"Don’t over think it, don’t panic about it, things will always work out."

I’m Jessica Richmond from the New Forest on the South Coast of England and I am currently a teacher for international students studying Customer Relations here in Vancouver.

In all honesty, I felt a bit stuck in a rut in regards to my career and life in general back in the UK and just wanted a change. I’ve always loved to travel and having done a working holiday in Australia when I was 20 I liked the idea of the IEC in Canada.

I actually chose 3 countries initially; here, Dubai and New Zealand. Various different reasons led me to choose Canada over the other two destinations, then it was a question of Toronto or Vancouver - for me the winter in Toronto looked a little too cold! Plus, I got a job offer at Cypress Mountain so that was a big deciding factor. LHR-YVR it was.

This is my first experience with BUNAC and would recommend it to anyone contemplating doing a working holiday abroad. They were my only contact so gave me a sense of security if things were to have gone wrong. Also very handy to have a friendly office you can pop in to and useful to have a postal address when you first arrive.

In my first week on the job (Cypress Mountain) I remember going for a night ski with a few house mates - having never been skiing in the evening in Europe this was a whole new experience for me. Just amazing!!

I’m 18 months into my trip here now and it’s very difficult to choose a favourite story from all my experiences so far. But maybe I would have to say living in a house with 10 other people, surviving a pandemic with them, celebrating LOTS of Birthdays, everyone hosting traditional dinners from their home countries (all around the world) and just having a fantastic time together, through all the highs and lows. Wouldn’t have been the same without them.

I have met and am still meeting so many memorable and interesting people. I love how Vancouver is so multicultural. If I had to leave Canada tomorrow then I would have to say my French boyfriend would be the one person I couldn’t forget.

I came to Canada totally alone with no connections or real plan. When I first arrived I had the initial panic of ‘have I made the right decision?’ I was staying in a hostel which I would definitely recommend as it’s such a great way to make connections straight off the bat. I met the sweetest girl Gill from Ireland on my first night here and we were both in the same boat. Still friends today and still making great memories here together!

My best insider tip is JUST DO IT. Don’t over think it, don’t panic about it, things will always work out. And if they don’t, then it wasn’t meant to be. Your home will always be waiting for you.

Lastly, yes I would absolutely do it again. Travelling gives you more appreciation for the little things in life, makes you open your eyes and be more aware of who you are as a person. It’s not always easy and certainly has its challenges, but it’s an experience I will never forget. In fact, I love it here so much I have just applied for PR in hope I can stay another 5 years! Wish me luck :)

Best of luck with everything Jessica - you can follow along with her adventures at @jessymrich and get your own adventure started today with our Ultimate Canada package.

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