Have you ever wondered what it’s like to move to a new city or even new country for work?
We sat down to chat with him about his experience and top tips for others who are looking to relocate.
Satwant, it’s been a little over half a year since you relocated to Calgary. So, tell us, what made you first want to make the move over?
I’ve always wanted to work abroad, and I’ve always really liked Canada. So when I found out that Sidetrade was opening a new office over there, I jumped at the chance to ask if there was a relocation opportunity for me.
I was excited not only by the prospect of working abroad in a brand-new city, but also to be a part of an exciting growth period for Sidetrade. The new office over there in Calgary is a key part of the business’ growth plans in North America and there’s been a huge buzz of excitement around it.
I thought, the worst they’ll say is no, so I might as well ask the question!
When it came to logistics and planning for such a big move, is there anything you would want others who are relocating to know beforehand?
Make sure to do your research before you head out: ask questions, check out forums/Facebook groups and make friends with locals who can give their advice. Not only does it help you uncover important things you might not know about, but it’s also really helpful hearing a range of different experiences.
In my experience, there were a number of things that I had presumed would be fine — like choosing and signing a rental agreement on an apartment before I even left the UK. After reading more into it and speaking to colleagues in the Calgary office, the overarching advice was to stay in an AirBnB at first and look for apartments when you’re there.
Other things like taxes and social insurance numbers, your pension, bank accounts — there’s a lot more to consider than first meets the eye.
That’s not to scare anyone off at all, simply that my advice is to be organised and research as much as possible.
I’d also say to anyone relocating with work, to make sure to book time off for you when you first arrive; if you can, don’t arrive and head to work straight away the next day. You’ll need a bit of time and headspace to sort all of your important administrative tasks, and you’ll also want a bit of down time to settle in and get to know the area!
How is it working in a new office but same company?
I love it! There’s such a diverse range of people and cultures here and in Calgary more generally and everyone is so friendly and supportive; I’ve really been made to feel at home here since day one (and even before that!).
It’s so exciting to see how Sidetrade’s global culture has translated into this new office and team, here in Calgary. It’s like we’ve been working together for years already.
Our office is in an incredible building called the Ampersand. There is so much to do in it — it’s even got a basketball court, dentist, hairdresser and so much more. There’s also a lot of social activities within the building where people from all different offices join in; it’s a great way to meet new people outside of work too.
What do you like about Calgary the city?
I think it’s just a really cool city.
Firstly, it’s just so beautiful here. The sky’s always blue, you’ve got the mountains in the background, fantastic architecture, and much more.
It’s the perfect size for a city too — not too big or too small, downtown is easily (and affordably!) commutable, and there’s an endless list of things to do or see, especially for young professionals.
You’ve got so many restaurants, bars and coffee shops here, there’s also loads of art galleries (which I was surprised about!), plenty of sporting events (especially ice hockey!) and of course, outdoor activities are unbeatable: Banff, Lake Louise and other amazing natural areas are on your doorstep here. I think there’s something for everyone!
Finally, what would be your advice to someone else who’s been offered a relocation opportunity?
If you have the opportunity, bite the bullet and go for it. In the absolute worst-case scenario that it doesn’t work out, you can always go home.
And if you don’t have the opportunity… ask for it! Because if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Speak to a range of people and be open and honest with how you’re feeling; speak to others who have relocated before (if you don’t know any, there’s plenty of British expat forums and Facebook groups where you’ll be able to find others) and also make sure to speak to your peers at all levels in your new office. Even if you’ve not spoken to them or worked with them before, make sure to reach out.
It’ll be daunting at first, maybe exciting for others — remember it’s normal to feel these emotions.
In my experience, the team in Calgary were brilliant and so supportive, long before I left the UK. They gave me some really sound advice, made me feel even more reassured that I was making the right move, and it also made it less daunting on my first day in the office because I’d already spoken to everyone.