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Moving to Waterloo with family, need opinion from residents
#16
(04-21-2015, 05:42 AM)Drake Wrote: there are lots of Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Ukrainians and Romanians that live in this area to name just a few.

The region has a long tradition of welcoming immigrants. After the WW2 immigration from Europe drove our manufacturing economy. The same happened after the end of the soviet empire, except it also drove our high tech industries. In addition the universities and research institutes have attracted many immigrants from around the world.

I would suggest that you explore these organizations and what they offer to newcomers. Contact them and ask questions. I think you'll be impressed. They can also put you in touch with community groups from your original country who will also be able to set you at ease.
Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre
Immigration Partnership of Waterloo Region
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#17
I can't speak as to whether the situation you described in Montreal was based on any particular reason, but there are certainly more cloistered groups anywhere you go in the world. I'll say again, for whatever reason, no matter the background, Quebec is often a harder place to feel at home in.

I hear you when you say you don't want it to be a language issue, but it is indeed something that will be the most prominent potential barrier between your family and other families. The good news is that there are many sources out there (http://www.popsci.com/article/science/as...easier-kid, http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/easie...15590.html) that show that the younger a child is, the better they will handle multiple languages. When you make speaking one language (usually a mother tongue) a priority at home, and then refocus to use the area's language prominently elsewhere, each language becomes useful (as the mode of communication for particular areas, or with particular family members, especially elderly relatives or new friends) and gets absorbed very effectively. It's unfortunate that like a parent who wants to carefully introduce their kid to new foods, and end up going so slowly as to encourage food allergies like nut, dairy, etc, we can also doubt so much children's natural ability to pick up multiple languages easily (I think consensus is that it is easiest until 5 or 6, and then degrades until roughly puberty) that we shield them from "the easy, spoken everywhere language" hoping to strengthen another tongue, when it is best to work on both, together. Similarly, a child will know flavours and foods much better if they are shown not only sweet baby/infant/toddler foods, but also exposed early and consistently to sour, bitter, spicy, peppery, savoury, etc., foods.

I would indeed agree, though, that at this reasonable distance, a weekend down here is not too hard to find time to visit and check it out. Community festivals like the KW Multicultural Festival/Kultrun/Open Streets and more can give you a good experience to start with, and hitting some other great young family destinations can show you more what the area is all about :-)
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#18
I find the town very welcoming to immigrants. I don't know how it compares in that regard to Montreal, but certainly much more open than most places in the Maritime provinces. There is a large immigrant population, and the last time I had an incident in KW was over twenty years ago, at the hands of German immigrants of all things.
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