My boyfriend spent a year in Australia last year, and I visited and toured around. We’ve also seen various European cities and beaches together over the past couple of years, as well as trips to South Africa. Needless to say, we love being ‘abroad’; our bank balances however, don’t. As time passes we’re starting to want to buy a house. I want to live abroad though, he has done it, but I missed out. He’s going to be thirty this year – and lots of the countries we’d like to do a year abroad in don’t allow people who are over 30 to apply for a visa. So the question is – which country do we pick for our final flourish? We haven’t yet been to Asia, New Zealand, or any of the continent of America. So, which one to go for?
I want to travel across America, but I’ve never been particularly drawn to their work culture (i.e. working too much!), so I don’t think I’d like to move there. Having visited Australia for holiday, and from my boyfriend and his friends’ reports, I know Australia could be great fun and great income, but I can’t get over just how far away from home it was, both financially and in flight time. There would be no ‘popping home for Christmas’. Once there, that would be it for the year. Same for New Zealand (actually, worse) – although I definitely do need to visit New Zealand, perhaps an extended holiday there would do, definitely as a start. And I’m not the type to be up for anything and not worry about culture shock, so I think again, Asia will be best visited on holiday for the first time.
Which leaves me with Canada. And I can’t think of any reason not to investigate the idea further. So, what are the big draws for Canada, and are there any drawbacks?
To get acquainted with the place, we could spend a few weeks hiring out a campervan and touring around, from Quebec in the chic French Montréal, to the breathtaking experience of Niagara Falls, to the famous city of Toronto. Then we could head over to the West Coast, via Calgary, the scene of the 1988 Winter Olympics and setting of one of the best films of all time – Cool Runnings!
On arrival in Vancouver City – winner of ‘Top City In Canada 2012’, and winner of ‘Most Livable City in the World 2010’ – it might be time to spend some time and try to find some local work. To suss out the city, see if we could love it, take a trip over to Vancouver Island for a weekend, or travel up to Whistler to see the slopes. Vancouver is one of the only cities in the world where you can sail in the morning or spend time in the warmth by the shore, and then in the afternoon head up the mountain for whichever winter sport takes your fancy. The city is also a cosmopolitan delight, offering all the attractions of other top city break destinations, like museums and galleries, famous buildings and restaurants, nightly entertainment to suit all visitors, and plenty of job prospects for any career type.
I’m already excited about all there is to see and do in Canada, whilst also excited that the idea of living there doesn’t immediately make my easily burned skin tremble in fear, and with no language divide, there’s nothing to fear. For more info on British Columbia, follow #ExploreBC on twitter!
Canada’s culture has been influenced largely by British and French cultures, as well as it’s on indigenous cultures. Also, due to the close proximity of the United States, with shared borders and language, Canada’s modern culture is continually influenced by American culture. Canada is thought of as being very progressive, multicultural, and diverse, and in many ways holding to the same ideals as the United Kingdom: Canada has a publicly funded health care system; progressive taxation; has outlawed capital punishment; allows same sex marriage; has stricter gun control than US; as well as strong efforts to erase poverty and promote cultural diversity. To me, this sounds like a place I’d like to experience, by all accounts Canada comes across as a country that works well and has got everything together.
One of the best things I’ve read so far about Canada as a potential new home for us, is that the Canadian sense of humour is similar to the British, notably, self-deprecating and ironic! We’ll feel right at home! Cuisine is also largely British and French inspired, but with some new concoctions to investigate too. Crime levels were comparable with other European countries, and less than American, and are in fact now at their lowest since 1973!
For all intents and purposes Canada seems like an absolute dream destination.
Things to bear in mind
Understandably, as a dream destination with public funded healthcare, great scenery and weather, low crime rates and all the modern culture you could wish for, Canada has a lot of people hoping to migrate there for extended periods! In addition to the rule that to apply for a 1 year working visa you must be aged 30 or under, there is also the issue that there are only so many places available per year for immigrant or tourist visas. For 2014 applications, a specific quota will be set for UK travellers, and once the quota is full, there’s no other way to gain access to Canada.
I have a Canadian friend who lives here in the UK, whose boyfriend is English. They want to spend the next year in Canada but have already been waiting since deciding this in July. They’re waiting for the application process to open in January – and then they’ll still have to await the process and decision. I hope he is one of the successful applicants! For us, perhaps we will apply and see whether we are successful or not, and base our decision on that. The more I read up about Canada, the more I wish I’d started applying a few years ago! I’m starting to hope everything was already arranged and all that was left to do was organise the transfer to Heathrow! For up to date Visa application info go to: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/united_kingdom-royaume_uni/visas/index.aspx?lang=eng&menu_id=3
Bio: Karen loves travel and has travelled extensively for both business and pleasure. Her top tip is to always use an airport transfer service like Milton Executive Cars to ensure the smoothest trip from door to door.