A Kiwi Expat in Canada

Meet Tracey. A Kiwi expat in Canada.

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Where have you been living as a Kiwi expat?

I have lived in 2 different places in Canada:
Banff, Alberta
Vancouver, British Columbia

What took you there, what did you do?

I had a really good girlfriend of mine, Brooke, trying to convince me to go to Canada with her for the longest time, and I guess at the end of my winter in NZ (where I worked at Mt. Ruapehu) I caved and decided to do it!.

My love of snow and the mountains took me to Canada, my love of travel and meeting new like-minded amazing people kept me there after my season in Banff.

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While I was still living in NZ, another friend of mine introduced me to her old boss in Canada to try and sort me out with a job. We emailed back and forth, I had my phone interview and was successful in landing myself a job for winter at Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort. That took a lot of pressure off me as I knew I would have a job to walk into when I got there.

At the end of the winter, I decided to move to Vancouver because it was always a city I had admired and wanted to visit. I went there with no real plan, nowhere to live and no job or even any interviews in place. Luckily I managed to find a job within my first two weeks there!

I worked as a senior marketing and events coordinator for a hospitality company which owns bars, restaurants hostels, and liquor stores in Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

How did you find living overseas on your own – had you ever lived alone before?

At first it was really daunting, I remember arriving in Banff at about 6pm. I had my first nights accommodation booked in a hotel and it was the one time where I truly felt alone. I roamed around town to familiarize myself with my surroundings, had dinner by myself and then went back to the hotel to rest as I was starting work early the next morning.

I started work the next day and instantly made friends with other people from all over who had come to do the exact same thing as me, and after my first day at work, I knew I was going to be fine.

I found it an incredibly amazing experience. I developed new skills, made some great friends (that I’ll have for life) and proved to myself that I could move to the other side of the world (not knowing anybody) and be just fine. I think it’s always good to test yourself, it helps you grow and develop – and travelling is one awesome way to do it. You get the chance to be in new places, with new faces and experience so many different things for the first time.

Now, Canada!

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Your favourite spot/s?

• Banff, Alberta
• Vancouver, BC
• Tofino, BC
• Granville Island
• Red Mountain
• Sunshine Village

What did you miss most about home?

My friends and my family, and the people who really knew me. It can get exhausting making new friends all the time. Missing out on my nieces and nephews birthdays and seeing them grow up.

Hardest/ worst thing about living there?

The winter is FREEZING in Banff. I remember walking down Banff Avenue and it was -37 degrees Celsius and despite all of the layers I was wearing and my down jacket I was still sooo cold, right through to my core. Friends of mine boiled a kettle and threw the boiling water out of the jug into the air and it immediately turned into snow and ice!

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BEING POOR! You definitely don’t make the big bucks working in a ski town, I had to work 2 jobs so that I could afford to pay for rent, groceries, have some spending money, and attempt to have some savings.

Tipping – Knowing the right amounts to tip, having to tip for nearly everything got really annoying because you’d see the price of something at a bar or restaurant and know you would have to add 15 %– 20% on top of the purchase price just for the tip!

Best thing about living abroad?

It really is cheaper to eat overseas.

Being able to have so many awesome places easily accessible to you, Seattle was a 2 hour bus away. It was so cheap to explore the states. Being able to backpack around the states for less than $1,000. I was able to go to Mexico for 8 days on an all-inclusive trip for less than $600.

Must-do’s for first time travellers?

  • Vancouver – visit it in the Summertime! And eat LOTS, Vancouver has awesome food and restaurants, it’s a foodies dream.
  • Visit Granville Island
  • Hike Grouse Grind, for amazing views
  • Watch the sunset from Kitsilano beach

What was the best experience you had there?

Getting to experience the famous Alberta Dry Champagne snow, it is truly like nothing else in this world. It’s like your snowboarding on candy floss and flour!

Meeting my boyfriend Dave in the mountains, we’re still together now, 2 and a bit years later.

Travelling is all about the experiences you get and the people you meet. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for all the memories I’ve got from my experience in Canada.

2 Comments

  1. This is great! Canada’s west coast (particularly around the rockies and Vancouver) is supposed to be gorgeous and out-of-this-world. I’ve yet to go but this is good motivation for me, a Canadian, to finally visit that area!

    • Yes! I really want to go too! I’ve never been to Canada, but I think I’d really enjoy living in Vancouver – being right near the coast and surrounded by such beautiful places, yet still being a city I think it would be almost like Auckland, just much bigger and full of friendly Canadians!

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