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Why pick Canada for your overseas working holiday?

 If you’re looking to take a gap year, you may find that the research required beforehand can be overwhelming. After hours of reading I finally became ruthless, wrote off many of the possibilities and ended up going to Canada for the best year of my life.

Different programmes available
A number of European countries offer Australians the chance to work abroad for a year. The UK is the most popular, with bars around London employing many an Aussie, but there’s no reason why you can’t try Denmark, Germany or Ireland. When my British visa came to an end, I thought it would be great to hop on to the next country but, the Netherlands aside, pretty much everywhere in Europe requires you to return to Australia to apply.
As well as Europe, Australians can also select from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

For all of these countries, there are certain basic requirements that you must meet. Sadly, you have to be no older than 30 when you apply (but you can be 31 when you fly), which means that for some of us time is quickly running out. You must also be dependent-free (so no kids), and different countries have different rules about how much money you need to have in your account.

The benefits of Canada
There are few countries where we’re entitled to a working holiday-visa and that speak English as a first language, so the likes of Canada makes it easier to find a job. The idea of being in a classroom didn’t appeal to me, so the Asian countries where many people take an English-teaching job were out.
Just as the UK has easy travel options to foreign-speaking countries, Canada offers you that on its east coast with Montreal and Quebec, which are largely French speaking. It’s also just a few hours from the likes of Mexico and the Caribbean, and a bit farther to South America.

Canadian highlights
There are three main Canadian cities that draw most visitors, especially those looking for work. My favourite was Vancouver, a city that often tops those ‘best places to live’ lists, and if you’re the sort of person who loves Melbourne you’ll feel very at home there. Toronto is a multicultural haven, with all kind of ‘Little’ places to visit, including Little China, Little Japan and almost any other country you can think of, giving it a very cosmopolitan feel. French-speaking Montreal is the other favourite, but if you want a job where you need to be able to communicate well (French speakers aside) then it may not be for you.

The landscape in Canada is also vastly different to what I was used to in Australia. Around Vancouver there are plenty of snowy mountains, which attract thousands of visitors each year. Whether you want to work in a bar near Grouse or fit ski boots on Whistler, there’s a job for you. If you find you enjoy the cold of the snow, head farther north into the Yukon where you can enjoy dog-sled rides on your way to work.

A train ride from coast to coast is another must, seeing the Rocky Mountains, the rolling prairies and Dinosaur Provincial Park, perhaps on your way to the iconic Niagara Falls and Ontario’s thousand-plus islands.

To get started on your Canadian adventure, apply for your visa and start doing some research online, you might even be able to secure yourself a job before you arrive.
 Becky Hillard has done her fair share of working holidays, and would thoroughly recommend giving it a go!

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