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Aunty Bella: Miss Contemplating Relocation to Canada




Aunty Bella is our  agony aunt column on BellaNaija. We launched this column in the early days of BN and periodically feature issues sent in by BN readers. 
We hope the BN family can offer insightful advice.

Hello aunty bella, please advise me on what to do. I am a young single lady who’s in her early thirties. I presently run a catering and hospitality supply business. The business is only 15 months old, and I must say that it’s really though on young entrepreneurs running a business in this damn country.

I am passionate about what I do , but lately I have been contemplating selling off my belongings and relocating to Canada to undergo a culinary diploma for a year or two.

I also like travel and adventure , so I am thinking I could explore the world from there and hopefully find love as well. It’s been a struggle trying to decide on what to do.
Please advise me on the option to stick with because I really don’t want to make mistakes.



  1. Author Unknown

    March 6, 2016 at 4:28 am

    Two questions. What are your business/ career plans after your diploma, and are you hoping to specifically find love with a Nigerian while living in Canada or exploring the world?

    • Surely

      March 7, 2016 at 4:09 am

      If you don’t want to make mistakes, you don’t want to live.

  2. AHausaChickInToronto

    March 6, 2016 at 4:33 am

    As a Torontonian who’s loving it here, I’ll advice you get ready to start of with foreign culinary stuff because it’s easier for you to get a job immediately after your course. When you feel strong enough to stand on your own, you can have your own business or if God gives you the strength you can have your own business on the side while working but don’t forget to also try to get some Hands on culinary experience while doing your course. Oya Please start coming sharp sharp so that I can start buying food from you ?… May God bless your desires

    P.S there are a limited amount of marriageable men here lool but if you don’t mind swirling, then your option for love is plentiful

    • ElessarisElendil

      March 6, 2016 at 6:10 am

      Longest time. So have all those Italian men and French men swooning over you stolen your heart yet?

    • Abi

      March 6, 2016 at 9:17 am

      Canada is a good country to study. If you have enough money to pay your tuition and rent while you are in school. The cheapest rent you can get will be 400 to 500 dollars for a small room in a month. You can work off campus as a student, but be ready to do hard factory jobs( bakery) or security jobs in the cold (you will stand till your break time). If you are very lucky you will find a job in school. If you have lots of money, you wont even need to do those jobs. Toronto is a fun place, but try as much as possible to avoid dating a Nigerian. Some of them are not very nice. They will use and dump you (be wise). Even married men will lie to you that they are single. Nigerians will rather date Jamaicans because not all Jamaicans care about marrying in the future. Remember starting a business in a foreign country is not a joke. You just don’t wake up and start a business. You need to be very good at what you do. Do not forget about the taxes business owners pay. Do not invest in our local food. In as much as i like pepper rice and suya, I would rather go to an Italian restaurant than Osesenaga’s joint or Suya spot.

  3. Ladybird

    March 6, 2016 at 4:46 am

    If you feel strongly that you want to come to Canada then go for it. Personally I think that Canada is ideal for international students(much more than America). When you graduate here(depending on your degree ), you have many options. of settling here. International students can even work off campus and on campus while in school. Check the immigration website to see what it offers for people with diplomas. As far as I know, relocating to Canada as foreigner is easier when you have a Canadian degree..definitely much easier than elsewhere.

    • Le coco

      March 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      hi lady bird… I am also relocating to canada. mainly because I know that job opportunities are in abundance.. I happen to love working .. Nd I am Good ad juggling work and school.. problem with where I live now is jobs are hard to come by for foreign nationals… I don’t knw what the situation is in Alberta.. wld tht be a good place to move to?

    • Iris

      March 6, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Ahhhhhh no jobs here o! Chai. When i saw your sentence about there being tons of jobs in Canada i thought ‘please let her be talking about Ontario. ‘ Alberta is probably the worst province to move to at this time. It used to be milk and honey and they were begging people to come. The honey dried a little as more people flooded in and then oil prices crashed and then eyes started to clear. Alberta is heavily oil backed. Small to medium companies have been laying people off in tens and hundreds, the large ones in thousands even. People have taken pay cuts to work harder and cover for people laid off.
      On the other hand if your are lucky to get a government job ( really the only area that prizes a degree unless you are an engineer) things might be fine. See if you can find something in Toronto. At the end of the day, however, you never know. Miracles are told everyday. Alberta may work out, but going purely on forecasts and the present situation, things are rough.

    • Le coco

      March 6, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      @iris.. thank you for that.. that was incredibly helpful.. although I do hear that Toronto may be harder for me given that it is a bigger city.. I was also considering quebec.. since I speak french and I have all the qualification’s tht wld enable me be accepted into a french uni such as laval . .. bt the thot of doing a masters degree in a language other than English freaks me out…

      also what about Manitoba or even a town like regina? what are my chances there?

    • S

      March 6, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      Okay let me clear some common misconceptions here. Canada doesn’t have tons of job! Whether you are in Ontario, Quebec (my friends there complain) and especially not Alberta (with the current oil crisis). It’s not a land flowing with milk and honey. Immigrants come here as respectable doctors and end up as concierges/door men. The stress of getting canadian experience and degrees (they mostly only regard US degrees, even British degrees are somewhat useless) is real.
      This is not to discourage you but to give you the reality. However, those who are determined and have God’s backing will accomplish anything. I know someone who came here after years of frustration in the US and ended up getting a law degree and private practice in his 50s even when his canadian teachers said it was impossible. However, he had serious God-backing o. He prayed through it all.
      All this grammar it to tell you that nothing is easy anywhere. No jobs, no husbands but with God and determination, you can get all you want. There is no allowance for laziness and expecting things to drop on your lap in Canada. One thing I’ve learnt in this country is to wholly depend on God and fight/push through it all cause it can be frustrating, especially if you don’t have family here. So no land of milk and honey anywhere. Just land of depend on God and having the heart of a lion.

    • Amaa

      March 6, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      If you have a Nigerian degree make sure you are ready to go back to school. Canadian experience and schooling is an advantage Yankee and Jand dem no send unless you went to an Iv league school in Yankee.. Taxes are really high here. So be prepared to do some volunteer work before you get a job . The economy of Canada is on a down turn but not for too long be prepared to hustle . The jobs are not there waiting to be plucked plus the 25000 refugees just landed so there also be lots of restaurants opening up. It will be interesting to see how that affects the labor market. Also be ready to move any where Saskatchewan(its freeking cold during winter) or up north

  4. Somebody

    March 6, 2016 at 5:30 am

    Hey girl, have you consulted with God about this decision? If you haven’t, please do.

    I can’t tell you which option to choose but I live in Canada and I’ll give my 2 cents on things to consider before deciding to move to Canada.

    Canada is a great place to live but please ensure you conduct thorough research on the schools that offer your program, the tuition costs and living costs. It is not cheap especially as an international student but it is very doable. Just plan this thing very well.

    Also ensure that you do research (lots of information online e. g. Canadavisa.Com) on what it takes to become a permanent resident after graduation. People who come to school as international students in Canada typically apply and get a work permit after graduation and then become eligible to apply for permanent residency after 1 year (I believe) of work in an “eligible” field.

    I’ll advise you go consider schools in one of the less populated provinces (e.g Manitoba, the Maritimes) as I believe becoming a permanent resident in those provinces is much easier and quicker than say, Ontario. Jobs may be easier to get there but again, please do your research considering your career field.

    Moving to Canada can be very rewarding but it can also be very lonely here especially if you don’t have the family/social support, that said, once you make friends and spend more time here it gets easier.

    I wouldn’t say there are no men here like most people say, but I’ll advise you to be open to finding love within and outside the Nigerian community in Canada. A lot of people complain that there are no eligible men in Canada…that doesn’t mean your story will be thesame.

    There is only so much advice I can give on BN. Please share your email address if you’d like some more information. I hope I’ve been able to help a bit. All the best my dear.

    • folarin

      March 6, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Am a public health researcher, I’d like to explore opportunities in canada.

    • Fellow Canuck

      March 6, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      visit…loads of information

    • Ada Ogaranya

      March 6, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Hi somebody, pls mail me so we chat pls. Thanks a lot

    • Ada Ogaranya

      March 6, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    • Tee

      March 7, 2016 at 12:34 am

      Is it just me or people are generally nice on this blog when it comes to giving candid and valuable advice? Great advice from y’all! Keep up the good work.

    • lilo

      March 7, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      Nope..Canadians are just amazing people!!! 😀

  5. xtsy

    March 6, 2016 at 5:57 am

    I believe you can have both option’s. Do you have a trusted relative or friend to partner with in running the business whilst you explore the option’s Canada has for you.

  6. Truth

    March 6, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Every body is making canada look like land of Gold and they dont tell u d hustle u have to go thru while you are in school. Canada is the country whr ur hard work/laziness will determine how far u go regardless of the oppourtunities that abound. I wunt lie its good here but get ur hustle game on. To the person who said u can work on and off campus ill say its true but did u tell her its not the kind of jobs she is expecting and d limitations that apply till ur a graduate. Pls my dear Canada is good but u got to invest welllll in terms of time money and PATIENCE before you start reaping your fruits. If ur coming be prepared and come with God

    • Abiks

      March 6, 2016 at 7:47 am

      Please can I have u email address. Planning on relocating to canada and will need some counsel

    • Ladybird

      March 6, 2016 at 9:10 am

      I couldn’t include much in my post but I somewhat agree with you . I think it depends for everyone..

  7. Truth

    March 6, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Also be ready to stay with landlords ie rent house, jump buses till u get all licenses and be humble cz canada will make you humble in many ways while on your path to greatness which is sure in Canada while keeping your patience strong

    • Abi

      March 6, 2016 at 9:27 am

      It’s not just Canada my dear. It’s everywhere. The hustle is real abroad o. No time for laziness. Bills are real o. But opportunities abound for focused pple.

    • Bee

      March 7, 2016 at 2:55 am

      Hahaha thank you! Canada will humble you! I live in Alberta myself, and in the midst of the falling oil prices,got a good job. My point with God ALL things are possible. But be ready to be challenged. God will make your paths straight

  8. Zee

    March 6, 2016 at 7:14 am

    I believe life is about taking risk, that is calculated risks. We tend to regret missing an opportunity after it passes. So I will say ask yourself this; will I be happier and more fulfilled if I travel or if I don’t?
    Besides, can’t someone handle your biz while you’re away so you have a plan B? if you decide to come back after your diploma, it will be nice to repackage your biz rather than start from scratch.
    Sweetheart this love thing eh, you can’t predict it. Love will find you. Do not let the pressure get to you.
    If I were you, I will consult God! there’s this peace of mind I get if I am on the right track, if I become rather disturbed after my prayers, then I know I am offtrack. It works for me.
    I wish you the best.

  9. debraOA

    March 6, 2016 at 8:06 am

    Do what you feel it’s right, you don’t expect us to tell you what to do???

    Sweetie, you already have options and you should know what’s best for you. Good luck!!!

    • A Nigerian

      March 6, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Khanum, chetori?

  10. jhennique

    March 6, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Doesn’t sound like a bad decision to me but you wanna pray about it first. However about finding love in Canada……….nne it’s not that easy but that shudnt stop you from pursuing ur career. Love will def come thru sameday

  11. KMT

    March 6, 2016 at 9:58 am

    If you survived for any length of time the Nigerian hustle, and you come into Canada or any western country with the same spirit of the hustle then sky is your limit. I’ll just like to remind you that there are laws here which unlike Nigeria have repercussions if broken.. The first set of people you acquaint with, when you first set yourself in a foreign land tend to influence the path you take. So be careful about the company you keep. Set your self some goals and direct your hustle along the straight and narrow path to the achievements of your goals.

  12. James

    March 6, 2016 at 10:56 am

    No love for Canada o. If you think it’s hard finding eligible bachelors in naija, you will be utterly disappointed in Canada. That is if you are hoping to marry your kind. And since you are in your early 30s, you have no time to waste. Your odds are better in Nigeria, but then you could be one of the lucky few. You can find love anywhere.

  13. Chi

    March 6, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Yes pray about it.

    Let me warn you that if you think it’s hard to do business in Nigeria, it’s much much harder abroad. Unless you are Dangotes daughter, it’s not that easy to pack up and leave because when the rent is due, abeg no go dey inside o. The bills just keep coming.

    And there are stricter laws over there. Apart from business taxes and licences, very strict hygiene laws and there may also be immigration restrictions on foreigners starting up such businesses. These countries abroad can be funny.

    Iit may be true that after studying there you can apply for permanent residency but just check if this is also applicable to diploma like it is to degree courses.

    Plan well to avoid disappointment. It’s very hard to adjust to life abroad. Good social support is always good. It’s as cold as ever and if you be always been used to warm places that’s an extra thing to fight against. For some people , mere fact it’s cold means they can’t wake up in time, they slow down and stuff. The cold and loneliness no be here o.

    As far as you have an exit strategy should things not work out in Canada, I’d say why not. But to put all your eggs in one basket and then lose your mind if things flop, is dangerous.

  14. Blueberry

    March 6, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Girl you only LIVE once. If your dreams dont scare you, then they are not big enough.
    It will be sad to be 50, look back and regret not doing those things you wanted to do when you were still young and vibrant.
    Do what you can do, and leave love to God.

  15. Heirs

    March 6, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    This is a temporal frustration dear – being in your 30s and single as a lady & yet business isn’t yet booming. I understand your frustrations but you may be better off dealing with it all in Nigeria, at least for now. I’m assuming your chances of finding love is your top priority, then business & then travel adventure. The travel appears as easy escape but full of challenges.

    It’s great you’re passionate about your business (that’s a good sign) and you have to endure immediate challenges to succeed. While I support culinary education in Canada, what’s next isn’t defined. And transitioning back home after selling off your stuff becomes harder.

    Stay in Nigeria for now. Focus on working out your passion. You have to hedge your risk before embarking on Canada. That said, pray & if still in doubt, stay.

    All the best.

  16. Whocares

    March 6, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Sell your belongings? You do not have a sponsor for this endeavour? And then to stud culinary something? And then explore the world? The horror stories I have envisioned cannot even be described..before you embark on anything please consult an immigration solicitor. Are you a Canadian, British or American citizen? If not, ahh consult a solicitor certainly. Yolo and what not but these countries have regulations for immigrants that might frustrate you even more if all you have is a Nigerian passport.

  17. Maureen

    March 6, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Hello everyone sorry to distract from the conversation at hand but since we are all talking about immigration and moving and stuff, are there any bellanaijrians living in Sweden,Norway or any other Scandinavian country? I’m currently contemplating moving there after my degree rounds up in September and I’m currently at an A2 language Norwegian level based on the EU language framework. My plan is to work for about 5 years and make enough money to start up my own thing in naija. Abeg any tips about moving and life in general will be greatly appreciated..

    • Giddy gal

      March 6, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Hi Maureen.
      Firstly,why do you want to move to Scandinavia?Have you already got connections that side?
      I currently live in London but used to live in Norway some years ago.Then it was a tad easier to travel to but the only means of settling was marriage with a local.The rules are more stringent now so even coming in is difficult as explained to me by my elder sister who is married and settled there.
      The easier option is Sweden out of all the Scandinavia countries as Denmark is equally tough.Good luck!

    • Giddy gal

      March 6, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      Forgot to add that Norway is very expensive staring with mere food shopping.People drive over to Sweden to fill up for half the price.Even London is cheaper than Norway.
      Easiest way to enter is through Masters.They are very generous with scholarships but you probably might have to return to your country of origin after completion.

    • Maureen

      March 6, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      I have a large number of close friends and former colleagues from there,I’ m about to graduate form an Eastern European university with a medical degree, I’ve weighed all my options and migrating to other countries like the US,or UK involves a lot of exams and atleast two years to do these exams and meet the requirements for each country. Staying within Europe is easiest and of all the European countries, Norway has amongst the highest wages and it will get me to my long term goal to save as much to start my own practice.

  18. Weezy

    March 6, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Diploma in culinary studies? So is that a bachelor or masters degree? If it is none of the above you are wasting your time. If you are a first time immigrant to the west, you cannot afford any useless degree. If your education has all been in Nigeria, you need to get a real degree in Canada that can get you a job afterwards.

    I would advice you to really research (Google) the job market for foreigners in Canada and what professions are easy to get a job in. Be careful of throwing your money on study programs that may not be respected within the Canadian market

  19. Canadians igbo

    March 6, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    If I say do nursing now, una go talk sey I done come. Lol nawa, my dear you have to ask yourself one serious question. That is “I am moving back to Nigeria or am I here to stay”. Now that very question will be of great help to you. If you want to eventually immigrate to Canada now, my dear better drop the idea of a diploma and go for a masters straighttt in a viable profession. The job market out here is crazy, you cannot afford to use your money for adventures sister. But if your moving back to naija to your diploma o but hmmmm think am well. I live here and I am a registered nurse, always wanted to be a physician but immigration barrier no gree me. This place you always need to think smart professionally and immigrationally (if that’s a word)

  20. Manny

    March 6, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    My dear go for it , just plan very well. All the comments are very helpful. But I don’t know about a culinary degree. Why not a masters in hospitality management. That will allow to work in many other countries as well. You could work on cruise ships, in the Caribbean hospitality industry even in Nigeria. So many possibilities.

  21. aunty

    March 6, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    I think your perceptions are flawed. Canada is not all that its painted to be. No country really is. Even the government’s skilled workers program is somewhat dodgy because they don’t tell you the restrictions that you would meet when you get here. They make it seem like you get here and get a job the next day. It’s a real hustle. For new immigrants and some of us who have lived here for decades.
    I agree that its difficult to run a business in naija, but its even more difficult in a country that isn’t yours. There are laws that need to be followed ; you don’t want to enter wahala.

    I would say, do your research well. Find out more about what you would need to get your business established… what kind of licenses you would need e.g. a food vendor / service type of license and depending on the scale of your business, the public health unit/ food inspectors will need to ensure that your set up is safe.

    Like someone said there is no “abeg” if any yawn should gas, so take your time, find out more and make a more informed decision.
    In the mean time, keep growing your business in nigeria, you’re already doing a great job!

    • Kenneth

      November 3, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      Pls am convinced you may have a contribution to what I have. I am a trained physiotherapists here from Nigeria but I would want to apply for Canadian licensure and would want to work in BC. Thanks
      How do you see that.

  22. Iris

    March 6, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    Le Coco I’m going to second S’s comment. Don’t expect to get a job easily based on what you hear. It also depends on the kind of job. If you are a licensed construction worker or a truck driver you may get a well paying job quickly. If you are looking for something corporate it is harder.

    Having French does help if you decide to get a job in another field while you wait to get your dream job. I do not know much about Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It may be easier to get jobs there but be prepared for less ethnic diversity and a minimal social life. I would have said Ottawa is good but I think the job market there may be a bit saturated. I say all this to say be realistic with your expectations. It could take 1 month or it could take 1 year to find something. I’d advise you to start by going to job agencies while you apply. Also, pray hard. Miracles happen every day.

  23. Iris

    March 6, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    Miss Contemplating Relocation everyone makes mistakes in life. You cannot tell the future so I would say think, make a decision and then decide for yourself to have no regrets. If you are determined you can probably start your own business after school. As for the love part….lol. You might find you have more options in Nigeria so please let love be a secondary reason for moving.

  24. Olayinka Awofodu

    March 7, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Canada is a Great Country.

    Culinary School is a good move.

    You don’t necessarily have to sell the food company. Get a reliable management team.You will need some little income settling in. So regardless of money saved up for the Decision- Canada, little monthly inflow into your Nigerian account could be of help.
    PLUS don’t burn bridges. There are loads of Nigeria – Canada
    Businesses you can be doing as a form of work study. You can gradually start a transnational business of importing Nigerian spices et al.
    The world is a global village.

    As a Humber College alumnus and Toronto City-addict, I welcome you to Ontario, Canada.
    Have a pleasant stay!

  25. Tosin

    March 7, 2016 at 6:48 am

    If your business is doing well, do your business – Canada is cold and you can visit later.
    If it’s not really doing well, consider traveling as you said.
    God bless your dreams and your efforts.

  26. been looking for yinka

    March 7, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Yinka oooooooo………………..been looking for you!!!!!!!!!

  27. Jo

    March 7, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Hi all, thanks for your comments. It’s really helped a lot. Please is there anyone that lives in Halifax NS or knows someone who lives there that can advise on living, working or setting up a business there as an African. Thanks

  28. Aidee

    April 17, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    hello everyone i have been doing research myself and trying to decide between moving to canada or australia my husband is an architect and i am a lawyer with 3 very young kids. i would love to get employment even before i move please candid advice would be appreciated

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