Canadian Expat Living in Scotland - Interview With Jennifer

Published: 16 Mar at 10 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Scotland
Jennifer is a Torontonian who moved to Glasgow, Scotland, after falling in love with the city and its inhabitants as an exchange student. After finishing her degree at the University of Toronto and working for a few years in the Big Smoke, she moved to Glasgow with only two suitcases and a UK Ancestry work visa, at the age of 26. It goes without saying that she misses Tim Hortons and amber maple syrup. Jennifer's expat blog is called I Dream of Haggis (see listing here)

Meet Jennifer - Canadian expat in Scotland
Meet Jennifer - Canadian expat in Scotland

Here's the interview with Jennifer...

Where are you originally from?
Toronto, by way of Napanee, Canada

In which country and city are you living now?
Glasgow, Scotland

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
It will be 7 years at the end of March. I have no plans for how long I will stay; I take each year as they come.

Why did you move and what do you do?
I originally came to Glasgow, way back in 1999, as an exchange student in university for a year. It was then that I fell in love with the city and Glaswegians. I moved back to Canada, finished my degree and worked for a few years in Toronto, before finally making the move back. I was fortunate that I could get a visa through my Welsh Grandmother, so didn't need to go via the work visa route.

Did you bring family with you?

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
The first three months were the most difficult for me. There's an element of isolation to it all - everything is new/ foreign and you have to navigate through it all and it took about 8 months before I felt fully adjusted. On the other hand, everything is new and foreign so it was also a bit of an adventure. All in all, the adventure aspect outweighed the negatives.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I was lucky as I still had friends in Glasgow, from my years as an exchange student here. In Glasgow, I would say that it's been easy to meet new people - most people are really friendly. I've also met people through my work. I know a few Canadians in Glasgow, as well as a couple Americans, and there is a an ex-pat community, to a certain degree, here. On Canada Day, for example, there has been a party at Bacchus the past two years (

Bike in Argyll
Bike in Argyll
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Say yes, within reason, to every invitation. It will force you to experience your new city and people.

The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to cycle through the countryside. One of the best aspects of living in Glasgow, is that 40 minutes on a bike, and you're in the country side amongst rolling green hills and spectacular scenery.

Take every opportunity to explore your new country/ city.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
I love the city itself - there is always something happening; you can cycle/ walk to almost anywhere in the downtown core; there is so much music and arts happening in Glasgow, it's crazy - There is always something new to explore! I also love Glaswegians themselves; they're some of the most friendly, funny and crazy, in a good way, people I have met. People here don't take themselves too seriously and if they do, weegies would tell them as much.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
It's more expensive than Canada, for sure. I have had to stop comparing prices to stuff back in Canada, lest I drive myself in sane.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
I won't lie: the rain. I don't mind it as much as most people but if you're easily put off by rain and grey skies, I wouldn't recommend moving to Glasgow.

Besides the rain: the lack of decent filter coffee and half and half cream; excessive drinking culture; commodities and some electrical goods costing more here than they are in Canada; proper North American-style pancakes with real maple syrup.

Cycling in Arran
Cycling in Arran
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Do it. No one ever regretted moving abroad but rather, regret NOT doing it.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The first three months; trying to open a bank account in the UK; adjusting to the rain/ lack of four distinct seasons; realising that even though we both speak English, it's a completely different culture over here and that took a while for me to fully realise.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. If you have any desire to move abroad, do it. You will only regret NOT doing it.
  2. Research/ ask how others have done it.
  3. Check to see if your government sponsors any work exchange programmes - such as the International Work Experience:
  4. When you do arrive, say yes - within reason - to most invitations to get to know your new city better.
  5. Know that it is hard, it will be a challenge, but also one of the most rewarding experiences ever.

Laphroaig Whisky Distillery
Laphroaig Whisky Distillery
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog originally started out as a means for me to keep in touch with friends and family back home. It evolved into what life was like as a Canadian in Glasgow and my tragic ineptitude at dating Scottish men.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Please contact me via my blog.

Jennifer blogs at which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already. I Dream of Haggis has an listing here so add a review if you like! If you appreciated this interview with Jennifer, please also drop her a quick comment below.

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