How I spent the best time of my life in Vancouver

Hi everyone, my name is Anna. I am 21 years old and I spent the last three months in Vancouver. Going there was a rather spontaneous decision on my behalf because I wanted to get away for a little while. To be honest, Canada was not a conscious choice and more of a where-ever-my-organization-takes-me one. In the end, working with INTERNeX was a lucky coincidence.

My current home is in Berlin, Germany and I am doing my Bachelor in education. My main
reasons for going abroad were work experience and taking a break from studying. INTERNeX
found me a spot at a lovely preschool in Vancouver together with a homestay for the time being. Mainly, I assisted in supervising the children and all the other tasks that come up, e.g. laundry, dishes, clean up. The preschool I volunteered at is an inclusive one where classrooms consist of children with and without disabilities and/or special needs. Even as a volunteer I still needed organizational skills, patience, diligence and creativity. I loved that I didn’t have to be too strict but instead got the opportunity to play with the kids and experience their joy in learning new things. I consider myself very lucky to be able to work with colleagues who gave me a lot of freedom in getting to know the kids and how to best handle my work. Generally, everyone welcomed me with open arms and always stood by my side with advice and helpful words.

Spending three months in a different country is a bold decision. Nonetheless, I made that one very easily. I have wanted to go abroad for a few years now and finally took my chance. I knew that living in a homestay would never be the same as living at home. For me, that was exactly the point though — experiencing a different culture, living situation and work environment. It also sometimes means that not everything will work out perfectly. Problem solving is definitely a quality everyone should expect to use during that time.

Vancouver is a very diverse city with many possible activities. Downtown and also the rest of the city provide many opportunities for going out to restaurants, bars, clubs and activities like bowling, golfing, shopping or movies. Its location on the west coast of Canada means that there are several beaches with access to the Pacific Ocean. There is also a lot of nature to be found in Vancouver and surrounding areas. Many parks like Stanley Park or Queen Elizabeth Park are right by the city. Just an hour outside of downtown you can find forests and mountains which can be walked or hiked on numerous trails. Lastly, further up north are several snow topped regions during winter. Especially outdoor-lovers have a plethora of possible activities right next door. Personally, I loved the togetherness of all of those things. I could go out for drinks and dancing on Saturday and then meet friends for a hike on Sunday. The diversity of people living in Vancouver means that there are lots of choices concerning food, music and entertainment.

Additionally, INTERNeX provides students with at least two outings per week. On Wednesdays
there is always pub night, allowing people to meet and connect with each other and make plans for the weekend. Moreover, there is usually a weekend activity. In the past, those included fashion and art events, festivals, hikes, movie nights or sports events. During my time there we also took two weekend trips to Whistler and Sasquatch Mountain. All of those opportunities made it so much easier to make friends and find people with common interests. Without that I wouldn’t have met so many people my age that were as willing as I was to go out and do stuff. I have spent many nights laughing, dancing and having a great time with amazing people.

Let me tell you, INTERNeX makes it really easy to take part in excursions to see Vancouver and find people you like. I encourage everyone to spend some time abroad. I gained more work experience, learned many new skills, got even more independent and found a confidence I didn’t have before. I would do it all over again and stay longer if I could. So be brave and take that step!

All the best

What to do on the weekend?

Guess what? INTERNeX is going to Vancouver Island 🎉and we’re beyond excited! On our trip we’re visiting Tofino and Victoria.  One thing’s for sure it’s not going to be boring. First we’re going to take the ferry over to Tofino – maybe we’re lucky enough to spot whales and dolphins. When we arrive in Tofino we’ll discover rainforests, waterfalls and giant trees. On the second day everyone can decide themselves if they want to join one of the tours (e.g. whale and bear watching, kayaking, surfing) or just enjoy the day in town, maybe check out some cute coffee or souvenir shops. If the weather allows it we’re going to have a beach campfire, of course with lots of marshmallows and a lot of stories from the recent days. On day three we’re heading to Victoria where we can enjoy the beautiful harbour by night. On our last day we’re going to stroll through the city and visit the most popular sights of Victoria. In the evening we’re going to take the ferry back to Vancouver. So stay tuned for our blog post on Monday to see how it went!

If you can’t join the trip to Vancouver Island there are still lots of things you can do, for example visit the Shipyards Night Market in North Vancouver. You can discover local treats and artisan businesses and maybe find something you never knew you needed. 😉 After your shopping tour on the market you can go through the variety of food offered there. While you’re eating you’ll be entertained with live music and you can even get some drinks in their beer garden. The Shipyards Night Market is right in front of the SeaBus station at Lonsdale Quay which – by the way – gives you an amazing view of the Vancouver skyline.

Our next recommendation is going mini golfing. You can practise this activity whether the weather is good or bad. There are outdoor Mini Golf yards e.g. at Hastings Street, Keefer Street or Seymour Boulevard. For the indoor Yards there is one in Elmbridge Way which is kind of cool because it’s black light Mini Golf. This activity starts at 6 CAD and you could combine it with some drinks or snacks as well. 🙂

We hope you’re enjoying your weekend as we’ll do 🙂

Anna & Chiara 🙂

New ‘Kids’ on the Blog

We’re so excited to welcome 6 new members to our ‘little’ INTERNeX family this week!

Here’s Nicolas (he/him) from Munich in Germany who’s going to volunteer in the field of Marketing for the next three months. He’s already been in Vancouver for a year of studies but couldn’t get enough which is why he’s back, very understandable if you ask me. He said he had the best time of his life here and a bunch of his friends are still around so he thought he’d come back before going to visit his family in Greece for a few months and starting to study Economics right after. We have a real Vancouver expert amongst us, so if you ever need recommendations you know who to ask. 😉 His favourite thing is hanging out at the beach, either English Bay, Kits, or Jericho. However, his first impression of Vancouver wasn’t really good. Upon arrival he had to go into quarantine for a few days and his luggage arrived delayed. The student accommodation was pretty bad he explains, but the people around him made his experience perfect in the end. I think that’s the key, it’s all about the people. This time only one thing is really on his bucket list: Clubbing. Last time he wasn’t old enough to enjoy Vancouver’s night life to the fullest, but that changed, so if you plan a night out, let him know. 😉 Aside from going out Nicolas likes to play soccer, travel and listen to music. Fun fact: His favourite memory from Vancouver was seeing skunks in the city. I admit they’re pretty cute, but I would keep my distance just in case. 😀

Alexa (she/her) from a place close to Hamburg in Germany will volunteer for three months in Marketing, mainly handling social media channels and planning events, how exciting! Before coming here she worked in an office and afterwards she plans on studying Business in Hamburg. Alexa has family in Canada, mainly in Alberta, but she’s never been there. On her bucket list she set it as a goal to maybe visit them, but she’s not sure how it will work out in the end. That’s one reason why she always wanted to come to Canada and I mean who wouldn’t? I’d love to have family here that I could visit anytime. 🙂 Her first impression of Vancouver is that people are very warm and friendly and that the city looks like in the movies. I’m not surprised considering a lot of series and movies were filmed here, even though they claim to take place in the United States. If you’re a movie lover I recommend looking into what movie scenes were filmed here in Vancouver. It’s super fun to find out and look for the places, plus you’ll get to know the city better through it as well. Her hobbies include playing the piano, cooking and baking traditional German dishes with her grandma and watching soccer. Her favourite team is Liverpool, and hereby the discussion is opened. 😉

Next up is Sophie (she/her) from Germany as well, but close to Frankfurt. She’s going to volunteer in HR for the next seven weeks. Back home she studies Business and plans on continuing once she’s back home. Contrary to Nicolas, Sophie has never been to Canada before but she heard so many good things about it that she wanted to come check it out, especially the nature.:) And so far Vancouver hasn’t disappointed, the people are friendly, the city is nice and the food is really good she says. She doesn’t have a bucket list for her short time here, she just wants to meet people, make new friends and see as much as possible from Vancouver and the surrounding nature. I believe that’s a good way of spending time here. Maybe you can tell her your favourite place to go to, or your must-do’s so she can get inspired. One thing’s for sure, it doesn’t get boring in BC! In her free time Sophie likes to ride horses and to go travel. 🙂

Let’s introduce you to Laura (she/her) from Germany, near Mainz. She’s going to volunteer at an organization that helps people who can’t afford lawyers to access one for little or no money. She’ll be taking calls and talk to customers, trying to find out if she really wants to study law once back in Germany. Right now she just graduated from High School and wants to use her free time to travel which is another reason why she’s here with us. At first she wanted to do an exchange High School year in the United States but Covid wiped out that opportunity for her. She’s been to the States before and thinks Canada is a bit similar but also has its differences which is why she picked it for her current journey and so far she has no regrets. When her plane landed she saw the mountains and it got her excited. She compared it to New York and says Vancouver is quite the opposite with all its nature around which makes it really beautiful. She wants to take everything as it comes and has no fixed plans on her bucket list, one thing she’ll explore this week is Vancouver Island and I’m really excited for her! It’s going to be an amazing trip! What a great way to start your adventure here. 🙂 In her free time Laura not only likes to travel, but she’s also a dancer (modern) and loves to bake. She has no favourite recipe but rather likes try out new things and challenge herself. 🙂

Another new ‘Kid’ is Ibrahim (he/him) also from Germany. He lives in Bremen but was born in Turkey. In Vancouver he is going to volunteer at a cat sanctuary. His children love cats and as soon as he is back home they want to get one. That’s the reason why he decided to volunteer in this field. Ibrahim wants to learn more about those cute animals so he’s prepared for their furry soon to be family member(s) 🐱. What a great way to approach this! He decided to go to Canada because he wants to gain international experience and improve his English skills which will help him find a well suited job in the future. Last time he spoke English was 6 years ago but I can tell he speaks really good English and doesn’t need to worry about it. 🙂 Another reason why he decided to go to Vancouver was because his brother is currently in Japan and so Ibrahim wanted to see the other side of the world. 😀 As soon as he’s home, he wants to work as a mechanical engineer. His first impression of the city was that the people are very nice and helpful. He will join us on the Vancouver Island trip which is definitely a great start to his journey here! We are looking forward to it! Besides that he wants to see the typical sights of Vancouver and discover beautiful known places. In his free time he likes to play soccer and volleyball which I can highly recommend doing at the beach! Anyone down for another match?

Please welcome Alina (she/her) from near Cologne in Germany to our INTERNeX fam. At home she loves to play with her dogs which is one of the reasons why she”ll be volunteering at an Animal Rescue Centre, she’s an absolute animal lover! She decided  to come to Vancouver because she wants to work with animals, gain some international experience and because it was always a big dream of hers to go abroad to North America. We’re happy she made that dream come true. 🙂 She already received her High School diploma and did an internship at a hospital for her later studies. After her time in Vancouver she wants to study medicine – but not as might be expected for animals, she wants to study medicine for humans. Her first impression of Vancouver is that it’s amazing, overwhelming and beautiful all at once. Luckily she arrived here with stunning weather – we want that weather back! ☀️On her bucket list are many things, especially the sights of Vancouver including UBC, Granville Island Public Market, but also places further away like Vancouver Island (she’s attending our weekend trip, so the first point of her list is almost completed;)) and Seattle. Her hobbies include going to the gym, roller skating, reading, especially medical novels and of course playing with her dogs. 🙂 

We’re excited to have so many new ‘kids’ with us for the summer and can’t wait for you to meet them at Pub Night! 🥳


Anna, Chiara & Laura

New ‘Kids’ on the Blog

Today there are three new kids that we’d love to introduce to you.

Our first new ‘kid’ is Marcus (he/him) from Portsmouth, England. He is a fresh graduate in Geography and International Politics. He’ll be volunteering for 2 months at an Organization that is focused on Community Service including helping people who want to immigrate to Canada. One of his tasks could be helping people with their visa application which he’d love to do. He decided to go to Canada because of the stunning place and lovely people- as we all agree. Also there are some similarities to his home like the language. His first impression was that Vancouver is massive as well as multicultural. After volunteering he’ll try to find a job in the Rockies which is also one point on his bucket list. Other than that he wants to visit Toronto and some other cities/ places. He wants to take it as it comes. One thing we think he shouldn’t miss out on is Vancouver Island. Luckily we’re going on a trip there soon 😉 After his time abroad he wants to work in England which is also a reason why he wants to gain international work experience in Canada. In his free time he likes to play soccer and travel around the world. His goal for being abroad is getting new hobbies, especially outside. What are your favourite things to do outside in Vancouver? There’s so many to choose from, we’re sure he’ll find at least one. 🙂

The next candidate is Theodor (he/him) – but you can call him Theo – from Hamburg in Germany. He’s been in Banff for 5 months where he did housekeeping as part of his Work and Travel Program. Now he wants to do something different for the last 2 months of his stay in Canada and thought about coming to Vancouver. Before his journey over here he graduated High School in Germany. Once he’s back in Germany he wants to study Engineering. A reason why he picked Canada is that 2-3 years ago his family hosted an exchange student from this beautiful country and he had never been here by himself, so the exchange student who became a friend persuaded him to choose Canada for his time abroad. His first impression was that Canada is very cold (he arrived here in December). On his Bucket list is just Vancouver Island so far, since his mom has been here before and recommended him to go. Other than that he’d like to go with the flow and see what’s to explore. Good thing we’ll have lots of cool things going on with INTERNeX😎. He loves snowboarding & skiing (he was able to do this during last months in the Rockies). Further, he loves cycling and swimming – we recommend the parks and the beaches in Vancouver for that. What is your favourite park & beach here in Vancouver to swim?

Last but not least we’re introducing our new ‘kid’ on the blog David (he/him). He is 27 years old and comes from Würzburg, Germany. He worked as an engineer for 9 years in Germany and now wants a little change in his life including location and people. In Canada he’ll be doing Work and Travel for at least one year but he is ready to extend his journey if he likes it (we’re sure he will 🤩). He hopes to find jobs as an engineer but he is also open to other jobs. He is also really flexible with switching the location, e.g. if he finds an appropriate work in another city than Vancouver like Toronto or the Rockies, he might move there. David just wants to see how and where it goes. As soon as he arrived in Vancouver he was so impressed with how close the mountains are to the big city. This brings us to his hobbies. He definitely loves the mountains, especially hiking and skiing. Other than that he likes cycling and recently he tried out climbing which he would love to get more into. So if anyone wants to go climbing and needs some accompaniment, feel free to contact David 😉 His Canada trip starts with going to Vancouver Island, which is on his bucket list. He already booked the whole vacation including the accommodation. Fun fact: We are going to do a similar trip at the same time and we’re staying at the same hostel in Tofino, so we hope to see him there! 😉. So far David doesn’t have a plan about what he’ll do after his time abroad. He wants to enjoy his time here and learn more about people, culture and working in Canada.

We all know Pub Night is a great opportunity to get together and meet new people and cultures 🙂

We hope to see you there! ☺️

Anna & Chiara 🙂

How was the weekend?

This past weekend INTERNeX went to Art Vancouver and it didn’t disappoint. We started by gathering at the Convention Centre where the event took place. Inside we saw lots of exhibitors with their unique art pieces. It was amazing to see so many different styles and motives from nature, to neon and glitter, to portraits, places, photography, details, sculptures, simple structures, abstract art, to different textures. The artists were mostly sitting near their work which made it easy to ask questions about their process, journey and art. They were super open and loved to answer all of our questions, we even got invited to stay at one artists house in Zimbabwe. 😉 I enjoyed the diversity and the Programme the show offered. We listened to a very interesting Panel Talk about AI Art, found out that AI is actually over 20 years old, but now trending with things like chatgpt 4. The artists voiced some opportunities but also some concerns regarding the progress of AI technology. What’s your take on that? Do you find it rather helpful and interesting, or do you see some dangers with it as well? After the talk we grabbed some coffee and tea at their little bar and wandered along more fascinating art until the grand finale of the evening – a masters art competition! Eight artists were given a topic and a mystery box of supplies to create their painting within one hour, that’s pretty wild! We as the audience were allowed to then vote for our favourite painting. The topic just got revealed while they were on stage and it was ‘magic’. I loved how different and creative everyone interpreted and executed this theme. Some people just used their hands and a foam brush or spatula. One artist got really creative and hung a cut off prop foot out of silicone on her painting. 😀 It was definitely the highlight of our visit and I would recommend everyone to come watch the competition next time! 🙂

Another thing I’ve tried for the first time this weekend was forest bathing. Let me explain it a little bit. We went to Pacific Spirit Regional Park with a guide specialized in Forest Bathing and it was all about slowing down, de-stressing and spending some time in nature engaging all your senses. First we listened to our surroundings, we focused on what we can smell and then walked around paying attention to different movements in the forest as well as different shades of green before exploring nature’s textures through gently touching trees, plants, moss, rocks etc., without disrupting the environment of course. In the end we were told to find a spot off the trail close to a tree and just sit still for 10 minutes, trying to focus on our surroundings rather than on our thoughts. It was incredible what I noticed compared to when I just go for a walk with a friend. I heard lots of different birds chirping, including a woodpecker. I saw caterpillars and everything just seemed very peaceful. To top it up we had some herbal tea and snacks before ending our experience.

If I’m not wrong the concept comes from Japan where lots of people were so stressed out that some even collapsed at their desk at work. The minister of forestry had the idea to take them out into the forest for three days, no cell phones just connection to nature and the benefits were mind blowing. Now this concept is starting to gain more popularity in other parts of the world as well and I understand why. It felt truly good to reconnect with nature, to slow down, notice everything around in a different way than before. I think it’s very important to go back to the roots every now and then and escape the busy city life, so if you have been caught up in work lately or seek some peace, I recommend you try this out some time. 🙂

How was your weekend? What did you do? Let me know all about it next Pub Night!


Laura 🙂