Today’s interview is with Hayley, an Australian expat who is living in Austria. Hayley comes from Townsville, Australia. Following her trip to Canada back in 2013, she moved to Vancouver a month ago. She works in the hospitality sector and is a part-time journalist.
Where are you from, Hayley, and what are you doing nowadays?
I grew up in tropical Townsville, Australia and I currently live in Vancouver, Canada. I work part-time as a journalist and part-time in hospitality to keep the travel fund growing.
Why did you choose to expatriate to Canada?
When I first decided I wanted to move overseas, the choice was between Canada and the UK. Because we are all part of the Commonwealth, the visa process is pretty straightforward. My heart decided Canada sounded like a bigger adventure.
As an Australian expat, what where the procedures you had to follow to move there?
Fortunately, because both are English-speaking and developed countries, there isn’t a lot you have to do to move to Canada. Getting the IEC visa is easy once you gather your documents, and all you need is some savings ($2,500) and travel insurance for the duration of your stay in the country.
How long have you been in the country?
I have lived in Vancouver previously for 18 months between 2013 and 14. This time, I have been here for more than a month.
What has attracted you to Vancouver?
When I was first deciding where to live, it was between Toronto and Vancouver. But Vancouver’s milder weather and the fact it had been voted the world’s most liveable city sold me. I returned because this city is just beautiful and has everything you could possibly want: beaches, mountains, a thriving food and drink scene and easy access to the States.
What has surprised you the most at your arrival?
When I first arrived, I was surprised at how friendly the locals were. People say Australians and Canadians have a similar sense of humor, and I have to agree.
Was it difficult to find accommodation there?
I found it pretty hard and stressful both times, but eventually found my rooms on Craigslist. There are a lot of apartments, houses, shared rooms and basement suites for rent in Vancouver. If you live out of the city, the rent is drastically reduced. I have lived in North Burnaby twice now and it is a great area with easy public transport access into Vancouver.
What are the local labor market’s features? Is it easy for an expat to be hired there?
The first time, I tried for a month to find an office job as I was working as a PA/receptionist in Australia, but could not get an interview. Once I shifted my mindset and looked for hospitality work, I got two jobs in a matter of weeks. I’ve been working in hospitality ever since.
How do you find the Canadian lifestyle?
It is very similar to life in Australia, which I appreciate. But there is a love for nature and outdoor living here that is different to home: mountains and lakes over beaches.
Have you been able to adapt yourself to the country and to its society?
Yes, I found it pretty easy to meet people and find friends once I found my jobs.
What does your everyday life in Vancouver look like?
It is pretty similar to life in Australia: gym, work and watching TV shows in real time. But I find I am a lot more social here and hang out with my friends regularly for dinner, trivia and board game nights.
What is your opinion on the cost of living in Vancouver? Is it easy for an expat to live there?
It is hard coming from Australia because the difference in wage is dramatic. Rent in Vancouver usually includes all bills, which is a bonus, but I believe groceries and phone bills are about the same. Fortunately, I am pretty good at budgeting these days.
How do you spend your leisure time?
If I am not blogging, I can usually be found with my camera taking photos somewhere around Vancouver.
What do you like the most about Canada?
The natural beauty. It is the opposite of Australia, but just incredible.
What do you miss the most about your home country?
Usually in winter I miss the Australian summer, but I will always miss my family. Fortunately, we talk almost everyday, which helps keep the homesickness at bay.
What has motivated you to write your blog “Hayley on Holiday”? How does it help?
I started “Hayley on Holiday” after finishing my journalism degree. I wanted a place to combine my two loves: travel and writing. It usually helps me organize my feelings and acts as a life journal, which are two great things.
Would you like to give any advice to soon-to-be expatriates in Canada?
I would tell fellow expats to take it easy and give yourself a break every now and again. It will take time to settle into a new country, but you will be so glad once you find your place. Canada is a beautiful country and the people are so welcoming. You won’t regret it!
What are your plans for the future?
I have no clue, which is kind of exciting! Right now, I am just going to enjoy my two years in Canada, and come August 2018, I may stay or move onto another destination. The future is wide open.
Published by “Expat”