Working Holidays in Canada and Abroad

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Info for Canadian students

Info for students from outside Canada

Canadians are lucky — for lots of reasons. For one, Canada's working holiday program, offered to youth between 18 and 35, lets Canadians experience life and work in another country, for up to two years! SWAP Working Holidays makes it easy. Eligible Canadian youth can get an open work permit, with no special restrictions, in one of SWAP's six partner countries.

Info for Canadians:

Where can I go as a Canadian?

You have your choice of six countries. Pick whichever place is most exciting to you!

  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Austria
  • Japan

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Why take a working holiday?

You should consider a working holiday if you're eager to travel, meet local people, and get work experience while you do so. You'll earn money while abroad, so you'll be able to stay longer-term than if you're just touring around. If you apply today, you could be overseas in just a few months!

If you're interested in language learning, immersion in an unfamiliar culture is one of the best ways to pick up a new language quickly. You'll be in the deep end, for sure, but you'll be swimming before you know it.

You'll also meet all sorts of interesting people! Not only locals, but fellow working vacationers, as well. You could make lifelong friends, as nothing brings people together like an uncommon, unusual, exciting experience.

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What will I do overseas?

Whatever you like! You can work in any industry, depending on your skills, interests, and experience. You can backpack, shop, eat out — whatever you would normally do when on vacation. You'll experience your host country in a way that no tourist could, and that will mean lots of day-to-day encounters with the new and unfamiliar.

Presuming you start working, you'll still be beholden to your employer, so you won't be totally off the leash, but there are few limits on what you can do on your working holiday.

You may want to try your hand at an industry that's uncommon in Canada. Here are just a couple examples!

  • kangaroo sitter
  • castle tour guide
  • bungee jump operator

Many working vacationers work in hospitality, tourism, or retail, to maximize workplace flexibility. After all, you still want lots of time to explore your new environment. Of course, if you're looking for a more traditional 9-to-5, you can find those jobs too.

You'll want to keep an open mind about possible jobs, though. Your permit lasts up to two years, and they can go by quickly! If you can't find a position in your narrow field of interest, considering broadening your scope. You'll get new experiences, and a bit of cash flow coming in.

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How can I find a job in my host country?

Local SWAP job specialists are on the scene to help you. You'll get help with your resumé and cover letter, as well as leads on job opportunities and networking connections. SWAP specialists will also get you set up with all the documents you'll need to legally work: a permanent address, a tax number, and so on. You don't need to leave anything to chance!

You should wait until you're in-country to start looking for a job, though. Participants are usually employed within a week or two of arriving, so you won't need to worry about lining something up beforehand. Your SWAP job specialist can help you avoid scams and find the right fit.

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What if I can't find a job?

With nearly a half-century of experience, having sent over 65,000 Canadians abroad, SWAP has become quite skilled at matching participants with job opportunities. So long as you keep an open mind, and you're willing to try new things, you'll have lots of opportunities. Your job specialist is ready to support you.

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Do I need to know the local language first?

Some SWAP partner countries — namely Austria and Japan — don't use English as their first language. Having basic, conversational fluency in Austrian German or Japanese is a major asset when living in these places.

As a rule of thumb, if you'd feel okay taking part in a job interview in your host country's native language, you should be in good shape to participate in a year or two abroad. Your language skills will greatly improve by the time you're done!

Having some skill in the local language will make getting to know the locals so much easier. You'll have a better sense of the culture, and will be better integrated into everyday life, if you can converse with people in their first language!

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Where will I stay when I'm abroad?

You can either source your own accommodations, or let SWAP staff find you a safe, clean, reputable hostel near the local resource centre. You'll need to cover the costs, so if you can stay with family or friends instead, go for it!

Some programs include accommodations, so be sure to give a close read to the specifics. You may not need to pay extra for lodgings at all.

How do I apply as a Canadian?

Reach out to SWAP to learn about the process. Most students apply a few months before they intend to travel — you don't have to decide overnight! If you plan on traveling within one year, you can apply to SWAP.

Once you've applied, SWAP staff will send you everything you need to know to get yourself prepared, so you don't need to get a bunch of prep done beforehand. SWAP is here to make it easy for you.

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Info for students from outside Canada:

How do I come to Canada to live and work?

SWAP also helps young people from overseas come to Canada to experience the culture and work during the summer and winter seasons. You won't have to worry about finding a position: SWAP handles all the paperwork for you. Here are a few of the Canadian industries seeking workers from abroad:

  • Ski lodges
  • Hotels and resorts
  • Restaurants
  • Retail

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Where will I stay in Canada, and where will I work?

Employers who take on workers from abroad offer staff housing, meaning you won't need to search for a short-term apartment! You'll be able to live on-site, just minutes from your job — meaning you'll have no commute, and more time to explore and discover Canada.

SWAP works with employers across the country. Here are the main sites you can choose:

As you can see, these are some of the most desirable, exciting, trendy parts of Canada. Whether you prefer the solitude of nature, or the non-stop action of city life, you'll find an option to suit your tastes.

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How do I apply to come live and work in Canada with SWAP?

Getting involved is easy. It all starts with an email!

  • 1: Email and you'll receive a Job First Application form
  • 2: Prepare a Canadian style resumé and get feedback from SWAP
  • 3: Have a virtual interview with SWAP to discuss your preferences. SWAP will forward your resumé to potential employers
  • 4: After a virtual interview, you'll receive a formal job offer from your new employer
  • 5: SWAP helps you with pre-arrival preparations, and on-the-ground orientation, so you have the support you need in Canada
  • 6: Come to Canada and have the adventure of a lifetime!

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Whether you're a Canadian going abroad, or you're from overseas, coming to Canada for the first time, SWAP Working Holidays exists to support you. Check out the SWAP FAQs for answers to common questions, and visit SWAP Working Holidays to book your adventure today!

Check out SWAP Working Holidays