When Anabelle travelled from Brisbane to Canada for the ski season, she was not expecting to gain so much more than just snowboarding skills.
“Moving to Canada and learning to snowboard pushed me physically, mentally and emotionally further than anything else I’ve ever done, but it has also taught me that I can do so much more than I ever expected! It’s also given me lifelong friendships in Canada with people I met there, who have since moved all over the world.”
There may be a lot of challenges in moving to another country, but as Annabelle said, it can show you a lot about yourself.
Hailing from Brisbane, Annabelle travelled to Canada to work in the mountains. Initially only planning to stay for one winter season, she instead stayed for four, and one summer season.
“Summer is just as fun as winter! I had heard good things about working the snow season from friends doing a Working Holiday,” she said.
Annabelle taught herself how to snowboard and progressed from basic skills, all the way to backcountry splitboarding –a snowboard that splits in half to become skis for uphill travelling or touring.
She experienced breathtaking, remote places of Whistler.
“I think one of the most amazing things I have ever done in my life was being able to get a heli-drop in the Duffy Lake area near Whistler with a group of friends and a ski touring guide, where we spent the day in amazing wilderness splitboarding.”
There were still some stressful moments such as finding seasonal work and accommodation, particularly when there are so many people competing for the same jobs with similar skills, Annabelle said.
She said that Canadian kindness helped her adapt and make some wonderful friends while she worked in Whistler.
“Canadians are wonderfully warm and welcoming and are great fun!”
Canada even brings people together from all over the world, as Annabelle found out when she met her Scottish husband during her time working at Whistler.
“We met in Whistler… He moved back to Australia with me when we left Canada, but we have been back to Revelstoke several times for snow holidays. In 2019 we got married at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.”
Part of what made Annabelle’s experience in Canada so great was a willingness to get out there and get involved in things.
“Make sure you go to lots of different places, spend as much time as possible in the mountains and stay as long as you can in Canada! Also, afternoon and night shifts are better than working day shifts,” she said. In the end, all of her experiences in Canada lead her back to Australia.
“I think a lot of the skills that I’ve learned are quite transferrable to professional life,” she said.
“Skills like teamwork, open and honest communication and resilience are all essential for successful travel, ski touring and work success.”
To share your own #CanAdventure, visit: www.canadadownunder.org.au/canadventure
International Experience Canada (IEC) is a Government of Canada program that allows youth aged 18-35* from over 30 IEC partner countries/territories to work and travel in Canada for up to two years*. Whether it is to take a gap year, complete a co-op/internship abroad, or gain international work experience after graduation, IEC can help make these experiences happen. To start your own Canada adventure through Working Holiday, Young Professionals or International Co-op Internship, visit www.canada.ca/iec.
*May vary depending on your country of citizenship.