Putting down roots in Quebec: Claire's dream life
When Claire left her native France, initially, she was looking to enrich her work experience with an internship in Quebec. What she ended up finding was a rewarding career, a supportive spouse, a welcoming family, a company she was proud of … and herself.
Learning to let go
Assuming that her stay in Quebec would only last 5 months, Claire didn’t have time to spare to miss her loved ones. She was living her internship life to the fullest, thanks to the OFQJ, in a major Montreal hospital. She didn’t try to reproduce her European lifestyle locally—so be it if some foods weren’t available at the grocery store. Claire even asked herself why she wasn’t having the blues when a French friend returned home. Between phone calls and social media, she kept in touch.
Having easier professional relationships
Claire is surrounded by Quebecers in the workplace, which facilitates her integration—and helps her decipher local expressions. She was surprised to be able to get on a first-name basis with her managers, and she loved it! It’s straight to the point, lets her be more productive at work and feels like she’s talking human to human.
There are plenty of advancement opportunities. She was invited to stay to fill in for a maternity leave, and she did. In less than 3 years, she became the head of the department that welcomed her as an intern.
“They recognized my potential. I felt like anything was possible.”
Moving for love
Claire met her love, Mathieu, at the hospital. When the couple got married, they decided that the ceremony would be held in Quebec. Their lives were here. The young French woman was warmly welcomed by her in-laws and got to experience traditions such as gathering at Christmas and Easter, getting family meals on Sunday, spending weekends with cousins, walking along the river in the Bas-Saint-Laurent area. She, who describes herself as “quasi-vegetarian,” even said yes to her father-in-law when he suggested introducing her to small game trapping in the middle of winter. She was fascinated by the people. She was fascinated by everything.
Tip: save on service charges
Seasonal clothing, transportation, outings, equipment: many expenses can be expected once you’re in Quebec. That’s why Desjardins offers newcomers a regular account with a free monthly plan and unlimited transactions for 2 years.1
Being amazed by everything
Claire’s outsider perspective helped her see things differently and be amazed by what was around her. This is what inspired her to explore her new home. She watched surfers perform in the Lachine Rapids, visited Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and planned a road trip to Toronto. She also spent the night at a lighthouse on an island near Rivière-du-Loup, took the Matane ferry and drove to Havre-Saint-Pierre. She often drags Mathieu to places where he’s never set foot.
Wherever she goes, even in the most remote villages, she finds a Desjardins caisse. This is also the financial institution that Mathieu trusts for all his needs, and she thinks it’s appropriate to do the same to centralize family assets. But there’s also an emotional side to the story.
Tip: Open an account that follows you everywhere
Desjardins has more than 782 points of service in Quebec and Ontario. When you open an account with Desjardins, you make sure you can simplify your transactions and get support, no matter where you go.
“I wanted to create a connection. And when you take your business to Desjardins, you’re being serious: you’re getting naturalized, through and through. You’re becoming a Quebecer.”
An Aha moment during a stay at the waterfront. An evening entrepreneurship course. That’s all Claire needed to leave behind her former career and set up Boréalie, a natural cosmetics brand sourcing its components from the St. Lawrence River. Gutsy? Absolutely. But Claire isn’t afraid of much anymore. She tells herself: “You uprooted yourself, you’re more than capable of starting your own business!”
Whatever your plans are, Desjardins is there to support you and help you pull them off.
1. The fee waiver only applies to the Unlimited plan for a single member folio (individual or joint account).