Former University of Leeds student Helen tells us all about her Work Canada experience!
One day during my final year of university, sick of the bleak northern UK winters and longing for some excitement, I was scanning through some catalogues in my university’s career centre. To be frank, I didn’t really have much of a clue what I wanted to do. I just knew that I was in my final year and that the scary world of ‘being a grown-up’ was just ahead of me. Amongst all those catalogues and brochures a BUNAC brochure caught my eye. 'Come work in Canada!' it said. Yes I think I will I replied.
So off I went, I booked my flight, got on a plane (with a lovely group of fellow BUNAC-ers) and off I went to Vancouver. So I arrived, and it dawned on me that I had nowhere to live, not much money and still not a clue what I wanted to do. Was I scared? Oh yes, I was bloody terrified. But the lovely BUNAC staff were on hand to help. They pointed me in the right direction for jobs and housing, and also reminded me of all the little things I’d forgot I would even need, from a bank account to my social insurance card. At first I was determined I would live in Vancouver, which is an amazing city, then slowly the chatter of my BUNAC buddies who were off to seek snow convinced me that I too fancied spending a winter on the slopes. Not convinced that I would follow them, my new friends departed our hostel. I spent a few more days meandering around Vancouver, and then one morning came and I decided yes, today is a good day to get on a bus and see some mountains. I moved to Whistler, the largest skiable area in North America, and in my fine opinion, the best place on earth.
I found work as a photographer working on the mountain. This meant not only did I get my season pass for free, but I also got to ski to and from work every day. Once my skiing was perfected I moved on to all the other new experiences there were to try, bungee jumping! snow boarding! curling! poutine! (The national dish of Canada, which is basically cheese and gravy on chips. Fab). I became a MASSIVE ice-hockey fan! Who knew one girl from Manchester could get so involved in grown men smashing each other into the ice? Not me. My own sporting skills were also put to the test, I became a champion beer pong player and I still currently stand undefeated – well according to my fuzzy memories anyway.
After an amazing winter, I decided to stay in Whistler and work as a waitress at the base of the mountain. I spent a gorgeous summer lazing around lakes, hiking and mountain biking. After the summer I spent one month traveling though the Rocky Mountains and Quebec, making even more friends. Other friends traveled down into the U.S and some even went as far as South America. My BUNAC adventure was the most amazing year of my life and I’m itching to go on another!
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