In early 2015 I made a decision. I was 6 months out of university, living back with my parents and feeling a little lost about what path I should take next. So when I discovered that the opportunity to work abroad was within my grasp, I jumped at the chance without a second thought. It has since proven to be one of the best decisions I have ever made, but it wasn’t without its challenges. Preparing for my move to Canada was a laborious, time consuming process. All worth it of course, but I could never have envisaged the amount of work it would take to get here.
If you are contemplating a move abroad yourself (particularly to Canada!), here are 5 tips, acquired from my own experience, to get you started.
- Make the move before you turn 30
The first time I came to Canada was on a student visa, obtained relatively easily through my university’s study abroad programme. The next time around I was able to enter through the International Experience Canada (IEC), which was more of a process to say the least. It is only open to those between the ages of 18 and 30, and your application may not necessarily be successful the first time around. There’s no denying however, that opportunities for the under 30s are in far greater abundance when it comes to moving abroad. So don’t waste time. Take the leap while you can.
- Save, save, and save some more
Never underestimate how much money you will need to make a start in your new home, or what the cost of applying will be before you even get there. Check this out before you begin the process, or you could find yourself with an invitation to apply for your visa and no way to pay for it (the finer details can be found here). There’s also no way of knowing how long it will take to find work once you’ve arrived, as this experience tends to differ from person to person. I would recommend saving enough to cover living expenses for at least a couple of months.
- Don’t forget your travel insurance!
I cannot stress enough how important this is. Without it you are at risk of being denied entry into Canada. It’s widely accepted among most IEC candidates that True Traveller provides the best deal. After all, who wants to be stuck with a $200 medical bill?
- Join online forums and Facebook groups
Whenever I had a question about my application or life in Canada in general, I was always guaranteed a straight-forward answer from fellow IEC candidates. It’s pretty wonderful how open and willing other adventure seekers are to lend a helping hand. One of the forums I constantly referred to, and still do, is Experience Canada. I can guarantee that the lovely people over there will be able to answer your questions ten times better than I could!
- Pack light
I know it may be tempting to move your entire life with you when you leave, but it’s a good idea to remember that working holiday visas generally only last 2 years. Once yours has expired you may have decided to move back home, if not elsewhere. Consider also that you are almost guaranteed to acquire more possessions during your time abroad (the amount of new books I’ve purchased is bordering on the irresponsible). I have found that a nomadic life is often a simplistic one.