Raul Carlos Cota Elizondo and Ameli Pereira
Engineer from Mexico plans future in Alberta
Raul Carlos Cota Elizondo describes his experience immigrating to Calgary, Alberta, Canada from Monterrey, Mexico in one word: excellent. With a background in chemical engineering, Raul chose to come to Alberta because the oil and gas industry is the main industry in the province. He enrolled at the University of Calgary as an exchange student from the University of Mexico from January to April 1999, then returned as a master's student in chemical engineering a year later.
But Raul found much more than education in Calgary. He met his wife, Ameli Pereira. She is also a newcomer, and moved to Alberta from Venezuela in 2003. The two married in Mexico in May 2008, and are enjoying their new life together in Calgary.
Raul describes Alberta as "a great place to live with people who are very welcoming and nice to be around." He also appreciates the opportunities he has been given to develop his skills in his career. "On the professional side, I like being around and working with some of the best engineers in the world," he said.
Outdoor activities are another benefit for Raul when it comes to living in Alberta. He likes being close to the mountains.
For Raul, though, the biggest challenge of moving to another country is being away from family and friends. "Some of my family and friends have come to visit me a couple of times, but it's still a big adjustment," he said.
Coming from the warmth and humidity of Mexico where temperatures range from 40 C or warmer in the summer to as low as about 5 C above in the winter, another adjustment for Raul was Alberta's cold winter weather. "I admit it was a problem at first, but now I am used to the cold weather and I have even got into skiing and playing hockey," he laughed.
Raul is currently employed at Virtual Materials Group Inc., a chemical engineering software company in Calgary. The company nominated Raul through the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program to immigrate to the province. The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program supports Alberta employers in attracting and retaining foreign nationals who have the skills the Alberta economy needs and who want to become permanent residents.
Raul encourages people from other countries to consider immigrating to Alberta for many reasons. "First and foremost, Alberta is an excellent place to live. Things are very well organized, the people are very friendly, and the workplace is thriving," he said.
Raul's advice for others is to try to understand a little about Canadian culture before making the move, and to be as fluent as possible in the English language. Raul did not have a language barrier when he came to Canada so he says he didn't find the immigration process challenging but could see how the lack of language skills could make the transition more difficult.
"I made a conscious effort to interact with Canadians as soon as I got here instead of only interacting with people from my own country," said Raul. "I also tried to speak English as much as possible. I believe this was a key aspect to a smooth integration into the community, and I'm happy things have worked out so well."
Watch videos about Albertans from different cultural backgrounds talking about the province they call home.
Date Updated: Wed, 18 Jul 2012 10:00:14