Gap Year in Canada
O Canada! This sprawling land is filled to the brim with gorgeous landscapes, thriving wildlife, colourful Native Canadian cultures, and modern cosmopolitan cities - not to mention a language selection of English and French.
Come experience Canada - our programme offers you the chance to work and travel in Canada for up to 12 months with comprehensive support from TravelWorks and our local partner organisation.
Which requirements must I fulfil?
If you are a citizen of the United Kingdom, the following requirements apply:
- 18-30 years of age.
- A clean police background check.
- Proof of being a UK citizen, and that you have resided in the UK for the past 3 years.
- Proof of possession of sufficient funds for your first 3 months in Canada: £629 (CA$1000) per month.
- Sufficient travel/medical insurance coverage for your entire stay in Canada.
If you are from outside the UK, you can find out what requirements you need to fulfil and which nationalities are allowed to apply for a Working Holiday Visa at http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/.
Those in possession of a Working Holiday Visa may stay for up to of 12 months in Canada and can top up their travelling fund by working. It is now possible to apply for a second working holiday visa for Canada, if you have already participated in the programme once. Participants in the gap year in Canada should have good knowledge of English, show plenty of initiative and get down to work!
When can I start the programme?
The gap year in Canada programme begins year round. After you have successfully applied for the programme and the visa, you will need to inform TravelWorks at least 8 weeks in advance of your planned arrival date in Canada.
The Working Holiday Visa for UK citizens can first be applied for on the 18th January 2011.
Can I participate if Iím over 35?
For citizens of the UK, the maximum age at application is 30, but 35 is the upper age limit for some other countries. Your age upon application for the visa is what counts. After you have been issued the visa, you will have up to 12 months to enter Canada, even if you have had your 31st or 35th birthday since application.
How do I prove that I have sufficient financial means?
You will be required to prove that you have sufficient funding in order to enter Canada on a Working Holiday Visa. This proof is independent of our programme and programme costs and is a requirement of the Canadian government. A current and valid bank statement, no more than 4 weeks old, should be presented to authorities upon entry in Canada.
UK citizens are required to show proof of sufficient funds for the first 3 months of their stay. This amounts to £629 (CA$1000) per month.
Please check the website of the Canadian Embassy in your country for specific and updated information.
Should I take along a credit card to Canada?
It is not specified anywhere that you need a credit card during your gap year in Canada, but we really do recommend it. If you wish to reserve a room in a hostel or rent a car, for example, you definitely need a credit card. Visa and MasterCard are both accepted all over Canada.
Which jobs can I find in Canada?
You can take on almost any sort of job during your gap year in Canada, medical and other professional work excluded. Many participants find jobs in the hotel and restaurant business, in tourism, in supermarkets, or as harvest or farm workers. Hostels also require staff at times. The harvesting season lasts several months in Canada, depending on the region.
You have the opportunity to work for meals and accommodation on Canadian organic farms, through WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms). Membership in this organisation is included in the programme price. Our partner organisation in Canada provides a constant contact point if you have any questions. You will be taking part in an information and job workshop at the beginning of your gap year in Canada.
How much can I expect to be paid for my work?
You will mainly find yourself doing odd jobs during your gap year in Canada. These are paid at approximately 5-6 £ (9-12 US$ or 6-8 Ä) per hour. Taxes are deducted from this Ė approximately 10 - 35%, depending on your income. Our partner organisation will help you to apply for a tax number and also to open a Canadian bank account.
How does the job search actually work?
After you've applied for the gap year in Canada programme, you will receive a lot of information from us regarding your job-search:
- Where can I look for a job?
- What does a Canadian C.V. look like?
- What should I wear for an interview? etc.
You will receive further information during an information workshop. After that, itís up to you! Itís easiest if you arenít too picky when searching for jobs, and if you show a lot of enthusiasm for the whole process. You may have to take on a job that is poorly paid, boring, or demanding. Sometimes, youíll have to drive to another town to do a job, or buy special clothing (e.g. safety shoes).
Please be aware that jobs wonít fall into your lap and that you will have to show a lot of initiative and motivation during your gap year in Canada.
Do I need special vaccinations for Canada?
No particular vaccinations are required for entry into Canada. However, you should have or refresh all vaccinations that are also required in your home country (for example: polio, diphtheria, tetanus). Go to your doctor for a check-up before you depart for your gap year in Canada. The following link provides useful information and tips on the topic of vaccinations: www.masta-travel-health.com.
Where will I be living?
The first two nights in a hostel in Canada are included in the programme price. Most backpackers continue to live in hostels during the rest of their gap year in Canada. Hostels can be found throughout Canada and are meeting places for travellers from around the world.
Canadian hostels usually have a kitchen, washing machine, and recreation room. If you are staying for a while in one town, you should consider moving into a shared apartment, or finding an apartment to share with other backpackers during your gap year in Canada. If you want to travel on a really low budget, you can also camp - campsites are located all over Canada. Itís definitely worth it to take along sleeping bag, or you can always just purchase one locally!
Whatís the best way to travel?
Many backpackers use the relatively cheap long-distance coaches, such as Greyhound. We do not recommend that participants travel through Canada by hitchhiking! However, you can join other travellers and carpool during your gap year in Canada. Most youth hostels have a notice board with notes written by travellers offering a shared ride. These people are willing to take other travellers with them in return for a contribution to fuel costs.
Which additional costs will I have to pay?
Of course, the final costs for your gap year in Canada will depend heavily on your lifestyle and your selected means of travel. On top of programme costs, you will need to factor in the following expenses:
- Journey to and from Canada
- Visa payment (for UK-citizens = CA$150/ about £100)
- Accommodation, meals, transport, personal expenses of approximately 35-45 £ (US$ 60-75 or Ä 40-50) per day Ė depending on your lifestyle, how far you are travelling, and which excursions you have planned.
- Police background check
- Travel insurance
Is my driverís license also valid in Canada?
It is recommended that you have an international driverís license for Canada.
Can my friend / boyfriend / girlfriend come too?
Yes, you can state a travel partner when applying, and it will most likely be possible for you to start the programme at the same time. At the beginning of your gap year in Canada, you will stay in the same hostel and participate in the same information workshop before travelling on. However, you should be aware that it may be more challenging to find the same job or a job in the same location.
And how do I get to know people?
You will find travellers from over the world who are also seeking friends in Canada. Hostels are great meeting places for travellers, and you are sure to meet plenty of people during your travels and at your various jobs.
What luggage should I take with me?
The golden rule for backpackers is: youíll have to carry what you pack! So you shouldnít take too much baggage with you. A pair of sturdy shoes, sandals, some light items of clothing, but also a pullover and warm clothing for the autumn and winter months are important. You should also take a sleeping bag and several older pieces of clothing along for your gap year in Canada, particularly for work on farms. If you are seeking a job in catering or in an office, you should also pack some dressier clothes. Black trousers or a skirt and a white shirt or top are recommended.
What are my next steps?
If you decide to apply for the gap year in Canada programme, please apply for the working holiday visa before applying for our programme.
To apply for our programme, simply fill out the online or PDF booking form. Please note that online booking is only available with credit card payment. If you choose the PDF booking form, please print, fill in, sign and either post or fax it to us. As soon as we receive your application, we will process your booking and, if necessary, get back to you for additional information. At this point, your application is legally binding. You will also receive further information and various application forms, which need to be filled in and returned to us.