We now have our own domain and hosting over at http://learninghowtobeacanadian.com/
Since our last post we’ve started doing a bit of job and apartment hunting on Craigslist.
I myself had read about a job fair being held at Forever 21 on Robson Street before leaving so thought I’d pop along as they were offering open interviews. As often trying to get a foot in the door and a chance to be seen for interview is the hardest part, I thought this would be a good opportunity and give me a good shot at a job. I did my research into the company (not that there’s a lot to say about Forever 21), chose something appropriate to wear and went along with my resume feeling pretty prepared.
However, I quickly had the wind knocked out of me, it was not at all like what I had been expecting. When I arrived there I noticed a sign in the window advertising the job fair but with no indication of where to go. Inside there was around 50+ people who all looked as lost and confused as I did. Eventually one of the managers turned up and explained that we’d each have to fill in an application form and then form a line (right down the middle of the shop) where we’d be taken in groups of four at a time for interview. Cue the dash for application forms! There was literally people everywhere, vying for any available flat surface to write on, getting in the way of customers, and being general nuisances. Is it just me or would it have been too sensible to have made these available in advance online? As if I hadn’t been put off enough by this chaos, we were then brought forward for the group interviews being held on the shop floor, in full view of customers. I have experienced a group interview situation before when applying for Primark but this just seemed totally unprofessional. To top it all off we were asked stupid questions (that I can only assume have been devised by some HR/marketing grad) like “If you had to compare Forever 21 to a fast food chain, which would it be and why?” Needless to say, the interview didn’t go well…
It’s been a very long time coming – some of you probably thought it was never going to happen (and to be honest, it did feel that way at times) – but at last, on Tuesday 9th April 2013, we landed at Vancouver International Airport! The ten hour flight passed surprisingly quickly. While Thom has experienced several long haul flights, this was my very first venture outside of Europe so wasn’t sure how I’d cope with such a long journey in a confined space. We flew with Air Transat, a Canadian carrier who offer flights at comparatively cheap rates, and we certainly couldn’t complain about the service. They were constantly up and down the plane with complimentary (non-alcoholic) drinks and even the food wasn’t bad. The only complaint was the moron sat in front of Thom who had his chair reclined the whole way (even during the meal) and also managed to wake me up after trying very hard to get some shut eye.
So we have officially made it through the application process for a one year working travel visa in Canada. Whilst stressful (and often rage inducing) at the time, we now retrospectively agree that the process is not only relatively painless but also pretty efficient.
We thought a nice first post to this new blog, aimed at documenting our experiences in Canada over the next year, would be a discussion of what to expect when applying through the new (as of 2013) online system. We both felt that instruction and information from the Canadian High Commission (CHC) was severely lacking and hope that we can provide a useful (and reassuring) guide for those applying in future.