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Old 03-12-2011, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,990 posts, read 11,566,350 times
Reputation: 3232

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So I'm still thinking about moving to Canada. I have a job "down" here in Minnesota, but it's not really what I see myself doing for the rest of my life. My bachelor's degree is useless, and I want to attend grad school for a Master's in Rural Planning or Public Administration. I figure I may as well do it in Canada, since I'm sick of the States and I've always wanted to move to the Great White North. Plus, I've heard you can find a job and get permanent residency after getting a degree in Canada.

Unfortunately, unlike the U.S., all universities in Canada seem to be in big cities. I hate large cities and I'd much rather live in a small prairie college town, but those don't exist in Canada. So, I'm considering schools in Regina (U of Regina), Brandon, MB (Brandon U) and Saskatoon (U of S). I guess my main questions are:

1) Which one of these schools would give me a better chance of landing a job with a government agency or a community nonprofit in Canada? The university ranking information online doesn't seem to make much sense--they only talk about schools in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton--areas I definitely want to avoid for obvious reasons (I hate big cities!!!).

2) Are there any nice, small towns near Regina or Saskatoon? If I go to Brandon, I will just live there because it's small enough, but I definitely don't want to deal with life in Regina or Saskatoon. I'm willing to commute as much as 90 minutes from a small, prairie town (population under 20,000) with things to do.

3) Are the winters that bad? I'm from the Minnesota prairie, so I can't imagine the winters would be worse than they are here. 30 below isn't uncommon here, and blowing snow is a daily occurrence here from December through March.

4) I hate to ask this one, but I've heard Saskatchewan can be racist. I don't think it's true, but would it be problematic for me? I'm part black.

5) Any other places you guys would recommend. I'm only interested in the Prairies and Quebec (I speak French)--definitely nothing in Ontario or BC.
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:53 PM
 
Location: grooving in the city
7,371 posts, read 5,867,850 times
Reputation: 23507
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazoopilot View Post
So I'm still thinking about moving to Canada. I have a job "down" here in Minnesota, but it's not really what I see myself doing for the rest of my life. My bachelor's degree is useless, and I want to attend grad school for a Master's in Rural Planning or Public Administration. I figure I may as well do it in Canada, since I'm sick of the States and I've always wanted to move to the Great White North. Plus, I've heard you can find a job and get permanent residency after getting a degree in Canada.

Unfortunately, unlike the U.S., all universities in Canada seem to be in big cities. I hate large cities and I'd much rather live in a small prairie college town, but those don't exist in Canada. So, I'm considering schools in Regina (U of Regina), Brandon, MB (Brandon U) and Saskatoon (U of S). I guess my main questions are:

1) Which one of these schools would give me a better chance of landing a job with a government agency or a community nonprofit in Canada? The university ranking information online doesn't seem to make much sense--they only talk about schools in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton--areas I definitely want to avoid for obvious reasons (I hate big cities!!!).

2) Are there any nice, small towns near Regina or Saskatoon? If I go to Brandon, I will just live there because it's small enough, but I definitely don't want to deal with life in Regina or Saskatoon. I'm willing to commute as much as 90 minutes from a small, prairie town (population under 20,000) with things to do.

3) Are the winters that bad? I'm from the Minnesota prairie, so I can't imagine the winters would be worse than they are here. 30 below isn't uncommon here, and blowing snow is a daily occurrence here from December through March.

4) I hate to ask this one, but I've heard Saskatchewan can be racist. I don't think it's true, but would it be problematic for me? I'm part black.

5) Any other places you guys would recommend. I'm only interested in the Prairies and Quebec (I speak French)--definitely nothing in Ontario or BC.
I don't know anyone who hasn't liked attending university in Brandon. It's a nice, friendly small prairie city, and I think you would find it quite alot like Minnesota. The university has an excellent reputation for professor-student ratio, and many students really enjoy campus life as well. The weather is a little colder....

I've taken a few courses for interest in Aboriginal studies at both Brandon and the University of Saskatchewan. I would choose Brandon over Saskatoon, because I have family there and also I really like the city.

I can't speak as to racial bias--although I am Metis I have held my own ground, and I wouldn't be worried. I can't speak to your issues about immigration. Perhaps another poster will address that issue.
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,990 posts, read 11,566,350 times
Reputation: 3232
Thanks, taigagirl. Brandon would definitely be my top choice--it just doesn't have an M.P.A. program. Rural planning is what I want to do, but I think an M.P.A. would give me more options.

I'm not concerned about immigration--I've already looked into that, and I should be able to get residency after graduation.

I'm not personally worried about racism, because I know I can "hold my ground," to use your words. I'm only concerned for my parents' sake, because they'll worry about that sort of thing.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:30 PM
 
Location: Lethbridge, AB
1,132 posts, read 1,653,555 times
Reputation: 974
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazoopilot View Post
So I'm still thinking about moving to Canada. I have a job "down" here in Minnesota, but it's not really what I see myself doing for the rest of my life. My bachelor's degree is useless, and I want to attend grad school for a Master's in Rural Planning or Public Administration. I figure I may as well do it in Canada, since I'm sick of the States and I've always wanted to move to the Great White North. Plus, I've heard you can find a job and get permanent residency after getting a degree in Canada.

Unfortunately, unlike the U.S., all universities in Canada seem to be in big cities. I hate large cities and I'd much rather live in a small prairie college town, but those don't exist in Canada. So, I'm considering schools in Regina (U of Regina), Brandon, MB (Brandon U) and Saskatoon (U of S). I guess my main questions are:

1) Which one of these schools would give me a better chance of landing a job with a government agency or a community nonprofit in Canada? The university ranking information online doesn't seem to make much sense--they only talk about schools in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton--areas I definitely want to avoid for obvious reasons (I hate big cities!!!).

2) Are there any nice, small towns near Regina or Saskatoon? If I go to Brandon, I will just live there because it's small enough, but I definitely don't want to deal with life in Regina or Saskatoon. I'm willing to commute as much as 90 minutes from a small, prairie town (population under 20,000) with things to do.

3) Are the winters that bad? I'm from the Minnesota prairie, so I can't imagine the winters would be worse than they are here. 30 below isn't uncommon here, and blowing snow is a daily occurrence here from December through March.

4) I hate to ask this one, but I've heard Saskatchewan can be racist. I don't think it's true, but would it be problematic for me? I'm part black.

5) Any other places you guys would recommend. I'm only interested in the Prairies and Quebec (I speak French)--definitely nothing in Ontario or BC.
There are lots of small farming towns (<500 people) around both Regina and Sasktoon. However, there's generally not a lot to do in them, so I don't know if they'd fit the bill or not. The only other place I can think of that seems to fit is Moose Jaw, about 40 min west of Regina. It's a little bigger than you're target size, about 35,000 people.

You also might like the Qu'appelle valley, north of Regina. There's a few towns scattered throughout it, the largest being Lumsden (~1,500 people, I think). Generally, there's more going on there than in other rural areas, as the valley is sort or Regina's playground.

As for racism, it's present in Saskatchewan, though I really can't see you have any issues. It's the same as anywhere, really. The vast majority of people won't have any issue.

The only other place I can think of is Lethbridge, AB, which I believe does offer a master's in public admin. the city itself is about 80,000 people and there are a few towns that would seem to fit. East of the city are Coaldale and Taber (pop. 5,800 and 7,500 respectively). Taber's about a half hour out, and Coaldale's about halfway between. West is Fort McLeod (3,000), which is about 40 minutes out.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,990 posts, read 11,566,350 times
Reputation: 3232
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubblejumper View Post
There are lots of small farming towns (<500 people) around both Regina and Sasktoon. However, there's generally not a lot to do in them, so I don't know if they'd fit the bill or not. The only other place I can think of that seems to fit is Moose Jaw, about 40 min west of Regina. It's a little bigger than you're target size, about 35,000 people.

You also might like the Qu'appelle valley, north of Regina. There's a few towns scattered throughout it, the largest being Lumsden (~1,500 people, I think). Generally, there's more going on there than in other rural areas, as the valley is sort or Regina's playground.

As for racism, it's present in Saskatchewan, though I really can't see you have any issues. It's the same as anywhere, really. The vast majority of people won't have any issue.

The only other place I can think of is Lethbridge, AB, which I believe does offer a master's in public admin. the city itself is about 80,000 people and there are a few towns that would seem to fit. East of the city are Coaldale and Taber (pop. 5,800 and 7,500 respectively). Taber's about a half hour out, and Coaldale's about halfway between. West is Fort McLeod (3,000), which is about 40 minutes out.
Lethbridge actually sounds really good. I like how it's somewhat near the mountains but still on the prairie, and how it's further south and warmer--well, not as brutally cold--as Manitoba and Saskatchewan (or Minnesota, for that matter). I'll definitely check out the U of L and areas like Taber and Coaldale. I'd prefer to be east of Lethbridge toward the prairie; I don't want to see mountains.

The one concern I have about anywhere in Alberta is the political landscape. I've heard people describe AB as Canada's version of Texas or Oklahoma, and that it's really, really, really conservative. One of the reasons I'm considering leaving the U.S. is to escape the far-right, pro-corporate Tea Party political atmosphere. Is Alberta really like Texas, or is it just conservative by Canadian standards?
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Lethbridge, AB
1,132 posts, read 1,653,555 times
Reputation: 974
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazoopilot View Post
Lethbridge actually sounds really good. I like how it's somewhat near the mountains but still on the prairie, and how it's further south and warmer--well, not as brutally cold--as Manitoba and Saskatchewan (or Minnesota, for that matter). I'll definitely check out the U of L and areas like Taber and Coaldale. I'd prefer to be east of Lethbridge toward the prairie; I don't want to see mountains.

The one concern I have about anywhere in Alberta is the political landscape. I've heard people describe AB as Canada's version of Texas or Oklahoma, and that it's really, really, really conservative. One of the reasons I'm considering leaving the U.S. is to escape the far-right, pro-corporate Tea Party political atmosphere. Is Alberta really like Texas, or is it just conservative by Canadian standards?
I can't really make the comparison between Alberta and Texas, as I don't know very much about Texas politics. It's certainly the most conservative province in Canada, though not really much more so than Saskatchewan or parts of Manitoba and BC.

Probably the best advice I can give in that regard is to have a look through the local newspaper websites, and read the editorials and letters (Calgary Sun, Calgary Herald, Lethbridge Herald - The National Post is also popular out here. The other national papers, not so much). They should give a general idea as to the attitudes in the area.
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Old 03-13-2011, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,990 posts, read 11,566,350 times
Reputation: 3232
I just read the Lethbridge Herald's "Letters to the Editor," and wow. If that is what passes for conservative around there, then I'm going to love Canada! I was expecting Texas-style anti-government ranting and raving, and the comments are nothing like that--they're all well thought out and reasonable. I agree with a lot of what they said, and I'm liberal by American standards.

I also noticed the temperature was 5 C, much warmer than it is here (it's -8 C here). I'm really liking the idea of Lethbridge. Stubblejumper, since you're from there, how do you like it there? Is the weather in the area generally sunny (I hate rain)? Is the job market decent in your experience?

Side note -- you know you're from Minnesota when you move to Canada and get warmer weather.
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Lethbridge, AB
1,132 posts, read 1,653,555 times
Reputation: 974
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazoopilot View Post
I just read the Lethbridge Herald's "Letters to the Editor," and wow. If that is what passes for conservative around there, then I'm going to love Canada! I was expecting Texas-style anti-government ranting and raving, and the comments are nothing like that--they're all well thought out and reasonable. I agree with a lot of what they said, and I'm liberal by American standards.

I also noticed the temperature was 5 C, much warmer than it is here (it's -8 C here). I'm really liking the idea of Lethbridge. Stubblejumper, since you're from there, how do you like it there? Is the weather in the area generally sunny (I hate rain)? Is the job market decent in your experience?

Side note -- you know you're from Minnesota when you move to Canada and get warmer weather.
The Herald is definitely the most liberal paper in the area, but it's certainly not a fringe paper and has probably the highest subscription rate in the city. So, I think you'd probably find many like minded people here.

It rarely rains here, as we're right in the Rocky Mtn rain shadow. It's a bit wetter than the Medicine Hat/Palliser's Triangle area (which is home for me), but it's still dry enough for silver sage and prickly pear to grow in the coulees.

One thing to note about the weather though, is chinooks (which blow through fairly often in the winter - that's why it's 5 above right now). The temperature can jump 25 or 30 degrees within 24 hours. It's a welcome break from frigid prairie winters, except for the wind (It's not uncommon for winds to gust past 100km/h during chinooks)

As for job prospects, I don't really know. I'm not all that familiar with your line of work, so I'm a little hesitant to speculate. We are in pretty good shape economically, as a whole (AB and SK weathered the recession better than just about anywhere on the continent, I think)
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