5 Great Working Abroad Opportunities For Canadians

Are you dreaming of a travel adventure? I know what it’s like. Your heart starts beating faster whenever you walk past the glossy posters in the travel agent window. You spend your time reading backpacker blogs and collections of travel writing. You are hungry for the unknown, eager to explore another world. It’s not that you don’t love our home and native land, it’s just that there is so much out there to experience and you are itching to leave Canada’s borders and see it for yourself.

According to the CBC, there are more than 2.8 million Canadians working abroad throughout the world. If you want to be one of them for a while, here are five great ideas for your big adventure.

Opportunities for Canadians Working Abroad

1. Get a Working Holiday Visa

A working holiday visa is an ideal opportunity for Canadians working abroad. Working holiday visas are designed for young people between the ages of 18 and 30 (sometimes 35) and grant them the right to live and work within their destination usually for the period of one year. You can work in any sort of job you like and although most backpackers tend to work in seasonal jobs or hospitality there are always chances to work in your chosen field too. Canadians working abroad on this type of visa can make money as they travel, so that they can have longer and more in depth experiences.

Rotorua, North Island - There are many jobs for Canadians working abroad in New Zealand
Rotorua, North Island – There are many jobs for Canadians working abroad in New Zealand

We are lucky as Canadians as we have a huge number of different countries available to us as working holiday visa options. The 25 countries you can choose from are:

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Which one of those nations inspires your travel imagination the most?

The application process is relatively simple for most of these visas, they will usually require a criminal record check, proof of sufficient funds and a completed application form. To find out the details for each specific visa, visit the immigration page for the country itself.

Also, how well do you remember your high school French? If you want to spend your summer holidays working in Europe, Canadians are allowed to work in France for 90 days without a visa. It’s a super easy option if you want to spend a few months away and work while you travel. How great would it be to spend three months working in a cafe in Paris, on a farm in Provence or at a resort on the French Mediterranean coast?

Did you know that Canadians are free to work in France for 3 months?
Did you know that Canadians are free to work in France for 3 months?

2. Teach English Abroad

If you have your undergraduate degree, love teaching and are looking for a great way to travel and get paid, why not consider teaching English abroad for a year or two?

There are many English teaching jobs out there all over the world and plenty of different recruiting agencies which will help you find a job. For example, Canadian Connection is an agency which specializes in jobs for Canadians working abroad in South Korea, but if you want to go somewhere else there are opportunities to teach English in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, China as well as many other countries in South America, Central America and Europe.

Japanese middle school students - (photo by Arria Belli)
Japanese middle school students – (photo by Arria Belli)

If you want to find out what it would be like, you can read some reviews and some stories from previous program alumni here.

Our guest blogger, Chris Mitchell, also shares his experiences teaching in Korea.

3. Work on a Boat and Sail Around the World

Some people are just born with a dream of the sea in their hearts and the thought of feeling the salt spray on their face as they navigate the waves of some far off shore fills them with an ineffable excitement.

If that is you, then did you know that you can find work on a sailboat or yacht and trade your labour for passage across the sea?

Canadians working abroad could find employment or a free ride on sailboats
Canadians working abroad could find employment or a free ride on sailboats

Even if you are a complete landlubber and have no experience, there are sometimes opportunities for Canadians working abroad where you will receive all of the basic training you need and can work for accommodation on a boat.

Where do you find a job as first mate on a round the world trip? In the olden days you would hang around the docks and wait for a boat that was ready to sail, but these days it is easier to look online.

Crewfile.com is the place to look for Caribbean sailing jobs and is mostly cruising couples who are looking for extra crew to help out. Another website is SailOpo.com, which stands for Offshore Passage Opportunities. There is a membership fee to look for jobs, but the site is well respected and offers lots of exciting boat trips.

Workaway is a super cool website which connects volunteers with amazing projects around the world and there are often positions on different types of boats.

The Nautilus Explorer, a diving yacht which is based in Richmond, BC, is hiring for a number of positions.

To get a more in depth concept of the working-on-a-boat lifestyle, read this great article on Transitions Abroad, Around the World by Sailboat by Andy Schell.

4. Outdoor Sporting Guide

So you grew up with the Alberta Rockies or the big BC wilderness as your backyard? You learned to ski before you learned to walk? You can find your way through the thickest Ontario forest with your eyes closed? Many Canadians are naturally inclined to have skills associated with the great outdoors, as we are a nation of intrepid wilderness explorers.

Guess what? Other countries have wild and rugged wilderness too and you could put your skills to good use while working abroad. You could be a white water rafting instructor in New Zealand, or lead tour groups on long distance hikes in Germany. There are hundreds of gorgeous ski resorts all over Europe, which are sure to need ski and snowboard instructors. Do you play hockey? Consider looking for work abroad as a skating instructor.

There are many exciting outdoor adventure jobs for Canadians working abroad
There are many exciting outdoor adventure jobs for Canadians working abroad

There are plenty of websites where you can get started finding outdoor sporting work around the world. Check out Season Workers for jobs in Europe. Outdoor Staff is a UK based website which also has some very exciting job opportunities. Adventure Pro and Adventure Jobs are great places to look if you are interested in working in New Zealand or Australia.

Of course, if you have a specific skill like fishing, canoeing or skiing, you can also do a more specific search for relevant opportunities for Canadians working abroad.

5. Jobs in Your Industry

If you have a qualification and experience in a job, you might already be holding your ticket to travel adventure without even realizing it. You could find an opportunity to perform your job in another country, having a travel experience while simultaneously building your career.

Do you work in childcare? Look for opportunities to work at a daycare, nursery or as a live-in nanny in your chosen country. If you have experience in natural resources, there could be amazing opportunities abroad working in coal, oil, gas and more. Australia recently went through a mining boom and needed to bring in waves of foreign workers to fill the demand, paying them excellent wages.

Coal Mine, New South Wales, Australia - Photo by Klaus-Dieter Liss
Coal Mine, New South Wales, Australia – Photo by Klaus-Dieter Liss

This option really depends on your own skills and experience, so do some research into what there is out there and start applying.

The Possibilities are Endless

So, are you inspired to travel yet? There are so many great options for Canadians working abroad that you will have no trouble finding something exciting to do in a foreign land. Once you have found your perfect opportunity, the next step is to start applying, book your flights and get packing. Have a great time!

Any Canadians working abroad out there? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.

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One Comment

  1. I’m teaching English in Thailand right now, and it’s an incredible experience! I was talking to an American friend who was applying for a working holiday visa, and she was complaining that Canadians are eligible for these visas in many more countries compared to Americans. I didn’t realize that we have so many options before she pointed it out, so it’s definitely something I’m going to consider for next year.

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