Moving To Canada For Kiwi’s (IEC)

Want to move to Canada on a Working Holiday but you’re not sure how?
Keep reading!
I moved to Canada in January 2018 and as difficult as moving abroad sounds, it’s actually relatively easy. Just have some patience and save some money!

Step One
Find out if you’re eligible to apply.
To participate for a Working Holiday Visa, your country must have an agreement with Canada that allows you to apply for an IEC work permit. Thankfully, New Zealand does. As long as you’re between the ages of 18 – 35 you can head to Canada on a Working Holiday and work on the Ski Fields as much as you like!! (Or another job of your choosing)


The Working Holiday Visa is designed for New Zealand citizens who want to come to Canada to travel, but also want to work at the same time. This could be anything from working on the Ski Fields to working as a Receptionist, Travel agent (such as myself) or doing Waitressing work.
You have to remember however that you only get your Visa for 23 months. Many other countries (Australia, UK etc….) get a Visa for 24 Months – so make sure not to commit to anything for the full two years work wise as you can’t legally be there unless you apply for Permanent Residency. 

Also note that if you are wanting to apply, you must

  • be a citizen of New Zealand,
  • have a valid New Zealand passport for the duration of your stay in Canada—your work permit in Canada will not be longer than the validity of your passport,
  • have a minimum of CAN$2,500 to help cover your expenses in Canada,
  • have health insurance for the duration of your stay—you may have to present evidence of this insurance when you enter Canada,
  • be admissible to Canada,
  • have, before departure, a round-trip ticket or demonstrate that you will have the financial resources to purchase a departure ticket at the end of your authorized stay in Canada,
  • not be accompanied by dependents, and
  • pay the fees.

Step Two
Start a profile!

Head to the website I just posted above and get started with making yourself a profile. If you want to travel and work temporarily in Canada as part of International Experience Canada (IEC), your first step is to become a candidate in one or more IEC pools.

If you think you want to head to Canada in the next 12 months, do this as soon as possible. The whole process can take up to 3-4 months in some cases so you really want to start getting everything organised ASAP.
If you think you’re wanting to leave in 2-3 years time – just wait. As soon as you get your acceptance letter, you have 1 year to enter the country. If you don’t enter the country, you’ve basically missed your chance to experience a Working Holiday Visa.

Once you’ve submitted an IEC Profile, you need to wait for an invitation to apply for a Work Permit Application.
If you’re invited to apply, you’ll get a message in your account. The message will list your category and your next steps.
You have 10 days to decide if you’ll accept the invitation. The deadline will be in your invitation. From the day you accept the invitation, you’ll have 20 days to apply online for a work permit.

If you do not respond by the deadline shown in the invitation, the invitation will expire. If it expires, you’ll have to submit a new IEC profile and be accepted to the pool again before you can be considered for future invitations.

Step Three
Once you’ve been accepted into an IEC pool, start getting your documents together. These are things like Police Certificates, proof of funds from your bank, a medical exam (ONLY if you’re planning to work with Children do you need this), your passport and your CV.


Once Canada choses your name out of the pool of people to apply, they only give you 20 days to complete and submit your application for a work permit and submit all supporting documents. If these documents are ready in advance, it will be easier to apply within the 20 days.

Remember, at this stage if you decided that Canada isn’t right for you, you can always decline the invitation and do it again before you’re 35. 

Step Four
Fill out all the fun paperwork!
As mentioned above, you’ll have to upload a criminal record from the Ministry of Justice  to your account. (What Canada calls your ‘Police Certificate’) To get this, go here 

You will also need to make sure you have a passport that is valid for your duration of stay in Canada, along with a copy of your CV that has a description of your education, qualifications, work experience etc…
If you are planning to work with Children, in the Health Field or in Elderly Care, you also need to complete a Medical Exam. I had always planned to work as a Travel Agent when I came to Canada, however there was a fear that it could not work out and Nannying would have to be my back up. I decided to get a Medical Exam while I was in New Zealand so I could legally work with kids and WOW DID IT COST A LOT. Approx $600 to be exact.giphy-2
The thing is, you can’t just go to your usual doctor and get one. There are only SPECIFIC Doctors in New Zealand that can do it for you. These doctors have to have been approved by the IRCC and you have to get an information printout sheet or an IMM 1017B Upfront Medical Report form for them to complete.

Once you’ve done all this, you then must pay the IEC participation fee of CAD$150 and the open work permit holder fee of CAD$100.

Please note the open work permit holder fee is refundable only if you withdraw your work permit application before they issue your letter of introduction OR your work permit application is refused.

When you’ve finished filling out the paper work and uploading documents – send it all off!

Step Five
It can take up to 8 weeks for your work permit application to be reviewed. So don’t go buying any plane tickets or accepting any job offers until you have your application approved.

If your application is approved, you’ll receive the magical port of entry (POE) letter in your account!! This is what you need to enter Canada.

Once you have this, you can buy a plane ticket, organise a Bon Voyage Party and sell your car – woohoo! You’re off to Canada!

giphy-3When you do eventually arrive into Canada, make sure to bring your POE letter with you and get your Visa issued before the expiry date of the letter. 
I know that some people come here and want to do a little holiday before they actually get a job and start working. You can totally do this. If you don’t want your Visa to start on the day you actually get here, you just need to exit Canada (by crossing the boarder or flying out) and come back in to get your Visa issued. 

Questions I always see people ask online:

Q: I need Travel Insurance that will last me the whole 23 months I’m in Canada, however I can only find Insurance Companies that sell 1 year policies?

A: This seems to be the biggest issue people have. And I’m going to tell you a trick that some people will either like or not like.
I purchased a year policy through World Nomads Insurance. It cost me NZD$1,173.92 for one of their ‘explorer’ plans. I then purchased a second year of Insurance through another company the day before I flew to Canada (Cost me around NZD$1,800) and then as soon as I arrived into Canada and got my work Visa issued I cancelled my second year of insurance and got my money back. 
Read the policy wording but I can assure you that nearly every Insurance in NZ will have some kind of ‘cool down’ period where you can cancel your insurance within 48 hours and get a full refund.

I in no way was planning to live in Canada and have absolutely no insurance. I had my first year covered and as soon as I was here 3 months I applied for the Government Health Plan called MSP (Medical Service Plan) PLEASE NOTE THIS IS ONLY FOR PEOPLE WHO WILL BE LIVING IN VANCOUVER
As long as you are working full-time here, they will cover you for many (but not all) things medical related. (Eg, Doctors visit, medically required eye examinations, x-rays, dental and oral surgery, when medically required and other things like surgery, hospital care etc)
I have Psorasis, (a skin condition) and I attend Light Therapy Treatments at the Skin Clinic 2x a week. This is all covered under MSP. I had to get surgery on my wrist for Ganglion Cysts and all my surgery and specialist visits would have been covered (I ended up not getting it because they disappeared for a bit).
My partner broke his finger playing Rugby and his surgery, hospital visits, after-care etc were all covered by the MSP.
The medical care here is amazing. It does cost you approx $37 a month but it’s totally worth it.

Do note however that if you decide to travel outside of Canada, you will need some other type of insurance. ESPECIALLY if you go to the USA. You don’t want to be traveling there with no health insurance as medical bills are thousands of dollars. You don’t want to be caught out. The MSP will also not cover things like baggage loss, flight delay etc… they’re not a Travel Insurance.

Q: Do I have to let New Zealand customs know I’m leaving when I fly out?

A: No. They don’t really care. Just let your bank know so they don’t block your cards when they see transactions over-seas (They may think you’re getting scammed)

Q: Will my phone work in Canada?

A: On roaming it will but it will cost a lot. Use the Airport Wi-Fi when you arrive and sort out a SIM card later.

Q: What if I don’t have the CAD$2,500 needed to show for a visa?

A: Then you can’t afford to live here. Hopefully you have a plane ticket booked home.

Q: How long does it take for my Visa to get issued when I arrive?

A: Hours. I waited at YVR Airport for so long. But of course it all depends on how busy it is that day. 

Q: Who flies to Canada from NZ?

A: Air New Zealand. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough. They do a direct flight from AKL – YVR. Also, Air Canada is going to be starting a non-stop service in December 2019 AKL – YVR. However, I’ll always prefer Air NZ over them haha.

Q: What happens to my Student Loan?

It collects interest when you’ve been gone for more than 6 Months. See below on how much you need to pay to keep on top of things.

Hopefully this information helped!

If you have any questions, comment below 🙂 Coming to Canada has been one of the best things I’ve done. To live in a new country is the coolest experience – I highly urge you to do it if you’re considering it. 

Should out to for heaps of this info.

I Love Seattle! – April 2018

A very very late post about my trip to Seattle back in April!

Who realized how close to Vancouver the city of Seattle is!?

Well not me until I moved to Canada. In fact, I didn’t know much about the place apart from knowing Grey’s Anatomy was based in a hospital there.
(By the way, I have only just started watching all the seasons of Grey’s Anatomy! Bit late to the craze I know as it first aired in 2005!)

The original reason for our trip to Seattle was because my partner had a rugby game down there.
I made sure I had the weekend off work so I could drive down with him and see a little bit more of the USA.
Usually the rugby team just stays there for the day (as it’s around a 3 hour drive from Vancouver) but we decided to stay for the night.
Even though I only booked us a hotel the night before we stayed – we got a really good deal through my work! (Travel agent perks 😉 )

So on Saturday morning, Nathan, myself and his Irish team-mate Thomas left our place around 7am. The drive to the Boarder which separates Canada and Washington was actually pretty short. It’s the drive from the boarder down to Seattle that takes the longest time. It’s not an exciting drive either. Just motorways and some farms with the occasional food store and Walmart. (Okay I admit, I enjoyed the Walmart’s)

When we got into Seattle, we dropped Thomas off at the Rugby Field because he was playing an earlier game with another Vancouver team. As we hadn’t stopped for food yet, Nathan and I decided to drive around and find something to eat.
Unfortunately for us it was raining – I’m not meaning just a little drizzle either, it continuously poured with rain that whole first day we were there!
I actually didn’t research Seattle before I went but I’ve now found out it’s one of the rainiest cities in the USA. Seattle is right in the path of a weather pattern that brings in a lot of moisture off the Pacific Ocean, they get about 150 days of rain a year! Luckily it’s not always a heavy downpour, more of a light drizzle. Guess it’s similar to Vancouver in a way.

Out of all the fast-food joints we could have eaten at, we decided on a trusty McDonalds meal. Coming from New Zealand where I like to think our McDonalds beef and Chicken is somewhat hormone free, I don’t think this McDonalds was. There’s always that gross feeling inside of you when you eat meat from America coming from New Zealand as you imagine it’s just full of all these additives and bad things you’re putting into your body.

We scoffed it down anyways and then headed back to the fields so Nathan could start warming up for the rugby game.

As the game didn’t start for about another hour, I headed back into the comfort of our car and drove back to the little city centre. We’d passed a Target store on the way to the fields and I really wanted to go and have a look.
Probably a bad idea as I ended up spending lots of money on homewares!!
I thought Vancouver had some decent shopping but America is just soo much better.

20180414_195643.jpgThere’s more stores to visit (eg, Target), the Walmart’s are much bigger and better, there’s more to choose from and so much variety of things to buy!
Even the Ben’n’jerry’s ice-cream in the grocery aisle at Target had about 15 more flavours than the local Safeway down from my house.

When I got to Target, I grabbed a trolley and ended up buying an ironing board that goes on your kitchen table (kind of useless now that I have it because it just moves around when I iron). I also bought an iron, some large pillows for our bed, this organic body wash, more jars for the kitchen and….I can’t actually remember what else. I just remember feeling really bad because I spent a lot of money and I didn’t bring my own reusable fabric grocery bags because the girl at the check-out had to double-bag like all my glass jars as she didn’t want them to break.

When I got outside, I quickly tried loading up the car as it was still raining. Suddenly this car pulls up behind me so I assumed the person just wanted my parking space. Next thing I know this guy jumps out and starts grabbing all my bags and putting them into my car for me. I thought ‘oh that’s so helpful, he’s probably just trying to hurry me up so he can get my parking space’
I said to him “Oh sorry! I’m trying to be quick, did you want my space?”
He replies “Are you single?” (Really direct I know)
“Uh no I have a boyfriend”
“Okay, are you from here?”
“Nah I’m not”
“Okay, yeah I do want your parking space”
And then proceeds to hop into his car and wait for me. I forgot how direct American guys are. They don’t shy away from just bluntly asking you out. Guess it’s saves all the guessing games!

Anyways, with the car all loaded, I drove back to the field to watch Nathan play rugby.
As it was raining, the fields were obviously very wet but I’m such a dedicated Girlfriend I stood in the rain under my umbrella (with my white shoes on may I add) to watch him play.
Unfortunately they lost and they had so many injuries in their team!
Nathan scored a try and came straight off the field as he hurt his hip so he didn’t even play a full game. Once you say you want to come off, you can’t go back on so he ended up standing with me the rest of the game in his dirty clothes and all soaked.


Once the game was over, we headed to the hotel to check-in and so Nathan could have a shower.
We ended up staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Downtown Seattle.
It was really centrally located and the everyone from the valet to the front desk was really lovely and helpful.
Our room was really spacious and the the bed was so comfortable. It even had a pillow menu!


While I was waiting for Nathan to get ready, I suddenly remembered I’d still never gone for dinner at the American Restaurant ‘The Cheesecake Factory’
Nathan had gone when he went to Hawai’i and always raved about it!
When I was in Orlando back in 2015, I also went with a girl from my tour group but we only went and bought a couple of slices of cheesecake. (We didn’t actually sit down and have a meal)
So I quickly did a Google search and saw that there was a Cheesecake Factory literally down the street from where we were staying.
I rung up to make a booking but they said we could just turn up and we’d get a table.
I’m so happy we ended up going because it was soooo yummy!!!
I’m not sure how many calories I consumed that night but everything from the bread they gave us to start, right down to the dessert at the end was so delicious.
Nathan and I are very simple people, I’m not fussed on a small steak and a side of asparagus, no matter how renowned the Chef is.
I want variety and great tasting food!

We ordered the Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes to start (which don’t sound that great but were so amazing) They top it with Sour Cream, Avocado and Salsa and put it in this really nice Salsa-type sauce.
As there were literally 50 different things to choose from on the menu, I got really panicky and didn’t know what to order! I ended up deciding on a Thai Coconut Lime Chicken Dish.
Nathan ordered a Steak with Vegetables and a large side of Fries. (He was desperate for a Steak as he had yet to eat one since he’d arrived)


There actually ended up being a fire alarm towards the end of dinner.
Weirdly, no one got up to leave the building. Maybe the food was too good!? (It ended up being trigged from a store next door)
Once we’d finished our dinner, they asked us if we’d like dessert. Our stomach’s couldn’t really handle anything more but we couldn’t go to the Cheesecake Factory and not get a slice of Cheesecake!
I ordered a Salted Caramel one for us to share, which we ended up taking home with us as we couldn’t finish it.

You can see I already had a little nibble

I find tipping in the states much better than Canada.
In the US, you write down how much you want to tip and they put a hold on your Credit Card which they charge (with the tip) once you leave. Or you can just pop a few dollar bills on the table.
In Canada, as everyone pays by card you have to do it on the Card Machine and it’s always a little awkward when your waiter is standing right there and then rips off the receipt for you as they see how much you’ve given them.
We ended up tipping our guy about $15-$20 which we thought was a good amount for his service and the yummy food.

After dinner, we headed back to our hotel feeling like the biggest hippo’s.
When we got there, I quickly skyped my parents as I had to ask my Dad a quick question about our car.
On the drive to Seattle, it kept loosing power when we were accelerating so I just wanted to see if he knew any idea why. (It ended up being the battery so we got a new one when we came back to Vancouver)
A few of Nathan’s rugby mates were drinking down the road at their hotel so he went down to join them for a bit but ended up coming back an hour later as he was absolutely shattered. WE ARE SO FUN AND FULL OF ENERGY I KNOW!!
It was a combination of being in the car for hours, the rugby game, the big dinner and the little walk back to our hotel that really took it out of us.
I know, I know. We’re in our 20’s and should be going out having fun in the city but it was raining and to be honest we had no energy.


The next morning, we actually didn’t get a sleep in (even though the hotel offered us a late check-out) because Travel Agent Sarah (me) had organised a morning tour of Seattle for us.
I honestly think that if you’re in a city for a short amount of time and want to maximize your stay – DO A TOUR!
You have a guide that knows the city like the back of their hand. They can drive you around, talk to you about the history and then drop you off afterwards and point you in the right direction of the best places to eat.
The tour guide we had on our tour was a bit quirky and he defiantly had a ‘different’ sense of humour but we went with it and quite enjoyed ourselves.
20180417_220151.jpg20180417_220247.jpg20180417_220321.jpg20180417_220139.jpg20180417_220334.jpgWe learnt about Seattles history and found out it was the Birthplace of Starbucks. (you can buy a unique mug at the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market)
The Boeing Company was also founded in the Seattle area by the man William Boeing. If you like aviation, they do public tours of the Boeing Factory (which I desperately wanted to go to!!) but we ran out of time 😦
We also learnt that The Klondike gold rush was the great boom period for Seattle after gold was discovered in Canada’s Klondike region back in the late 80’s. Seattle established itself as the jumping-off point for transportation to and from Alaska and the gold fields of the Yukon.
We also tried to get pictures of Bill Gate’s house as he lives in Seattle but we were a little too far away across the river to get anything good.
Towards the end, we had a photo stop at Kerry park where we took photo’s of the Seattle Skyline (and ourselves of course)
20180415_233935.jpg20180417_220705.jpg20180417_215815.jpgIMG_20180416_192808_904.jpgSome other random facts about Seattle for your reading pleasure:

  • More people bike to work in Seattle than in any other city in the USA of similar sizing.
  • They were the first city to have Policemen and woman on bikes
  • The Public Library system has more library card holders per capita than anywhere else
  • Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle
  • The have the busiest Ferry Terminal in the United States
  • Seattle is a major departure point for Alaskan cruises
  • They have the most houseboats compared to anywhere else in the U.S

Now it probably feels like you’ve gone on the tour with me! 😉


When the tour ended, we were dropped off at Pike Place Market which is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront. It’s really famous and you’ll always see pictures of it if you watch Grey’s Anatomy. It’s one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers’ markets in the United States.

Once there, I immediately took out my phone and started taking pictures of all the beautiful flowers and fresh fruit they had.

I thought there would be more food like really yummy baked goods and stuff but it was a little disappointing on the food front. It’s defiantly more produce based where you can buy fresh fish, flowers, jams and vegetables to take home.

20180415_234509.jpg20180415_234420.jpgWe also watched the famous ‘Throwing of the fish’ at Pike Place Fish Market. It’s one of the market’s major attractions where employees throw three-foot salmon and other fish to each other rather than passing them by hand. If you order a fish, an employee picks up the fish from the ice barrels and hurls it over the countertop, where another employee catches it and prepares it for you to take home.

From what I’ve read on Wikipedia, the tradition started when the fishmongers got tired of having to walk out to the Market’s fish table to retrieve a salmon each time someone ordered one. Eventually, the owner realized it was easier to station an employee at the table and throw the fish over the counter.



At some stage during my photo taking, Nathan wandered off and I lost him in the crowd.
Eventually I spotted him and we decided to go line up at Piroshky Piroshky which is a small Russian Bakery just across the road from the markets. You have to wait in line but you’re given a menu as you wait so you can quickly order when you’re inside.


They did everything from Cinnamon rolls and Rhubarb Piroshky’s to Chicken Curry and Onion Rolls. I ordered a Oscars Star which was a delicious buttery dough topped with chocolate, sweet cream cheese and sprinkled with Hazelnuts whereas Nathan got a traditional ground beef and onion Piroshky which I took a bite of and was actually pretty good. He even enjoyed my sweet treat later that night!! (This is a big thing as he doesn’t really have a sweet tooth for chocolate pastries)

20180415_232035.jpg20180415_232000.jpg20180415_232104.jpgI wanted to save my Oscar’s Star for dessert so popped it into a bag to take home. While we were walking, we walked past one of those really yummy Rocky Mountain Apple places where they dip the apples in caramel and chocolate and cover it with hundreds and thousands or cookie pieces. Nathan was desperate for the bathroom so I hovered around the apples while he found somewhere to pee.

He seemed to take forever but by the time we met up again, Nathan told me he’d found the world famous Gum Wall.
I actually didn’t even know anything about this but Nathan said he’d seen pictures of it on Facebook before.
It’s officially called the Market Theater Gum Wall and it’s basically a brick wall covered in used chewing gum. Nice huh?
If you’re ever in Seattle, it’s in an alleyway located in Post Alley under the Pike Place Market. Great place for picture taking as the colours really stand out!


After a quick photo stop for Nathan at ‘The worlds tallest man’, we signed up to the Seattle Bicycle app called OFO. Basically you sign up with your credit card and scan a bike that you want to use with your phone. It unlocks the bike for you and you can ride it around the city for however long you like. It was really cheap too, I’m pretty sure the first 30 minutes were free and then it was like $5 or something after that.


On our tour that morning, we had driven past the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (which is like a small museum) where you can find out how much your weight is worth in gold.
It’s free to enter so we biked there on our bikes (of course) and had a look around. Nathan really just wanted to weigh himself but of course we read a little bit about the Klondike history etc….
I think in the end, Nathan’s weight in gold came to just over $1. Haha, just kidding. I can’t remember how much he was worth.

Before we headed home for the afternoon, Nathan mentioned we should grab something to eat as we hadn’t had lunch yet. Deep down we were both probably thinking we’d love to go back to The Cheesecake factory as they’re open for lunch too, however we thought we’d look at some other little cheap eats around town.
In the end, we just decided “Whatever! This is our first time here, lets just go to The Cheesecake Factory!”
Haha. You can tell we really explore each city we’re in….

As we knew that weekend was just full of consuming calories, we biked to The restaurant (up-hill may I add) and burnt off maybe just our entree from the night before…
I was actually a little embarrassed going back to the same place we were just in 24 hours beforehand but we didn’t think the people who worked there would remember us.
I had a quick look around for our waiter from the night before and he wasn’t there so we were safe! Or so I thought.
Suddenly I hear a “Oh welcome back!” from our waiter from the previous night.
He remembered us because apparently we left such a generous tip and he never got to say thank you. (We think he went on his break so someone else collected the bill the night before)
Just seeing how happy he was made me realise how much of a difference a decent tip makes to people who work in the service industry so I’m happy that we did.

We toned it down a little this time with me ordering the Nachos and Nathan got the Quesadilla.


After stuffing our faces for one final day, we paid our bill and walked back to our hotel to collect the car.
Before we left the city, we thought we’d stop and get some Gas, however! As soon as we started the car again it wouldn’t turn on.
Like I mentioned earlier, it needed a new battery!
I had a slight panic and thought we’d be stuck in Seattle overnight. Thankfully it ended up working after a few tries.
I don’t even know what would happen if we actually got stuck there. Like our car is insured in British Columbia but does anyone know if they would tow you car all the way from Seattle back to Vancouver?
I’d bloody hope so with the $200 we pay each month for insurance!!

The drive home was pleasant. A little boring but I kept Nathan entertained with my fabulous Spotify Playlist, plus we broke up the trip with a classic stop at Walmart.
We even got some lamps for the bedroom!! (I’d been looking to buy lamps for ages)
It was kind of a gamble though because we couldn’t actually open the box to see what colour lampshades they were. The box said they were a cream colour (which would have gone perfectly with our comforter set) but when I had opened a different box of a different brand, the lampshade did NOT look anything like what was on the front picture.
I took my chances anyways and I’m so glad I did because now I have four pretty lamps scattered around the house that match 🙂


Now it’s the beginning of June and I’ve officially been in Canada for nearly 5 months.
I’ll be honest, it’s defiantly been a struggle at times.
The money here isn’t that great (for me anyways) and even though Nathan gets paid way more than what he did back home, the cost of living makes it so we’re not actually saving that much money.
If anyone is thinking of moving to Vancouver, don’t come here expecting to make money and buy a house or anything. You come for the experience and the close proximity to other places in the USA and Central America to travel to.
I think I’ll write a post at some stage about the pro’s and con’s of living in Vancouver and the steps to take to start a life here – just for any Kiwi’s thinking of making the big move 😉

Thanks for reading!!



Vancouver Update!

You can tell I’ve been busy as I haven’t uploaded a post in quite a while!
This whole ‘settling into a new country’ thing actually takes up quite a bit of time.
When I first got here and was staying at the hostel, I was doing so many activities or meeting new people that I found it really hard to sit down and write about my experiences!

Streets of the city Downtown

However you can now officially call me a Vancouveriette, or maybe one in training!
I’m still getting to know the area but I don’t need to use Google Maps for a lot of things. I know the three SkyTrain routes and where they go, I can even drive to some places without any help – yay! 🙂

I also now have a place to call home.
When I first got here, I pre-arranged a place to live for 2 months from the Facebook Page ‘Kia Ora Vancouver‘ (Check it out if you’re a New Zealander wanting to come live in Vancouver)
I sub-leased a room from a Kiwi guy who was going away for work at the end of January. As I arrived in Jan, I spent the first couple of weeks at the Samesun Hostel and then moved into my new place later on that month. (living with two Irish guys).

My first home in Vancouver!

The houses here are so big.
The room I first moved into was quite small (paying around CAD$750 a month) but one of the Irish guys ended up moving out so I moved into his room which was a bit bigger which was nice.
As Vancouver has such a housing problem, most houses actually have more than one family living in them. In the house I moved into, we occupied all of the upstairs however there was one guy living downstairs on the left hand side and what I assume was a lady on the right hand side. (I never ever saw her but they had cat curtains so I assumed it was a lady)
Funnily enough, you never run into each other because each renter has their own separate entrance. There’s doors that connect to the inside of the house but they’re completely blocked off so you wouldn’t be able to just walk into someone’s living room. Crazy to think one house has like three separate kitchens!

Area around where I work

I was pretty organised and got myself a job before I arrived here.
Once I’d explored Vancouver for a few weeks and moved into my new place, I begun working for the same Travel Agency I used to work for back home.
Luckily I got a week of training beforehand because even though we use the same flight booking system as back home, the quoting system and a few other things were completely different! I honestly felt like it was my first day all over again.
Even now, I’ve been there for about 2 months and I still don’t know so many things. The travel market is so different here too. Most people wait till the last minute to book things and so many people go to Mexico for ‘All Inclusive’ packages!
Back home, Fiji, Rarotonga and Australia were the top destinations I always sold, I’d never even sent someone to Cancun or Puerto Vallarta until recently.

Vancouver is such an awesome experience – but how do people ever go away on holiday here??
From what I understand, Canadians only get 2 weeks annual leave a year. (Back home it’s 4 weeks) however I was lucky enough that my company ‘transferred’ my employment over from NZ so I end up getting 3 weeks leave as I’ve ‘been’ with the company for over a year which makes me entitled to more.

20180329_161153-1.jpgIf you follow me on Instagram or read any of my Facebook/IG stories, you probably have noticed that my boyfriend moved over to be with me in Canada!!

I did feel bad for leaving him – as in cried my eyes out and didn’t want to leave on my final day in New Zealand. However, I knew that if I didn’t do this I’d always regret it. I’ve always wanted to live overseas at some stage in my life and I didn’t want to look back and wish I took the chance while I still could.
I’m glad he ended up coming. To be honest, if I didn’t make the move first, we’d still be sitting at home saying “one day we’ll go here or there….” so it was up to one of us to make the first move 🙂

When he first arrived, we lived at the flat for about a month until we could find our own place.
It wasn’t the warmest for our first few weeks in Canada. It even started snowing but it left as quickly as it came.


About to catch the bus to work when it first started Snowing

As I had to be out of the flat I was in by April the 1st, we started looking for somewhere to live in March. Finding somewhere to live is actually really hard, luckily for us we got the first place we applied for!
It was a bit out of our budget but I’m so glad we chose it.
We live in this beautiful house in a really nice area. We’re literally just down the road from the mall and only a 8 minute walk to the Skytrain. Instead of me taking a bus and a train to work like I used to, I just take the train and it takes me about 15 minutes on a good morning.20180420_154551.jpg
The house is a bit deceitful in that picture haha! We actually don’t occupy the whole thing, We live downstairs in what they call a ‘basement apartment’
Our landlords live in the main house with their 2 teenage children and me and Nathan live downstairs. We have our own entrance, 2 bedrooms, kitchen & lounge area and our own bathroom 🙂
Even though it’s a basement, we have natural light coming through and both the bedroom’s and living area have windows. We even have our own mailbox and recycling schedule so we’re pretty separate from the people upstairs!
We’ve lived here for about a month and I’ve only seen the owners like twice! They’re either really really quiet or I just come home from work too late haha.

Before we found a place, we also bought a car.
Our first big purchase together!
Don’t even get me started on how much it costs to own a car here….let’s just say we pay what the car is worth in Insurance per year. If Nathan ever runs into someone I will strangle him myself.

First Car, just a cheeky little Ford Escape to get us from A – B

When we moved into our place, we literally had nothing but a few suitcases full of our clothes and personal items. The good thing about rentals here is if you get a good one, they’ll already come with the oven, fridge, (sometimes microwave) and washer/dryer.
As our place is relatively new, all the appliances are nice and in great working order, we just had to buy our own bedroom and lounge furniture which has definitely been the most expensive purchases so far.
Screenshot_20180401-145158.jpgWe splashed out and spent nearly $2,000 on a mattress, bed frame and bed-side tables but we got our couch second-hand from a girl in Vancouver for like $400.

When we moved in we didn’t actually have a bed as it was going to be delivered to us 3 days after our move-in date. (We were planning to just sleep on the couch) however when we went to pick up the couch, the girl was moving out and had a spare bed that she ended up giving to us for like $50. Thank god she did because our bed ended up taking 2 weeks to arrive!!

When the bed eventually arrived and we got it all set up we realized we ordered a bed that was far too big. As in it’s incredibly high!!!
It literally comes up to my hips and I have to do a little jump to get into bed every night.
Nathan and I thought it was funny until the first night when we couldn’t sleep because it honestly felt like we were sleeping in the sky or something haha. I don’t know how to describe it but it was such an un-settling feeling.
When the people from the furniture store called me about delivering the second bed-side table (which we hadn’t received yet) I asked if we could swap the box base of the mattress because that’s what was making it so high and they said yes but they were going to charge us!
I ended up pretty much yelling at the girl saying that the bed was stupidly high and they shouldn’t be charging us a delivery fee of $100 as the bed took bloody 2 weeks to arrive in the first place. For all they knew we were sleeping on the floor!
In the end, they just agreed to deliver it free along with the second bed-side table but now it’s been a week and…..I kind of like the high bed.
I’m so ashamed now. I think i’ve gotten used to it and it’s so much easier to make the bed in the morning without having to bend down. PLUS, it’s the best height to fold clothes at because it’s literally at arm level. Not to mention I talked to one of the girls at work and she said it’s  completely normal for beds to be that high here! Woops…

Anyways, apart from that we’ve got pretty much everything sorted for our place.
The only thing we desperately need are drawers! We had originally purchased them with our bedroom set but they didn’t fit in the bedroom.
(The bedrooms can only really fit a bed and bed-side tables)
The closet’s are good sizes but we really really need some drawers that can go inside them so we can put away our underwear and workout pants etc – pretty much everything you can’t hang up, It’s really frustrating still having suitcases with clothes in them and trying desperately to find socks in the morning.
Oh well….I’m sure a perfect set of drawers are just waiting to be bought at Walmart haha!

In some more interesting news, Nathan and I went to Seattle last weekend.
Nathan plays for a rugby team here in Vancouver and they were versing a Seattle team so we took the drive down on Saturday and stayed the night at a hotel in the city.
Even though it was only for the weekend, it was really good to get away and have a weekend where we could hang out and see a new place together that we’d never been to. I won’t say too much about what we did (because I want to write a separate blog post about our Seattle adventure) but we had fun!
Not to mention the shopping was great. And here I was thinking Vancouver had a good Walmart…


I’m really loving it here in Vancouver. There’s still so much else of Canada that we need to explore, it’s just finding the time to do it all!
When I started late one morning I decided to explore the area of where we lived. We’re super close to the Queen Elizabeth park which is a great place for morning walks or a visit to the observatory. As it’s Spring, all the Daffodils are in full bloom and the cherry blossoms are thriving! It’s a really pretty city at the moment.

Not to mention it’s not as cold in the mornings anymore.
I think people have this idea of Canada being absolutely freezing. I’m sure in some parts it is but you really don’t notice it unless you work outside like my poor boyfriend does!


The thing I love about Vancouver is everywhere is heated!
When you walk into your house it’s so warm because pretty much everyone has central heating or pipes underneath the floor. Even in Winter if you can’t afford your hydro bill they won’t cut off your heating until it gets warmer so you won’t freeze from the cold.
I hear Summer here is pretty great so I’m looking forward to that.
I would absolutely love to stay longer than 2 years (as that’s all my Visa allows) however the type of job I have doesn’t allow me to apply for permanent residency. (It’s quite a complicated process but you need to be a ‘skilled worker’ to apply for PR). Funnily enough my boyfriend is considered a skilled worker as a builder so he can apply and sponsor me as his spouse! I think I’d have to do a lot of greasing up for him to do that for me…


I will leave you all with some pictures of my time here so far!
If anyone has any questions about moving to Canada just let me know 🙂