Calgary, Canada Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Calgary, Canada

Calgary, Canada 08/24/09

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

I have lived in many places, such as Romania, Italy, Turkey, Holland, Germany, Australia and America.

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2. How long have you lived here?

Was living there for 4 years, but just left a few weeks ago.

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3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Am here to teach.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

You can get direct flights to many major American and European cities.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Commute time about 30 min. Houses, condos and apartments are all available.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

You can find everything here, same cost as USA.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing, as everything is here.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

All the fast food is here. Lots of restaurants are here but they are expensive.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

No insect problems, it's too cold most of the year.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Post office.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Available and not to costly.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Many.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Most stores accept credit cards, and ATMS are widley available.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes, cheap.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Everyone speaks English, so if you do not know how to speak it learn before you come.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Some.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Very safe and affordable. A bus ticket is about $2:50.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Bring any car you want, there are no problems here.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes and fairly cheap.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Most people in Canada choose, Rogers Communications for their cell phones.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

No.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Yes.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Yes.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Suits for men at work; women wear dressy clothes for work. In public wear whatever you want.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Moderate.

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2. What immunizations are required each year?

None here.

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3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

None, Calgary is a fairly safe city, but like in any city, use common sense.

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4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

No health concerns, great free medical care.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Very cold in winter, warm in summer.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

No internationl schools. The local schools are good how ever. My children Went to Calgary Academy and got lots of special attention.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

The school my kids went to was a school for special-need kids, so if your children have special needs, contact the school. Many other schools do accommodate, too.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Lots avaliable.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, all the sports are offered here.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Small. The only expats here are Americans and Chinese.

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2. Morale among expats:

Good.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Not much.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes, for families and couples, but singels many find it boring sometimes.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Sure, I have never heard of any problems.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

.No

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Not much, the are a few shopping areas, a zoo and an small amusment park (only in summmer). Most stuff closes early though.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

There are no local items.

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9. Can you save money?

Yes.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

No.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

shorts, bathing suit, and any tropical weather items.

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3. But don't forget your:

winter items.

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4. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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