To be clear, I’ve never actually lived in Kansas, but I did grow up in the Midwestern United States. I was born in Calgary, Alberta and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I’ve visited family in Canada two to three times a year my whole life. I’ve never really noticed a significant cultural difference on a day-to-day basis between the two countries.
Then again, I never had to open a Canadian bank account or deal with cell phone providers before either. In hindsight I was foolish for overlooking these difficulties when planning my move to Vancouver, but nobody is perfect.
I’ll start with the banking issue. Setting up my bank account was easy, as was depositing the cash I had brought with me that day. However, depositing my first check was not. It took 20 days for my check to clear, and it was a check self-written check from my other bank account. I don’t fault the bank because they were just doing their job and protecting themselves against fraud. I didn’t consider this because I know I’m an upstanding individual, they did not. If I had infinite (or any) life do-overs I would have deposited a small check the day I opened my account as opposed to waiting a few weeks and then attempting to transfer a significant amount of my money. Believe it or not Vancouver is not an easy place to live when most of your money is being held for processing by the bank.
I take less responsibility for the cell phone fiasco I dealt with. This story is more focused on silly corporate policies of both American and Canadian cell phone providers. When I set out for Vancouver, I had two AT&T phones with me, a smart phone and a ‘dumb’ phone. I assumed that I would be able to use my phones on any Canadian carrier since AT&T has no network presence in Canada. Turns out AT&T doesn’t want to unlock their phones no matter what country the handset is being used. After some extended phone calls with customer service they agreed to unlock the ‘dumb’ phone, but sent the wrong codes twice. Eventually I had to take my phones into a specialty electronics store to unlock them.
I’m not trying to scare anybody with these stories. So far my stay in Vancouver has been incredible. The city and the surrounding area is gorgeous and lively, and the faculty and staff at SFU Business have been great. I just wanted to make people aware of the larger issues I had with my international move. My intentions have been to make people think about such things since it’s quite easy to overlook them with the prospect of graduate school on the horizon. My suggestion would be to arrive in Vancouver a couple of weeks before school so that you can sort all of this out before school starts, because it is an unneeded distraction once the semester begins.