Moving to the land of the maple leaf – heading in a different direction

CANADA: home to moose, maple syrup, mountains and from this summer; me.  Yes, after three years of university I am upping sticks from Blighty and heading across the Pond on a two year Canadian working holiday.  ‘Why?’ I hear you ask.  Well, one of the main reasons for the move is to finally close the 3,500 mile gap between my girlfriend and I after a two-year, transatlantic, long-distance relationship.  I am also excited by the prospect of working and experiencing life in another country, and all the opportunities this will bring.  Those who know me well will tell you that I love to travel; indeed, it’s one of my favourite things in life. Being based in Toronto will suit me as it will mean some of North America’s top tourist destinations are within my reach.  For instance, the world-famous Niagara Falls is just an hour out of town, while places like Ottawa, Montreal and the European-inspired Quebec City are easily accessible. The U.S. border is also close by, making trips to New York and Chicago a real possibility.

Canada flagOf course, a move to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean also has its downsides.  The three and a half thousand miles between my girlfriend and I will be replaced by the same distance, a five hour time difference and a seven hour flight between myself and my family and friends back in England.  I’m already nervous about this, but the reality probably won’t really kick in until we have to say goodbye at the airport security checkpoint.  I’m sure I will miss the little things about living in Britain, too; people using the same sayings as me, proper tea and biscuits, bacon sandwiches and quality BBC telly.  Nevertheless, it’s important that I stay positive and remember that this is part of the adventure – after all, I can’t stay in my small Westcountry hometown forever. I’m looking forward to showing visitors from home the sights in my new city, and getting fully involved in different aspects of Canadian life and the new experiences this will bring.

To apply for a Canadian working holiday visa, patience is a must-have trait.  Safe to say, the process was long and complicated, with a months-long wait for the initial limited quota of work permits to become available.  Having finally secured a provisional place on the International Experience Canada initiative, I then had to wait again before hearing that I had been approved by the immigration authorities.  Now, I have to liaise with BUNAC (Bunac Travel Services Ltd), who are organising my working holiday, in order to prepare for my arrival in Toronto. On top of this, I have to find flights and insurance – this international moving business doesn’t come easy, nor does it come cheap!

Despite the hurdles, I am feeling optimistic as I look forward to making the move in a few months’ time.  This working holiday will provide me with a fantastic opportunity to learn about, and see more of, this beautiful country.  Now I best get to work, and start learning the words to O Canada.