|If you're planning on moving to Vancouver in Canada, you might find some helpful tips from Barbara. She moved there from France two years ago, and makes her living in Vancouver as a French teacher. Read on to find out what she thinks about things like the cost of living in Vancouver, recreational activities that are available, and the resources she used to find a job there.
-Where were you born?
-In which country and city are you living now?
-Are you living alone or with your family?
-How long have you been living in Canada?
-What is your age?
29 years old
-When did you come up with the idea of living in Canada?
To take a break from Paris and to improve my English.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?
No, it took 4 months to get my working holiday visa.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
-How do you make your living in Canada? Do you have any type of income generated?I am a French teacher (private and school). It took me 2 weeks to find an "easy" job (coffee shop) and 2 months to find a good position in my field. I used craigslist.ca, monster.ca and workopolis.ca to find my job. Here are some good tips to find a job in Vancouver: http://2vancouver.com/en/articles/interview-tips-to-get-a-job-in-vancouver-bc
-Do you speak the local language and do you think it's important to speak the local language?Yes I do, but I had to improve my level when I arrived. This is essential to speak English if you want to find a job and settle in Vancouver. You will not be considered if you don't speak good English.
-Do you miss home and family sometimes?Yes I do, especially my family and close friends. We use Skype a lot to keep in touch, but the time difference between France and Canada (9 hours ahead) doesn't help. I miss French food, bread and wine :-)
-Do you have other plans for the future?Yes, I may move to New Zealand with my boyfriend or go back to Europe.
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?I am renting a 1-bedroom 650 sqf. apartment in Kistilano (close to Cornwal) for $1200/month (including heat and underground parking). Rents are expensive in dowtown Vancouver and in good neighborhoods like West End, Fairview, Commercial Drive and Kistilano. Real estate in Vancouver is out of control and starts to be unaffordable.
-What is the cost of living in Canada?Quite expensive especially regarding rents and food.
-What do you think about the locals?
They are friendly, laid back and love hockey games and yoga! They will easily talk to you and share a great time but sometimes it's hard to build a real friendship with them. They like foreigners and are willing to know other cultures.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Canada?
Positives: beautiful city to spend time in, tons of outdoor activities (ski, kayak, hike...), peaceful, easy to go traveling around (Seattle, Okanagan Valley, Rockies, Vancouver Island...)
Negative: Expensive, lack of culture and history. Hard to have Canadian friends.
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Canada?
Vancouver is a great city for people loving outdoors and nature. It is a good mix of urban, food and sport but I wouldn't advice the city to someone who loves big cities, parties and cutlure. Vancouver is young and has still lots to learn from fun cities such as NY, Paris or even Montreal. This is more a place to take a break, settle in with your familiy or enjoy tons of outdoors activities (ski, kayak, hike...)
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about Canada?
www.2vancouver.com: a bilingual English-French one-stop shop providing content for newcomers and immigrants coming to Vancouver
www.miss604.com: Best Vancouver blog
www.winningaway.com: an expat support and coaching company in Vancouver