This week, we are interviewing Ilse Hofman who came from The Netherlands to work in Canada. She has been in Vancouver for almost 4 months since February this year. So here is what she had to say about her experience in Canada:
Why did you go to Canada?
Most of the younger Dutch people who wants to go abroad, go to Australia or the States. Australia is really expensive and I want to be different! I choose Canada because of the beautiful nature and I definitely do not regret my choice.
How long are you staying here?
I arrived in the beginning of February in Vancouver and will stay here till October. Until that time I will be working here and go on trips to other places of course. From October till January I will go travelling to the east of Canada and some places in the United States. I will fly back home at the end of February.
What kind of work are you doing, where have you worked?
My first job was at Blenz (coffee shop). I worked there for 2,5 months as a Barista. I had to travel 1,5 hours by bus to get there so after a while I started to find another job, closer to my home. Right now I’m working as a server in a restaurant of a private tennis club next to the beach and closer to my home.
How did you get your jobs?
Internex arranged the job interviews and advised me what I should say and what not to say. Applying for a job here is very different than applying for a job in The Netherlands so all the advise and tips were really helpful.
My landlord helped me getting the job as a server in the restaurant from the private tennis club. He is a member and knew that the club was looking for servers. He told me that and I was enthusiastic right away, than he talked to the F&B manager. The next day I got the contact details and I sent an e-mail to the manager and the day after I had my job interview. 2 weeks later I started and quit the job at Blenz.
What kind of tasks are you responsible for on daily basis?
When I worked at Blenz, I advised people about the products, handled payments, made the drinks and sometimes I made latte art! Of course cleaning was one of the things we had to do as well.
In the restaurant I am serving the guests, take their orders, serving drinks, handling payments. At the end of the shift we are cleaning all the tables and chairs and set up the tables for the next day/evening.
What is the best thing about your work?
During this work abroad my English improved a lot. That’s mainly because I use different expressions than I learned on school. I use a broader vocabulary.
Also, I meet new people that have different cultures. All the Canadians here are really kind and helpful. Especially in the beginning it was strange that everyone says; hi, how are you doing? In The Netherlands, people will look at you and think: why do you ask, you don’t mean a thing!
What do you like most about Canada and Vancouver?
As I was telling before the people are so nice and helpful. I meet a lot of people and whole Vancouver is kind of your friend, people will tell their whole life stories while you are sitting in the bus or sky train next to them.
There are also a lot of things to do here in the city. In the winter you can go for skiing in the surrounding mountains. In the summer you can go to the beach, if the weather is nice of course! Other things you can do in Vancouver are hiking, visiting parks, like Stanley Park and shopping of course.
What trips did you do in your free time, also organized by INTERNeX?
In my first week in Vancouver we went to Cypress Mountain for skiing. Flora and I got lost at the end of the day, we are both no pro’s and we came out at the black part. We climbed back to the junction to the other way.
With St. Patricks day we saw the Parade with a few other and after that we had lunch together and did some shopping. With Easter I went to the Rockies with INTERNeX. It was an amazing trip, one of the must do’s in Canada!
In the beginning I went to the PuB NiGHTS almost every week. It is a great way to meet new people and friends!
Do you attend the weekly Pub-Night organized by INTERNeX and do you think this is a good way to meet new people?
In the beginning I went to most of the pub-nights. We became friends with each other and shared stories. But right now I’m not going that often, because the most days I am working in the evening.
Why did you choose INTERNeX International Exchange?
Internex is the partner from the travel agency in Holland. They told what Internex could do for me while I am in Canada and everything did sound really good.
What is the best thing about INTERNeX International Exchange?
They always want to help you and they always will make time for you. Internex knows a lot about other cultures, so they can advise you very well what to say and what not to say in example a job interview.
How did you find a place to stay?
Mina, who is working for INTERNeX knew someone who knew a another person who had a basement suite available. I took a look there and after a few days the place was mine!
How did INTERNeX International Exchange help you to organize your trip to Canada?
The travel agency in The Netherlands helped me with booking my flights. Internex was already looking for job opportunities and on my second day Flora, the PR intern, told me a lot about Vancouver, the transit system and other good things to know.
Would you recommend INTERNeX International Exchange?
Yes I will! As I said they help me with everything. They make you feel comfortable in the city. I think the nicest thing about Internex that if you come to Canada by yourself, you don’t feel alone when you arrive.
Thank you Ilse for sharing your experiences in Canada with us and for all the great memories during your stay here!