, I was working for Alithya France. I decided to take the plunge with both feet to pursue the next steps of my professional journey, and to seek fulfillment in the array of exciting new projects within the Alithya Canada team. Despite it being a big culture shock, the transition has been smooth. I will tell you my little story, including details about the process set in motion to facilitate my arrival in Montreal.  

My Alithya journey  

It’s human nature to enjoy challenges. I adapt well to change, and after 3 years on the same mission - first as a project developer and then as a Tech Lead - I needed to refresh. I wanted to tackle a new professional mandate, so I informed the Alithya France human resources team of my intentions. That step eventually led to my arrival in Montreal at the beginning of 2022, where my new mandate is to assist in modernizing technologies in the financial field.  

How was the exchange process handled?  

I was lucky to be very well supported throughout the process, as well as to have an exceptional follow-up. I received 5-star service! Alithya not only managed all of the legal work required for me to obtain a work permit and social insurance number, but they also took charge of managing my move.  

First time in Canada  

Being my first time in Montreal, and in Canada, I was able to discover the different neighborhoods and attractions of the city with the accompaniment of a guide. I absorbed the city in order to feel at home. To be honest, the biggest challenge of the move has been leaving my family and friends behind in pursuit of the unknown. In order to further adapt, I also visited my new living environment. 

I have nothing but good things to say about the whole process, which is really well run. I have never been left on my own, which has greatly facilitated my integration into the country and has enabled me to focus on doing my job well. 

A smooth adaptation  

As I mentioned earlier, being accompanied allowed me to adapt more easily. However, I still didn't know anyone in Montreal. My colleagues were quick to welcome me with open arms as one of their own. Considering that the team has been 100% teleworking, we jump at every opportunity to engage in outings and activities together. I feel good about that, and I am happy to have found colleagues who have become my friends. Quebec has a reputation for being welcoming: I have seen proof of that!  

My advice for future newcomers to Canada  

Preparation is the key to success. First, you should plan your visit (winter or summer?). If you arrive during the winter months, I advise you to bring warm clothes. However, even your warmest clothes might not be enough, so plan for a shopping spree once here! The air is very crisp, which requires adaptation in itself. Personally, I have never had problems with such temperatures, so I haven’t encountered any difficulties since I arrived. 

Also, it’s important to keep in touch with your family and friends. Even through mundane stretches, touching base on a daily basis to see how they are doing is always a good thing! I speak with my loved ones for about 15 minutes every morning to get the news, to stay informed, and to keep them close.  

Quebec has a warm culture, and Alithya is also very welcoming and helpful. Don’t be afraid to dive right in and come here to work too!   

Arrival surprises: a real culture shock!  

It's crazy how little habits can differ from one culture to another. I was a little bit surprised by a few things when I arrived. Here’s a list of a few of them: 

  1. Moving day: I learned that July 1st is the day here when all of the people who decide to relocate do so at once. The streets of Montreal are crowded with moving trucks amidst a palpable frenzy. I can’t wait to see it! 
  1. Building restrictions: Montreal is a metropolis, but it doesn’t have the same feeling of grandeur as cities like Paris or Lyon. I would compare it more to Nice, possibly due to the height of the buildings. There are laws in place to ensure that building construction never exceeds the height of Mount Royal. 
  1. The big city: I never lived in a big city like Montreal before. I have always lived in the suburbs, or in the countryside, but I like it! I like the proximity. I look forward to visiting the Great Lakes soon, as well as Toronto, Vancouver, and Quebec City (it’s unusual to see the name of a city that is the same as that of the province). All of those destinations are much closer than they were before my move, and I intend to take advantage of my arrival in Canada to discover this beautiful country!