From Goalie Camp to Financial Planning

From Goalie Camp to Financial Planning

This article first appeared in the July 2013 issue of Life in Québec Magazine.
Life in Quebec Magazine is a lifestyle publication covering the Quebec region and is published at least 3 times per year.
The publication is available at over 230 outlets across the region.
Subscribers have their copies mailed directly to them.

Article by Lyndsey Rosevear

I MOVED TO QUEBEC – THE WILL EVANS INTERVIEW

FROM GOALIE CAMP TO FINANCIAL PLANNING, WILL EVANS EMBRACES LIFE IN QUÉBEC    

Will Evans’ Quebec adventure began in 2004 when he attended a summer hockey camp.  As an avid university team goalie from the United States, he was keen to train with Quebec’s hockey elite and the reputed goalie ‘gurus’ of the north.  He was advancing his net-minding skills and enriching his team back in New York State where he had just started studying Business at a small college.  What he did not know at the time was how Quebec would spark something in him to embark on a journey that has linguistically, geographically and culturally changed the course of his life.

Hailing from Skaneateles, New York, Evans is a well spoken, good humoured, young professional Quebec City resident.  He chose Quebec over Montreal to have more opportunities in French, and by having an affinity for hockey, he easily connected with the sports-mad Quebecois. On his northern training trip, he had made a few friendly connections and bravely decided to come back. This time to study.

The only French in Evans’ arsenal was a summer language course he took prior to commencing the business programme at Laval University.  Armed with only this course and far from being bilingual, he plunged head first into the deep waters of full immersion hoping to stay afloat.  When asked about the language challenge, Evans gives a laugh, “I guess it was a bit crazy but I was lucky, I had a bit of a facility with it.”  The importance of learning French is not lost on Evans, he knows it was one of the most important pieces for his transition into life in Quebec.  Being able to speak the province’s official language has allowed him to pursue his studies and career while simultaneously integrating into the local culture.

Despite swiftly picking up the language of the locals, the conversion into a full-time Quebecer did not come without its difficulties.  Evans candidly attests to “wading through the countless and tedious administrative loopholes and regulations” when he first arrived.  He describes a situation, now funny, when he had just moved downtown and had tried to obtain a ‘vignette’ or parking pass from the city. The government agent advised of the appropriate documentation needed in order to qualify.  Since his roommates’ names were on the lease and registered for all of the bills, Evans assumed that returning with a bank statement with his current address would be acceptable.  Excited to finally obtain the vignette (and even more so to put a stop to all the parking tickets), he was promptly turned down and had the rules re-explained to him.  Enlightened by the administrative straightjacket, Evans found a way to conform and eventually received the coveted vignette (and promptly paid off the tickets!). The memory remains, though, as an example of the complexities of Quebec’s administrative processes and the cultural patience it requires to evolve into a new country.

Starting out as a sales representative for a sports company once Evans finished university, he jumped on an opportunity to achieve his career-related goal of working in the finance sector.  While teaching an evening English class, one of his students referred him to his current place of employment where he began developing his own clientele.  Being forced to get out and meet people has allowed him to benefit from the power of networking.  Evans is now busy working on his own financial accounts and explains: “I have worked really hard to be here and to establish what I have professionally.”

From personal experience, Evans affirms there will always be an extra challenge doled out by people who try to undermine or invalidate the professional qualifications of those who come from outside the region.  Evans advises to “be strong in the face of this kind of discrimination”, and suggests “to surround yourself by good people, by people that want to see you succeed.”  Reflective, he considers this one of the reasons he has been able to achieve his goals and there have been those who have supported and advocated for him along the way.

Socially, Evans reminisces about the difficulty at the beginning in solidifying a good social circle. Everyone seemingly either knew each other from Cegep, or were here temporarily to learn some French.  Now, more than ever before, he is part of an inspiring and growing social circle; one in which he enjoys hosting for Sunday viewing events to support the Buffalo Bills football team.  To satisfy a gastronomic insatiability, he enjoys exploring new culinary venues with friends throughout the city, as well as using his cuisine to attempt new homemade delights.  He practices martial arts and cross-fit and points out his plan to “give back to the community that has given him so much” by coaching youth hockey next year.  

When asked about a moment that identifies if it has all been worth it, Evans thoughtfully conveys moments when he is able to share his life in Quebec with his family when visiting.  Being able to converse simultaneously in two languages, completing his education, establishing himself professionally and generating a life for himself in a new place are accomplished milestones any parent would be proud of.

Nine years since his first trip to Quebec, Evans has carved out a path based on hard work and perseverance. Anyone who has tried to create a life in a new place is familiar with the challenges, obstacles, successes and triumphs.  Will Evans’ story is proof of how transcending cultural and linguistic boundaries is key in pursuing an enriching life and a prosperous future in Quebec.  When getting fully acclimated to a new place, there are aspects that will seamlessly fit and make sense and there will be other aspects which will invariably will not. Evans advises “to accept it for what it is, embrace it and enjoy it.”   Nine years later, he seems to be doing just that.

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About the author:

Lyndsey shares her time between Quebec City, British Columbia, and travelling. She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Calgary, focusing on security and strategy and a MA in Peace and Conflict from the European Peace University in Austria, focusing on human rights. She worked in the development sector for 8 years founding a non-profit organization in Nicaragua. She is a seasonal Forest Firefighter in British Columbia and currently lives in Quebec where she is studying French.

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