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IEC 15 Months in...warts and all!

IEC 15 Months in...warts and all!

Old Jan 20th 2014, 9:29 am
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Red face IEC 15 Months in...warts and all!

Ever since a trip to Australia when I was 16, all I ever wanted to do was travel and live in another country. In fact, I think what I really always wanted was to go back to Australia. But because I had already been there, and I had a good friend from Vancouver who sung it's praises...I decided to apply for the IEC working holiday visa and check Canada out.

So in October 2012, at 27 years old, with only a backpack full of clothes to my name, I left my nearest and dearest and flew to Toronto. I made my way across to Vancouver via Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Boston, NYC and Seattle.

I was so full of excitement at what this adventure would hold, new friends, maybe meet someone special, work in an exciting job in one of the world's most beautiful cities. Maybe I would love it so much I would stay forever, this was a real posibility for me.

And then came reality! Now don't get me wrong, I have loved the past 15 months and Vancouver will always be really special to me, however I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little excited about that flight home in June. This is probably mostly the January blues talking, but here are my pros and cons of trying to make a life in Vancouver as I have experienced it:

PROS
  • Beautiful city, like no other city I have ever lived in
  • Snowboarding in the winter, beaches in the summer...lush!
  • Met some amazing people and made some amazing friends
  • Trips: Vancouver Island, Washington Pennuinsula, Portland, LA, Vegas, Hawaii, Alaska, The Rockies
  • Fun drives to the states to pick up cheap food and booze
  • People are generally pretty nice
  • Loads to do
  • Poutine!

CONS
  • The rain!
  • Besides the snow on the mountains, winters can be pretty miserable
  • Bouts of unexpected home sickness.
  • Made some good friends, but not many. I usually gather a group of friends quickly and easily in a new place, in Vancouver it's tricky
  • Difficult dating culture
  • Night life not great
  • I've ended up working in the same temp job for the past year. Difficult to break into industries
  • Groceries and alchool are expensive, compared to the UK
  • Missing friends and family more than I ever thought I would
  • Grandad ill, feels helpless being so far away

I think that this experience has taught me that I don't ever think I would move abroad on a permenant basis. However I know that when the day comes that I need to go home, I'll be crying like a baby as although it's tough, I do feel like I have some good roots down in Vancouver now. Although I do think that my next WHV will be for Oz, I think that that was always my calling, and my time in Canada has been a good little warm up!
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Old Jan 24th 2014, 4:18 am
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Default Re: IEC 15 Months in...warts and all!

Really good post!

It's refreshing to hear from someone who is on an IEC visa who has decided that they don't wish to live in another country permanently and have made that decision.

Definitely have to agree with you about poutine though!

I know that we have spoken on another thread about the dating culture but I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on why you thought it was tricky in Van to make new friends, although I can see from the pros section that you have made some good friends?
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Old Jan 24th 2014, 6:37 am
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Default Re: IEC 15 Months in...warts and all!

What a great update. Glad you gave it a go (isn't that what life's about) and all the best in your upcoming adventures, wherever they make take you!

PS Heard about the abysmal Vancouver dating scene courtesy of Lychee and ExKiwiLass already
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Old Jan 24th 2014, 7:03 am
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Default Re: IEC 15 Months in...warts and all!

Hey guys,

Re: the whole social/dating/friend scene. I'd heard about this before I came out and I honestly thought that it must be nonsense, and that people just weren't trying. Now I have egg firmly planted on my face

There have been so many articles written on the potential reasons for this, and everyone has a theory...but there hasn't really been any solid conclusion yet.

Most of my friends here are travellers, or are from other parts of Canada or the US. However I do have a couple of Vancouverite friends, and even they aknowledge this weird phenomenon, and can't offer an explanation. People from Vancouver tend to socialise within their high school friend circle, and most of them will end up marrying someone they've known from childhood. My few friends that I have who are from the city are people who have travelled themselves and so are more inclined to reach out. And generally this attitude is reflected the dating scene...

When I arrived here, one of my main goals was to integrate with the locals, and try not to fall into the trap of hanging out with mostly travellers. Is that more egg?

I'm not saying that I'm super-socialble or anything, but usually by default I end up with a sizable crew of people to hang out with. I love my friends here, and I have met some unforgettable people - however we are a fairly small group, and when everyone leaves in the next year or so, the very thing that made this experience so special will be gone.

Everyones experience is different, but this one seems to fairly common amoungst people who have been here a while.

Check this article out for an idea of some of the 'theories' that are out there!
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/who...280/story.html

beckiwoo - I think I saw somewhere that you have been to Van before? Just on vacation? Don't let any of my observations put you off, like I say everyone is different and I wouldn't change my time in Van for anything
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Old Jan 24th 2014, 7:11 am
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Default Re: IEC 15 Months in...warts and all!

The above article is part of a 5 part series on social insolation in Vancouver by the Vancouver Sun (the fact that Vancouver's largest newsprint decided that the issue warranted a 5 part series speaks for itself!), but I also found Part 2 pretty informative on this issue:

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/who...173/story.html
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Old Jan 24th 2014, 7:45 am
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Default Re: IEC 15 Months in...warts and all!

told you :razz:

I would say this phenomenon extends into the family years. Most of my parent friends from kid's school are originally from somewhere else, not Vancouver. the ones who grew up in our neighbourhood all stick together - their kids socialize together - I guess you could call them cliquey but there's enough newcomers that it doesn't really matter, luckily.

some locals have a theory that it's due to all the immigration in the past decades that locals have tended to stick together more and more.

on the flipside, like I said, there are lots of people from other places. I wouldn't even bother with the locals, just concentrate on the newbies.

Last edited by ExKiwilass; Jan 24th 2014 at 7:48 am.
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Old Jan 24th 2014, 12:16 pm
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Default Re: IEC 15 Months in...warts and all!

Originally Posted by mazmataz

beckiwoo - I think I saw somewhere that you have been to Van before? Just on vacation? Don't let any of my observations put you off, like I say everyone is different and I wouldn't change my time in Van for anything
Yeah I was in Van for a week last year for a holiday. I met a couple of Canadians at the beaver bar that had been born and raised in Saskatchewan and moved out to BC and they were friendly, I have kept in touch with one of them but apart from that is was mainly Aussies and Brits. I have been to Toronto as well but it was a different experience as I wasn't on my own and integrated with my partner, at the time and his friends, so I can't distinguish between the places.

I'm just hoping that by joining some clubs (boarding, surfing) and meet up groups that I can get a variety of friendship circles as well as travellers like myself and if it doesn't work out in Vancouver then I'll head somewhere else.

I think your going to love working and travelling around Oz, I have always found the Australians super friendly inside and outside of their country.
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Old Jan 30th 2014, 12:23 pm
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Default Re: IEC 15 Months in...warts and all!

RE: Dating scene, i don't think it's just Vancouver

I've been out with a few girls here in Calgary, and there's just something weird that I can't put my finger on about Albertan girls...maybe its just been "luck" that they've all been born and raised in AB?
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