In October 2014, we started a working holiday in Canada that was meant to last a year. We ended up back home in New Zealand after three months. Here’s our story of why Canada wasn’t the place for us.
Ever since visiting the United States for the first time together in 2011, we had wanted to return to live and work there. The country just resonated with us – we loved the affordable lifestyle (yes, it does depend where you live, but in general compared to New Zealand, it’s cheap!), the vibrant cities, and the incredible variety of landscapes. For us, coming from little old New Zealand, the US seemed like a land of opportunity – and we’re sure it is for many people.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible for New Zealanders to live and work there. In many other countries like Canada, the UK, parts of Europe and South America, Kiwis under about 30 can quite easily get working holiday visas, which allow us to live in said country and work for a year or two. But for some reason (I’m looking at you, US Government) there’s no such thing available for young New Zealanders in the States. The irony is, young Americans can live and work in New Zealand for a year under a working holiday scheme! Totally unfair.
我们度过了一个美妙6个月周游美国东部，爱上了纽约市（188金宝搏什么we would give to live there…) and generally had a lot of fun. When our tourist visa ran out, we headed to Vancouver, British Columbia via the beaches of Mexico (have to love those cheap flights from the East Coast!).
进入加拿大工作假期签证的新西兰是一个非常简单的过程（中详细介绍here). However, finding decent work on a working holiday visa isn’t so easy, and this, among other things, was what led to us quitting Canada.
Under the working holiday visa, you can apply for any job you want, which is awesome. You can work at a ski resort, in a café, in an office, build houses, or whatever takes your fancy. What is not so awesome is that many employers, especially those advertising for more qualified or experienced people, may not want to hire people that are only going to be around for a year. Unlike Australians, who can renew their visa as many times as they like until they’re 30, New Zealanders only have that single year.
A further issue for us was that we had decided to visit New Zealand for a friend’s wedding three months after arriving in Vancouver, so we could hardly apply for long term jobs and then ask for a month off after such a short time working!
Shaun, a qualified builder in New Zealand, found it pretty easy to get work, but the wages in Vancouver were about a third lower than what he was paid in New Zealand. This was primarily because he isn’t a so-called ‘Journeyman’ who has Canadian qualifications, hence the limitation on earning potential in that industry.
温哥华是世界上最昂贵的城市生活中，我们知道，在此之前，我们决定住在这里的一个，所以我们并不感到震惊 - 我们居然发现它更便宜的住在比我们家奥克兰市！然而，工资就是不与生活成本相匹配。最低工资坐镇约$ 10.50，当你每星期需要支付数百美元的租金和食物，被漂亮的伸展！我们在低薪工作岗位工作比我们在家里，但每周我们的开支是相当类似的，所以我们就没有节约的那种，我们本来希望为未来的路费（和我们即将举行婚礼！）。188金宝搏
You can’t travel much while working full-time, and Canada is a bloody big place
We had figured that living in Canada would present this awesome opportunity to do heaps of travel in an exciting new country as well as visit the US. But we were quite wrong. It seems really stupid to say this, but seeing as we had full time jobs in Vancouver, we couldn’t do a lot of travel outside the city (especially given our limited earnings). So it didn’t feel much different to living at home, except that we were living in a new city (which was cool and not to be forgotten! Vancouver is a very nice place to live).
And one other really dumb thing that we never really thought about was that Canada is如此血腥巨大。如果你只有在这远离城市的周末，这是相当难以在加拿大取得任何进展！We would only want to drive a couple of hours after work on a Friday, and from Vancouver there aren’t many places within only a few hours’ drive – Whistler, Vancouver Island, and into the top of the US are really the only viable options (and we are gutted we didn’t make it to the Island). Before arriving in Canada, we envisaged camping weekends in the Rockies, wine tasting in the Okanagan, etc. etc. However, we found this just too hard in the short time we had off work. And aside from that, it was autumn and heading into winter when we were there – so the weather wasn’t on our side.
是的，它确实做到了。而且很显然，我们完全到达一年的时间不对的天气！十月到十二月是一年中降雨最多的月份，我们肯定看到了一大堆的那个。It’s a shame, because Vancouver is a really great city, and I imagine that it would be an absolutely fantastic place to be in the summer – all the parks, beaches, hiking and mountain biking trails close by… But we just didn’t see it. At one point, it rained for two weeks solid. With no breaks. Serious! In the end, we just couldn’t deal with it. I think if we had arrived in the summer, our outlook on the place would’ve been much different.
We earn more, and therefore can afford to do things we couldn’t do in Canada. Of course it’s not all about the money, but sometimes it makes a big difference. One of the major things for us living overseas was that we wanted to experience life overseas – going out for drinks, dinner, shows, and so on. We just couldn’t afford to. So we made the big decision to stay in New Zealand and call it quits on Canada. Yes, it sucks that it didn’t work out there, as much as we wanted it to. But we think we have made the right decision for us at this point in our lives.
We’re loving being back home. We’re always going to be travellers, and living in New Zealand isn’t going to change that. It’s a little further away and more expensive to get to other countries, but it’s not impossible! We are also lucky to have quickly found jobs since we have been back – I’ve restarted my Climate Scientist position at the company I used to work for, and Shaun has landed a great job as a manager for a construction company.
We really liked Canada, as much as this post may not seem like it. The people we met were amazing, and there were many, many great things about being there. It just wasn’t the right place for us to live at that time. We look forward to returning to Canada one day purely for travel – we’ve left a lot to explore!
Have you ever moved to a country and left soon afterwards? Where was it, and why did you leave?