Working Holiday Canada – My experience and advice

Working Holiday Canada

After doing two separate working holidays in Canada, I want to share some advice and steps you can take for a seamless transition into a working holiday Canada. First of all, check out my guide for Australians moving to Canada on a working holiday for a checklist of everything you need to do before departing. In addition, this is my advice for a working holiday in Canada.

Pre-plan 

Secure a job and accommodation before you arrive in Canada. This will save you spending your first day’s in Canada job and house hunting and leave you open to adventuring instead.

You can pre-arrange a job by getting online and researching employers, reaching out via email, applying for jobs online and arranging interviews via Skype. There is nothing stopping you from securing a job and accommodation before you even take off.

By doing this, you will have peace of mind because you know you have a job to go to and will start earning money shortly after you arrive.

When looking for a working holiday job in Canada, be open with your options.  Finding a job in your industry may not be as easy overseas so be flexible, take any job to start with and find a better suited one after you settle in.

Get a job that provides accommodation 

Many employers in the Canadian Rockies provide housing to staff, so to make that transition so much easier, target these employers. Almost every employer in Lake Louise and many in Banff provide housing. I lived in Lake Louise on both my working holidays and loved arriving to a job and house. Rent is deducted from your wage and is very affordable. Other destinations that provide housing include Big White and Kicking Horse Mountain. There are many more locations that provide housing for staff but these are the only ones I am familiar with.

Research your destination

Find out more about Canada and the destination you will be working at. Know what to expect in terms of climate, cost of living and cultural differences.

Be organised with your documents and belongings

For me, being organised makes all the difference between a stressful and stressless overseas move. See my working holiday checklist for Australians moving to Canada for a list of things you need to prepare yourself. Make sure you keep all your important documents close to you. In addition, pack everything you need and keep your bags organised so you can easily find what you are looking for.

Put yourself out there 

You may be shy, but sometimes you just have to put yourself out there to make friends. Don’t be afraid to invite yourself along or ask people to hang out. The sooner you start making friends, the sooner you will feel at home. In many working holiday destinations, there are many other solo travellers in the same situation so they will be looking for friends just like you.  See my tips for making friends as a solo traveller. 

Prepare for change

You can’t expect things to stay the same when you move overseas, so keep an open mind and be prepared for change and differences in the way things are done. Learn to embrace the change and you will have an amazing experience.

Enjoy every moment

Remeber, even though you are on a working holiday, you didn’t come to Canada just to work. Get out and explore. embrace the experience, meet new people and enjoy every moment.

Now I wanted to share my working holiday Canada story with you.

My story –Arriving in Canada on a working holiday 

Moving overseas alone at the age of 18 is a MASSIVE thing to do. Strangely enough, making the move to Canada didn’t scare me, it excited me.

I arrived in Canada at the start of summer 2011, flying into my Vancouver. My first week was spent in a hostel on Granville street, exploring endlessly by day and making friends by night. I immediately fell in love with Vancouver and solo travel.  After a week in Vancouver, I got on a bus to Lake Louise which I planned to call home for the next 6 months (2 years as it turned out).  I had a job and accommodation lined up, which meant I could arrive, head straight to my new house, get set up then start working just a few days later.

My first job was at a café Called The Avalanche Café in Lake Louise. I went straight there to meet someone who would give me the keys to my new house and an introduction to the area. The person I met, Lauren, became one of my best friends. Lauren invited me to drinks on the river that day and our friendship grew from there.

After dropping my stuff off at home I went down to the river and met my new group of friends, and had my first Ceaser, a drink that Canadians absolutely LOVE (I don’t understand why).

For me, the transition really was that easy. I stepped straight into a job, new house and friendship circle like that. I understand that this transition may not be as easy for everyone, so that is why I have shared the tips above, to help you have a smooth transition into life in Canada.

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6 thoughts on “Working Holiday Canada – My experience and advice

  • Ellie

    Ahhhhh this is making me want to go to Canada so bad! I’d love to do a working holiday there some day, I had such a fun time doing it in Australia. Great tips 🙂

  • Eniko

    Interested article, never heard about working holiday in Canada, but sounds like something I’d be interested in. I stayed in Australia on a working holiday visa for 6 months and loves it! 🙂 I need to look into visa options from my country to Canada.

  • Josy A

    This is really good advice.

    I did it when I was a lot older, and on my husband’s work visa (rather than a working holiday visa.) I cann’t wait to head out to the Rockies! Lake Louise sounds stunning! I hope I can get out there too! Did you manage to do lots of exploring on your days off? 🙂

    We have met sooo many people on working holiday visas here, especially in skiing areas. I have a feeling many of the tourist areas would not be able to run without excited working holiday stars like you.

    • atravellersfootsteps Post author

      I think you are right! Most ski resorts are run by people on working holidays. It is such a good experience 🙂