Here Ndrika Anyika, 24 from London, tells us why she loves Canadia!
I remember when I was younger, I insisted that Canada was actually called Canadia. Even after learning this was not the case, my desire to visit the vast country didn’t stop. Canada had always appeared to be a country that had a bit of everything. It seemed to me the perfect combination of untamed wilderness balanced out by the big cities and endless nightlife.
I first heard about BUNAC's Work Canada Programme from a girl that I worked with a few years ago. She mentioned that she had gone to Canada for a year with the help of a company called BUNAC on a working holiday visa. The visa summed up exactly what I wanted to do, work and make money, yet still be able to have a fun holiday and travel! I set to work on my research immediately.
As I had just graduated I thought it best to stay in London and work for a year to save up a bit of money. I worked in the media industry for companies like the BBC and Channel 4, and as much as I loved it, I could not shake the feeling that Canada was beckoning me and it grew stronger with every picture that I found of beautiful Moraine Lake and every episode of the Canadian drama Heartland that I watched!
I signed up with BUNAC and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of information that they had on their website at my disposal. Everything that I needed to feel comfortable with moving abroad on my own, such as steps detailing the process of applying for the International Experience Canada to their videos about applying for jobs and finding accommodation in Canada.
BUNAC also helped me find work before I even got to Canada. I had an interview with Blue Mountain Ski Resort as a Front Desk representative, which turned out to be a really fun job due to the amazing friends I made there. I also learnt to ski along the way, as you get free skiing lessons and free rentals if you are staff! I would wake up in the morning and open my blinds to see the snow tumbling down over my balcony, which overlooked the mountains. The moments you have when you put everything into perspective and think, ‘I am so happy to be alive’, well I had those almost every day at Blue Mountain!
I absolutely love Canada and have been here for almost 6 months now. I arrived in October, leaving London 17kg over my baggage allowance! So far I have been to fashion shows, visited the CN Tower and the Hockey Hall of Fame, Casa Loma, the Royal Ontario Museum amongst other places. I have learnt to ski and learnt that I can adapt to anything, even temperatures of -30 degrees! Travelling on my own has taught me that wherever you go, you will always meet people you connect with and that is a lovely thought.
Toronto also has its charm. Although I am originally from Sheffield, I lived in London for the past four years, so am used to the hustle and bustle of a big city. That’s probably why Toronto feels like a home away from home for me. I have really been enjoying walking around the city and as the weather gets warmer I feel the need to appreciate the beauty of Toronto of which there is lots. I get lost about 5 times a day but you can always look to the CN tower to get your bearings, plus having Google Maps doesn’t hurt! I also love Toronto for is busy nightlife and although it may lack the super clubs of London, it easily makes up for it with its countless amount of cool and quirky bars and infinite array of restaurants.
I haven’t been homesick once, not even on Christmas day, as Skype and no longer Diamonds, are a girls best friend. I have met the most amazing people here, and yes, the rumours you hear about Canadian people being really friendly is absolutely true. Don’t be scared if people just say hello to you whilst walking down the street or if someone holds the door open for you even when you are about a mile away! Also if you ask for directions Canadians will often escort you to your destination if it’s not that far away.
After my time in Toronto I plan to visit Montreal briefly then head west to Alberta, where I will be working on a horse ranch. After that I would love to visit British Columbia in the summer and learn how to surf but who knows. Travelling has made me realise that everything changes and that it is better to go with the flow. All I know is that right now I would not dream of being anywhere else in the world, as I often feel like I am living my dream.
Have your own BUNAC Travel story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and your story could be the reason others head out on a Working Holiday visa.