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Staff Stories / Canada

My Whistler working holiday

Welcome to Whistler, where work and play collide in a snow-capped paradise.

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Grab your salopettes, plaid flanny and ski goggles as we sit down with Ed, our Sales Specialist and fellow adventurer to talk all things Whistler.

For part one of this interview, Ed shares his motivations for heading overseas and his experience making friends in a whole new place. So let’s get stuck into it...

Josh: Take me back, what sparked your interest in working abroad?

Ed: It all started with my mum actually.

My mum went on a summer Camp USA program back in 1980. Throughout my entire life, she always said I needed to work abroad and that it was the best thing i'll ever do. My brother did the same thing and had an incredible experience as well.

I'm the only one in my family who skis and I absolutely love it! To find a working holiday experience that allows you to work overseas AND ski really appealed to me. It ticked all the boxes and was reason enough to head to Whistler, Canada.

Josh: Was Whistler always at the top of your list while checking out options?

Ed: I'm very much a planner when travelling, wherever I go. I make sure to do my research and know that I'm going to the place that's right for me.

Sat in my room, I was watching videos of Whistler, and people tearing it down the Blackcomb mountains and it was a no-brainer. I learnt that Whistler is consistently one of the best places for skiing in Canada and it was a huge part of hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada.

Whistler wasn’t the only place that I was looking at but anywhere you go in Canada to do a ski season is going to be absolutely insane, and the visa that you get on these programs allows you to work and travel in Canada for two years. You can work at one ski resort for a season, then spend a second season in a different city.

Josh: Had you been to Canada before this trip or was this your first time?

Ed: No, I'd never been to Canada before. I was always told that Canada is not a country you go to for two weeks. You need to commit a decent amount of time to make it worthwhile. As a 20-year-old, I didn't have the money to just go to Canada, which is why opportunities like a working holiday in Whistler are amazing.

You become a Canadian local, and experience the Canadian way of life. It's the best and you get to earn money when you're out there living your most epic life too.

Josh: What was your perception of Canada before moving?

Ed: Doing research, I watched so many videos. Something that always came up is how unbelievably friendly Canadians are, which is 100% true. Everyone's there to help you out.

Another perception from the videos I watched beforehand is that Canada is absolutely beautiful. That sentence didn’t even come close to what it was like driving through the Rocky Mountains, for example. I was absolutely mesmerized by the nature and beauty. It looks like someone is on either side of your car with a green screen and if you reach out the car window, the screen would roll up and the dream would be over.

Canada is outrageously beautiful, it felt like an honour to call Whistler and Canada home for 24 months.

Josh: How were you feeling before moving to Whistler?

Ed: Nerves were probably about 20% of it, but the excitement was the remaining 80%.

I was doing my dissertation in my final year of university. Organizing this trip and having this to look forward to at the end of the year was literally a light at the end of the tunnel. Whistler was something to look forward to, to be excited about, and to prepare for.

Yes – it is incredibly nerve-racking moving halfway around the world to a country you've never been to, but you get over that fear quickly. When arriving at the hostel, you will meet people in the first 30 seconds and be friends for the rest of the season. Everyone that heads out on a working holiday there is looking to meet new people. It's the perfect environment to make friends – lifelong friends.

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Author Ed chilling out in a hammock in Canada

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Sayers

JENZA Staff Contributor | based in Brighton, UK

Meet our Work Canada whizz Ed. When he isn't shredding the mountains or setting off on epic road trips across the Canadian Rockies – you'll find him in Brighton ready to inspire anyone he meets to pack their bags up and head to the land of maple syrup and jaw-dropping scenes.

"Everyone that heads out on a working holiday there is looking to meet new people. It's the perfect environment to make friends – lifelong friends."

Josh: Was it easy meeting people?

Ed: Yes, but you've got to be as willing to meet new people as others are. Don't sit back and hope everyone will come to you. Be the first to say hello. There are also reps from the companies and hostels who are there to help initiate conversations as everyone is arriving, usually through activity group activities.

I remember arriving at the hostel and being told, “Everyone that's going to Whistler sit on this table. Everyone that's going to Banff here and Jasper here.” Now you’re sat at this table with about 12 other people from around the world (Australia, New Zealand, the UK, etc.) who are all ready for the same experience as you.

It’s like, “Oh, you're going to Whistler too? Where are you working? No way! I'm working in the Westin Hotel as well!” Great, automatic friendship sorted. Boom – there you go. The people that I met through this experience are the best people ever and I know I’ll be in contact with them for the rest of my life.

Josh: Exactly. Everyone's in the same boat and recognizing that makes it much easier to connect and make friends. That being said, if someone needed a few words of encouragement to make the decision and work abroad in Whistler, what would you tell them?

Ed: OK, the opportunity to go to Canada on an IEC visa is something you can only do until the age of 30 (or 35 for AU/NZ). If you’re thinking about Whistler, or Canada in general, now’s the time.

If you decide not to do this, later on in life you might come to a point where you change your mind and the opportunity won’t be there. Do this while you’re young and have these adventures that will shape the rest of your life. You go abroad then come back and think, “I'm going away as soon as I have the money to do another experience like this.”

If I could give advice to someone considering Whistler, it's to take any opportunity to do it. It will be the best money, the best time, the best effort you will ever spend on anything.

Josh: I'm so glad to hear all of this.

Ed: Josh, you're an incredibly lucky man to call Canada home.

If that's hit you in the feels and made you want to book a flight to Canada ASAP - head over to our Work Canada page for all the info on how to make your working holiday dreams come true.

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Author Ed chilling out in a hammock in Canada

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Sayers

JENZA Staff Contributor | based in Brighton, UK

Meet our Work Canada whizz Ed. When he isn't shredding the mountains or setting off on epic road trips across the Canadian Rockies – you'll find him in Brighton ready to inspire anyone he meets to pack their bags up and head to the land of maple syrup and jaw-dropping scenes.

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Been inspired to take it on the road? Bar the flights and arranging your leaving do, our team do everything you need to get there. From helping you set up an overseas bank account and finding a job, to sorting your accommodation when you arrive.

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