Expat Interview With Giulia - Swiss Expat In Canada

Published: 19 Oct at 11 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Canada
Giulia Doyle is the editor, writer and photographer of the popular blog Fishly News (please see listing here) in addition to the new food blog Audrey’s. Giulia lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband Bruno, their two kids and one silly cat. Giulia is the daughter of a Canadian mother and Swiss father. She moved to Canada from Switzerland where she spent all of her childhood and most of her 20s. When she’s not working her 9-5 job in communications, spending time with her family, cooking, decorating or reading, she might be procrastinating on Twitter or Pinterest!

Fishly News

Here's the interview with Giulia...

Where are you originally from?
I was born in Toronto, Canada, but grew up in Switzerland.

In which country and city are you living now?
I live in Canada. In Ottawa, which is the capital.

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I moved to Ottawa nine years ago. Right now I'm planning to stay quite a while, but I'm always open to a new location.

Why did you move and what do you do?
I was 29 years old and had gone through a few personal changes in Switzerland. I was desperately looking for a change, a big move, a new beginning. The easiest way to do that was to go back to my Canadian roots and move to a new place where I could live without jumping through too many hurdles.

Fishly NewsDid you bring family with you?
No. But my grandparents were living here, giving me some familiarity.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
It's hard and exhilarating at the same time. I welcomed all the new things and missed many of my old ways. Over the years things change, but often I feel very Swiss
here in Canada, but then I feel very Canadian when back in Switzerland. It’s not easy moving, even if you think that the cultures aren’t too different.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialize with other expats?
It wasn't easy to make friends, especially until I found work. I never socialized with expats though, never found the need to join expat groups. Friends came slowly.
Canadians seem more open and friendly compared to Swiss, but Canadians tend to have lots of ‘acquaintances’ while Swiss friends take a while to make, but are usually closer.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Ottawa is the perfect city for nature lovers, there is a lot of green space, trails, camping, lakes, biking, etc. to take part in. At the same time you can enjoy some
shopping, culture and food. Being the capital, things are well maintained and the standard of living is very high.

Fishly NewsWhat do you enjoy most about living here?
Ottawa allowed me to have a better work and life balance, I like that I can raise my children in a safe environment with fun things to do. Similar to Zurich, I am able to live with the conveniences of the city, but can bring my kids to a farm or hiking by driving 20 minutes.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
Cost of living is lower than Switzerland.

What do you miss most about Switzerland?
Bratwurst and Roeschti and how close other cities and cultures are.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Summers are very hot and humid and winters are very, very cold. I miss the more moderate temperatures of Switzerland. I find public transportation here terrible and insufficient.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Get a car. There is a bus system, but I don’t find convenient and it’s very expensive. And on a positive note – try to take advantage of all the green around you.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Finding a job. Swiss credentials didn’t mean much over here. It’s discouraging when you leave a country successful in your career and move somewhere else and no one appreciates what you’ve done before. You have to prove yourself all
over again. Taking that time is bad for your ego and can cost you a lot of money.

Fishly NewsWhat made you stay in Canada?
I met my husband. We were married and now have two kids. We are in a very happy place right now.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
- Embrace the culture and your surroundings, things will be different but you can’t dwell on the past.
- Watch TV – it will give you something to connect with other people, something to talk about and you’ll feel less left out.
- Don’t jet back home all the time, try to explore the region or holiday destinations that people around you take part in
- Get to know the rules. There were a ton of little administrative tasks to accomplish when I first moved here, get to know what you need and how to get it. I was however pleasantly surprised that Canada is less bureaucratic than Switzerland.
- Bring in your traditional foods to dinners or potlucks. People are interested in where you come from and food is the easiest to share.

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My parents and siblings were living far from us and we were sharing news on the phone or by email. Once we had kids we wanted to share more and once we bought a house that required many renovations, we needed a new platform to easily share what was going on here. The blog was a diary of sorts that has grown and now I’m lucky to share with people all over the world.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Easiest way to contact me is through my blog contact form.

Giulia runs her expat blog called Fishly News http://www.fishlynews.com which is well worth a visit. Giulia can be found on Twitter @GiuliaDoyle or her Pinterest page. Fishly News has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here, so please leave her blog some love at the bottom there! If you liked this interview with Giulia, drop her a quick note below too.
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