Liz’s Working Holiday experience not only enabled her to see amazing sites in Canada and make new friends, but it also kick-started her career in tourism when she returned back home to New Zealand.
“As I now work in the tourism industry in New Zealand, it helped having ‘ski technician Canada’ on my CV and LinkedIn profile. Going overseas on a Working Holiday Program shows an employer that you are agile, a go getter and courageous!”
Many people dream of travel. Perhaps you have a picture of Banff as the background on your work computer. You sit there and count down the days until you can get on that plane and finally get to enjoy your dream vacation.
When Liz went to Canada, she secured a job working at Grouse Mountain in British Columbia.
“Working in Canada gave me much more confidence,” Liz said.
“I was nervous to be a 35-year old heading over to a large country to work with a team of 20-year olds. Within one week, I knew I’d made the right move and now realise I can work and be friends with any age group.”
Liz worked as a ski technician helping beginners with their ski gear and booking them in for ski lessons. It wasn’t all work, though, with a lot of perks such as free lessons, ski gear and discounted staff meals in the resort.
“It was amazing learning how to ski for free.”
Liz said one of her biggest regrets was not stepping far enough outside of her New Zealand and Australian bubble. With so many Kiwis and Aussies at the ski resort, it was easy to stick with people from this region of the world. She recommends that anyone planning a trip to Canada take the time to get to know the people from other nationalities and really step out of their comfort zone.
After her time in Vancouver, she made the decision to live on Gabriola Island, which is located five kilometers east of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
“Once the ski season had finished, my flatmates and I moved to Gabriola Island for the summer season. We worked as waitresses at the local restaurant. Our landlords were quite wealthy and would let us house sit their palatial house when they were on holidays every month.”
The relationship with their landlords was great, with Liz calling them her Canadian parents.
“They would give us money to do their gardening if we needed extra cash and let us use their kayaks and car to go away on road trips to see the rest of BC. They would invite us over to their house for home cooked meals once a week and treated us like their kids.”
Liz said that Canadians are such special people. Thanks to this friendship, she felt so welcomed throughout her time in Canada.
When Liz came home to New Zealand, her experience in Canada kick-started her career in tourism.
“My current job in New Zealand is to encourage Kiwis to consider a career in tourism and hospitality, and because I worked in these fields in BC, I am able to confidently promote the perks and skills of working in this amazing industry,” she said.
“Vancouver is a hybrid of Auckland and Queenstown. Great bars, restaurants, ferries and stunning nature on your doorstep.”
If all of this sounds like an amazing experience, and you want to start planning your journey to Canada, Liz has this piece of advice for you: “If you want to work at a ski resort, then save as much money as you can before you go, as you will be on minimum wage. This will help you to enjoy other resorts on your days off. Try to get some waitressing or barista experience behind you as this will tide you over in summer. You can earn LOADS of money, as the tips are so good. I earnt more in tips than my base salary.”
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.