Travel advisor Harriet tells all about her year long trip to Canada…
After an 8.5 hour flight from London Heathrow to Vancouver, I landed feeling very excited and nervous! Walking through the airport, I walked past a life-size model of a grizzly bear and I knew I had arrived Canada!
A fifteen minute taxi ride took me to the Samesun Hostel for my first night in Vancouver. Still a little nervous about what was to come, I was really happy to find the staff were awesome and that the hostel had a great downstairs bar where I met loads of fellow backpackers drinking cheap beer. I started to feel right at home but, after such a long flight, I had dinner and a beer and hit the hay early ready for my orientation the following morning.
In the morning, I met with the other people on the work programme and the lovely coordinator, and then we went on a walking tour of Vancouver where the beautiful mountains provide the perfect backdrop to the city. Our coordinator helped us to set up our bank accounts, social insurance numbers and buy Canadian sim cards – everything we needed for our stay. We then met back at the office and had our full orientation covering everything we would need to know about living and working in Canada, including finding further accommodation, interview skills and getting access to the all important hot jobs list!
I’d always planned to do a bit of sightseeing and getting to know Vancouver for my first few days and, after that, I made my way over to Vancouver Island to start looking for work. The ferry ride took 1.5 hours from Vancouver to Sidney and the scenery was absolutely stunning. I stayed in an awesome hostel in Victoria for the next few months called Ocean Island which is one of my favourite hostels of all time. After searching the hot jobs list and looking online for jobs in adventure tourism I found a great looking job for the summer for Guest Services at an Adventure Ziplining Company in a small beautiful town on the West Coast of the Island.
I was lucky enough to get the job and started working after 3 weeks of being in Canada, which was perfect! I stayed on at the hostel in Victoria until I met one of the other local girls who I worked with who was looking to move in with someone in Sooke where we both worked. We found a lovely 2 bedroom apartment with a view of the ocean for about 320GBP per month. I was lucky enough to be able to cycle to work every day along a stunning regional trail and kissed goodbye to catching the bus!
I met some amazing friends over the summer and had an amazing 8 months working at the Ziplining place. My highlights would have to be:
Getting to go Ziplining whenever I wanted through the rainforest 150ft up in the air on a 1000 foot zipline;
- Whale watching and seeing wild orcas and humpback whales for the first time;
- Renting an RV and road tripping up to beautiful Tofino to go surfing when my family came to visit;
- Beach bonfires with great friends, great Canadian beer and smores;
- Seeing a black bear for the first time – indescribable;
- Swimming at the potholes in Sooke every weekend (glacier natural pools);
- Mountain biking and hiking in the rainforest and across West coast beaches;
- Meeting a lot of amazing Canadians;
- Some great nights in the local pub playing volleyball and getting to know the locals.
After I finished the season it was time to say goodbye to Vancouver Island and explore the Canadian Rockies! I booked myself a flexible bus which was hop on hop off and departed from Vancouver.
As soon as I got on the bus I met a group of lovely people and we headed to Shuswap Lake as the first stop with our awesome guide tour Cam. This 2,300 km route took us through beautiful British Columbia passing by mountains, glacier lakes, rivers, waterfalls and much more! We explored Banff and Jasper National Parks along the Columbia Icefields parkway – one of the most scenic roads in the world.
The highlights were awesome nights out in Banff, jumping in every glacier lake that we stopped at and seeing some of the most out of this world scenery.
My year in Canada was amazing and I would recommend a working visa there to anyone who has a great sense of adventure and loves the outdoors. There is so much to see and do – you will never be short of things to do or amazing people to meet!
If you’re interested in working in Canada just like Harriet did, take a look at our Canada Paid Work programme. Starting at just £599 for 12 months, the programme is hugely popular so you’ll want to book soon! If you don’t have a full 12 months, we also have shorter programmes in Canada available, or take a look at our other paid work programmes around the world.
Still unsure? Call Harriet and the rest of the travel advisor team on 01892 516 164 – we’d love to help you plan your next trip.