Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: Job offer abroad is splitting family opinion






Dear Virginia,







I have two young children, and I've just been offered a good job in Canada, as a doctor. My wife is very against going because she has her family and friends here who she loves and also depends on to help with the kids. But I feel Canada is a better place to raise a family than England and my job would be far more fulfiling and interesting. The children will get a better education, there'll be wide open spaces and so on. Do you or your readers have any views?

Yours sincerely, Adrian

If you were a family with very few roots, whose parents were dead or estranged from you, I can see that, whether you lived in England or Canada, it wouldn't make a lot of difference. But you're not like that. You wife, at least, appears pretty entrenched here. She has a loving family, who obviously adore the kids, and a wide circle of friends.

In other words, while you might have more fun in Canada, and feel more fulfiled, your wife – and, more importantly – the children – have a lot to lose were you to uproot them. Are you sure the gains that you outline are really worth the loss?

In a way you've asked the wrong person. I'm not a "Go for it" type; rather I'm a "Think about it, imagine all the most grisly scenarios and then, if you're still keen, have a try-out before you commit" type.

Anyway, is Canadian education that much better than here? And how wide a space does a small child need? In England, even if you live in a city, you're never far from a park. And as for the weather – have you ever visited Canada in the winter? It's a nightmare.

Not only that, but the culture is quite different and not exactly scintillating (unless you go to Montreal where you may be regarded as foreigners). England is steeped in tradition. The last time I was in the States I felt, inside at least, like an old Italian olive farmer, marinated in art and history, something I don't feel here because I take it for granted. And, if the kids become completely absorbed by the Canadian way of life, they'll marry Canadians and then, if you ever do return home to live, you'll be spending your time on aeroplanes just to see the grandchildren.

Emigrating has repercussions far beyond the here and now. Not only would your own children miss out on having a large close family around them while they grow up, but, unless you and your wife both decided to live in Canada for ever, their children would miss out on having a proper relationship with their own grandparents. A sense of dislocation would reverberate down the line.

True, things are not at their best in this country. But your village isn't being razed to the ground, and you are not at risk of being hacked to death by members of another tribe. It's not too bad. And remember that Canada has a recession, too – it's not just Europe.

If you have to go, go for a year. But remember that a big loving family and friends may well be worth far more than skiing skills and better grades.

READERS SAY...



There's nothing to lose

I can sympathise with Adrian's wife. When our three children were very young my husband's company offered him a job in Boston, Massachusetts. I didn't want to go, but I eventually decided that it would be an adventure to live in the States, and it turned out to be a very happy time for us all. Maybe Adrian could suggest that they compromise and go for two years, but if she and/or the children are unhappy in Canada, they return to this country. His wife could well find out that she loves the lifestyle in Canada and would want to continue living there. Give it a go – there's nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Susan Warren

Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Think more than twice

I'm with your wife on this one. If you want to live in Canada, a country with wide open spaces, then remember that those spaces are covered with snow for several months of the year, the temperatures so cold that your children will be cooped up for weeks on end. Each time they go out your wife will have to endure having to put many layers of clothing on to keep them safely warm. Think more than twice before making the decision. The grass may look greener, but in Canada you won't see it for months on end!

Name and address supplied





Canada isn't perfect

I am a British-born Canadian-trained doctor recently returned from 17 years in Canada. Overall both Britain and Canada offer a good quality of life for a doctor. But please be aware of the following in Canada that you might not have considered: the litigation rate for doctors is high in comparison. I am the only one of my peers who has not yet been sued. You will encounter gun crime. Drugs are just as prevalent among youth as here. Educational standards are variable, with many parents choosing to home school.

It is also hard to know what is going on with your relatives if they are 6,000 miles away. I have missed the funerals of two close relatives. My spouse stayed at home with the children, and felt isolated. It takes time to put down roots. My suggestion is to go for a one-year trial.

Dr Jan Hammond

By email



ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

    SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before