Life in Vancouver for French expat Barbara

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?

France, Grenoble

-In which country and city are you living now?

Vancouver, BC, Canada

-Are you living alone or with your family?


-How long have you been living in Canada?

2 years

-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?

No, I subscribed with Globe Trotter for a year and have renewed it since.

-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, and to find my job. Here are some good tips to find a job in Vancouver:

-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? a bilingual English-French one-stop shop providing content for newcomers and immigrants coming to Vancouver Best Vancouver blog an expat support and coaching company in Vancouver

My wife and I moved from

Sanbuenaventuraman's picture

My wife and I moved from Ontario Canada to the southern zone of Costa Rica to escape the deteriorating quality of life in Canada which was caused by Canada's excessive immigration policies. As people who were born in the 40s we've seen Canada grow with moderate immigratriion from Europe up intil 1965, but we've also seen Canada going down hill since the Pearson government decided to turn to excessive immigration from the third world. I'm not saying that the immigrants brought in are bad, I'm just saying Canada has taken in too many over such a short period of time, to the point of actually destroying our health care system. The government pandering to minority groups in Canada has also become a situatiion that helped us decide to move to Costa Rica. God help the children and grandchilden we left behind.