A working holiday is one of those experiences that could, very excitingly, change the course of your life. At the very least, the memories of times spent in a different and thrilling new country, with new friends will stay with you forever.
It’s a big decision, there’s no doubt about that, and as much as everyone will tell you how it’s one of the best things you’ll ever do (it really is, by the way). There’s nothing quite like hearing about it straight from the mouth of someone that’s been there and done it.
Find out what Cameron enjoyed about his time spent working in Canada
Last year Cameron decided to pack up and head off to Canada after applying for a Work Canada Package. He’s here to tell us about how he got his Canadian working holiday started and shares his experience of living away from home.
Cameron tells us about his working holiday in Canada
Browsing working holiday options started just as a distraction from A-Level revision. Little did I know that signing up to Work Canada would become one of the best decisions of my life.
I had always planned to take a gap year before starting my degree, a decision mainly down to my terrible money management skills. Throughout booking, I never considered what I was doing and come departure day, it hit me; I was moving half way across the world on my own with no guarantee of a job let alone a roof! But why not, you only live once, eh?
After a very enjoyable honeymoon period, it was time to find a house and a job. I didn’t really want a job, but with all my travel plans there wasn’t really a choice! I went to the SWAP office (BUNAC’s Canadian partner) and started the search. The SWAP staff were really helpful and they offered plenty of assistance; everything from getting a bank account to converting your CV into a Canadian resume, and the free internet was pretty useful too!
I ended up working for nearly 8 months for an electronics retailer called The Future Shop. I never planned to work for so long, but ended up taking long weekends away pretty often as Toronto is an excellent nucleus; New York, Montreal, Chicago and Boston are all within a Greyhound-able distance.
A weekend spent snowboarding was a regular occurrence with the slopes so close
Several of those weekends away, I headed up to Blue Mountain with a few work pals. As a ski resort in Northern Ontario, Blue Mountain acts as a convenient comparison the Rockies but in the East. It’s amazing to think that such a picturesque place is just a couple hours away from the buzz of Canada’s largest city. A couple of other weekends were spent at Niagara as well, which is more than a waterfall as it has a very enjoyable nightlife too.
However my favourite has to be Montreal, despite the fact it snowed the first time I went — in May! If I spoke even a little bit of French, this would be my next location for Work Canada.
After finishing at The Future Shop, I spent the next four months exploring the East Coast of the USA. I have to say that Chicago has to be the favourite of all the cities on the eastern seaboard; visiting during the Taste of Chicago probably provided a very valid bias however!
A working holiday is a great way to meet a heap of new friends too
As for Toronto itself; there is always something happening, it is yours to discover. Toronto is so incredibly unique. Whether you want to kick back in Little Italy, go for a beer in the Distillery District or get lost on the scenic Islands, Toronto truly is the world in one city.
I met some incredible people, whether this was through work, BUNAC, or through random chats on the bus. I fell in love with the Canadian way of life and cannot help but recommend Work Canada to anyone considering a gap year. I’m just waiting until I can get back there myself!