Getting Ducks in a Row

by Jinryu

So, at this point, my basic goal is to get myself to Australia, and to manage to stay there for the next few years.


There are a few routes to getting this done, which are separated into two routes.  I can either study, or I can work.  I don’t really have a preference for either one overall.  Here are the pros and cons:



  • I’d want to get into something like Law.  It’s something that [CM] brought up… I’m sometimes under the impression that she might be afraid that I’m only considering it because I want to keep up with some status thing to match up with her med school plans, but that’s not it.  I mean, maybe it partly is, but is that a bad thing?
  • Getting into Law isn’t easy, given my GPA, but it’s not impossible.  First step would be to finish the two grad courses I’ve already started, and then use those to boost my credentials on an application to law in Australia.
  • It’s really crazy, but tuition is less than half to study in Montreal.  It’s something like 8k CAD per year to study in Montreal.  The same program at the same school for international students is about 20k per year, which is comparable to studying in Australia.  A law degree in Australia ranges anywhere between the 55k AUD (1 AUD is roughly equivalent to 1 CAD at the moment) to 120k AUD, depending on where you study– I don’t I really care enough to go for the super expensive one!  I only mention the 8k mark because… well… it’s so much cheaper.  Lucky for me my GPA prevents me from even daring to apply to law in Montreal, so that scratches that right in the eyes.
  • Studying law in Australia would essentially wipe out all my non-retirement savings, and require me to take out a loan.  I think that this is probably the biggest reluctance I have to studying this kind of program.  Considering this option actually has lead me to a great deal of introspection, and it’s really forced with me to be honest about some things about myself:
    • firstly, although i pride myself at being a hard worker, I only work at things I’m passionate at.  Does that make me a hard worker, and does that make me disciplined? Or does that make me a quitter in terms of other things in life that need to be played a certain way?
    • I’m afraid of investing in myself.  I pride myself on the fact that even though I started off poor, I’ve got a sizeable nest egg saved away because I was very disciplined about investing– I started when I was 18, maybe even younger, to invest in a few bonds, and then moved quickly on to mutual funds.  Maybe it’s this chinese upbringing that makes me want to just horde money– but what really am I saving this nest egg for?  Why am I so afraid of cashing it all in to better myself?
    • I think it’s because I know that I’ve failed at school once– and though I plowed my way through it, finished college, got my university degree and now am working on my masters, I’m still suffering the consequences of those youthful indescretions.  And I’m afraid I might do it again.  And then I’d have nothing, really nothing to show for it.
    • You know how people always talk about ambition and wanting it, and how if you have that discipline, that perseverance, that drive, that you can just go out and get it? I don’t know if that’s me.
    • Fundamentally, I, at present, lack the confidence to know I can succeed at law.
  • There are definite pluses– studying in Australia means an automatic student visa, more or less.  That means that I get to continue my relationship with CM in person, and be done with this long distance thing.  Chances are that I’d be studying at a different university, maybe even one in a completely different province, which means I might not be even able to see her everyday… but, it’s a start!


  • Working in Australia might be the simpler option. There are two routes:
    • Work holiday visa, which works for anyone under 30 years of age.  This visa is basically designed for tourists who want to visit while earning some cash to support their visit.  This isn’t a great visa for me because I’m turning 30 in 2012… which means it’s only a temporary method of being with CM.
    • Skilled Worker visa.  Unfortunately, I’m an English major.  That means I don’t quite fit into any definition of skilled worker.  Thankfully, my work experience at the hospital places me in the officially recognized job class of Medical Aministrator– and that is a visa-able position.
  • Obviously, working in Australia is the most affordable way of being in Australia.
  • In the working route, the challenge is finding a job.  This means I need to scour every clinic and hospital in Australia and see if they want to sponsor me as a skilled migrant worker… I have no idea how easy/hard this is.  Only way for me to know is to try.


Well, the truth is… it would be really nice to go the law route.  It would be nice to study something and get into a socially recognized position where I can make the changes on the planet that I’ve always wanted to… I mean, my work right now is important, I have no doubt about that.  But I’m at only a few rungs from the bottom of the food chain right now… the pay is good, the security is good… but how much of what I want to do with the world lies in this sort of work that I currently have?  Maybe I should go the established corporate route.  It would take some major invesetment, but the payout would be good, and then I’d be at a whole different level of existence after that, right?

On the other hand… just working on the things that I am passionate at? Is that bad?  Is money even really important to me that I need a better job?  Is the corporate route the only way to affect change?  Working for just shorter term money has the advantage of being flexible, even if it’s not efficient.

The truth is… I feel as if I “know” the way Montreal works. I have never had a hard time finding jobs, and every time I’ve gotten a job, it’s always been one better than the last.  But am I selling myself short? Even if I feel comfortable overall in all of Canada, saying with a fair amount of confidence that I could get a job anywhere in the country and be not only good at it, but happy with it… maybe I need to fight.  Maybe I need something that isn’t just easy.

I think a lot of investing in myself is a scary thing because I don’t know what’s outside of Canada, aside from as a tourist.  Sure, I’ve been all over Asia and I’m adaptive.  I pick up cultural habits pretty well, I even absorb languages better than I would have guessed.  But work ethics?  Job markets?  Economies?  How do I fit in the international scene?

The fact is, in my current employment state, I don’t fit into the international scene that well.  And it’s a testament of what I’ve been studying in my masters lately that this… just… kinda makes me feel bad.  I don’t want to be a farm boy from Montreal.  That sounds silly.  But how many of us grow up in our major city and think we’re better than people in the countryside?  

I grew up in LaSalle… a suburb of Montreal.  When I started spending most of my time in Montreal for school and work, I enjoyed that yuppie life very much– I felt so cosmopolitain, so educated, so versatile and avant garde.

But then I started travelling.  And then I realized that, on the contrary of it being a small world– it’s a pretty fucking huge place.  And even Montreal feels small now.  Even Montreal feels backwater.

Don’t get me wrong… I love Montreal, and I consider it my home.  But who we are at home and who we want to grow up in the world?  Not the same thing for me.  But how can I get out of Montreal?  Pay my way though with hard labour? Or … play the game… become one of those people who goes through the system, and then becomes an international citizen?



… hmm.


Well, that was useful… I think that through writing this all out, I’ve decided what I’m going to try for.