What to Expect on Your Working Holiday

3 minute read

Every year, hundreds of U.S. citizens participate in the Work & Travel Canada program, a great opportunity to earn money and explore this beautiful country for up to 12 months.

If you’re considering joining this or another working holiday program, you probably have a lot of questions about the experience: How will I find work and housing? How will I meet people?

We spoke with current participant Alexander H. about his exchange so far. He’s having an amazing experience and already signed up for his second year in Canada—U.S. citizens are eligible to participate twice!

Check out our interview to see how you can make your exchange in Canada unforgettable, too!

A: Most of my job searching was on Craigslist. I had done some searching before coming to Canada to get an idea of the market, but did my applying once I’d entered the country so I could be there for interviews.

Since I had a lot of food service experience, I mostly searched for jobs as a cook so that I could get something quickly. I prepped a generic cover letter, sent out a bunch of applications, and had four interviews lined up at the end of the week since there are so many food service positions available in the city. I got offered each one and took the one I liked the best, so I had a job within the first week of arriving in the country.

Plenty of jobs available in the food service industry!
Plenty of jobs available in the food service industry!
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Q: What kind of work are you involved in now?

A: I’m working in accounting now; I spent about three months as a cook and about halfway through began looking for jobs in my field which was a bit tricky since I had just graduated from university and had no relevant work experience yet.

As with the cook position, I did most of my search on Craigslist. I finally got an interview for a position after about a month of applications and was offered the job, so I’ve been working there as an accountant for the past six months.

Q: What is your housing situation like and how did you land that?

A: I started out staying with someone I’d already known for a little bit, then I sublet a room from a friend at work following that.

Once the summer had ended, I moved into a new apartment building in a pretty convenient location, and I’ve been staying there since. I found the ad for the position on Craigslist, so finding housing involved a mix of asking around and searching online.

Take advantage of all the beauty Canada has to offer
Take advantage of all the beauty Canada has to offer
Image courtesy of Brittany Rassett

Q: Where have you traveled in Canada?

A: Most of my travel has been pretty local. I’ve been up the coast of British Columbia a bit and out to Vancouver Island and it’s very scenic and great for travel, but I’d like to travel across Canada a bit as well in my second year of the program. Around here though, my favorite places to travel so far have been Tofino and Squamish.

Make friends wherever you go!
Make friends wherever you go!
Image courtesy of Ana Cuenca

Q: How were you able to make friends and form a social group?

A: I was lucky to have already known a few people up here before I came, so I’d already had a few friends to help get me set up when I moved.

I’ve made a bunch of new friends though from work, concerts, and friends of friends, and so many people here are very friendly and easy to get along with so there’s no shortage.

A big thank you to Alexander for sharing his experiences on InterExchange’s Work & Travel Canada program! If you’d like to follow in Alexander’s footsteps, get started by creating an application on our website!

Melissa Horine By

Melissa worked with InterExchange between 2016 and 2019, helping U.S. citizens planning to travel abroad. She traveled to Spain and Ghana before moving to Japan for three years. She now lives in the almost-foreign country of New York City.

Work & Travel Canada
Work & Travel Canada

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U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation