How to Work Abroad for Canadians


For the past few years, I have been living and working abroad. Although having a Canadian passport is really great for traveling, it is not so great for having flexibility in working abroad. Sure, we have many programs available to us, especially partnerships with many countries for the work-holiday scheme, but everything that we do need a work visa to do it. It’s not like the EU where they can freely roam to neighboring countries and just work there. Unfortunately, we don’t have that freedom with any country.

Yet, my dream was experiencing different cultures. I wanted to experience how others interact and understand people through living in their side of the world. I wanted to do that by living in different places for a certain amount of time. And so I researched.

Over the past few  years, people have asked, How do I keep moving from one country to another and where do I find my resources? Well, the short answer is I kept looking. Here is a few resources that I have tried and/or want to try. These were collected from a lot of different resources: search engines, career fairs, university job boards, and travel bloggers. I hope these are helpful for you.

Teaching Programs I’ve Done:

1. Canada Odyssey program – I started to teach nationally first from this government teaching program. I was placed in a small, local French city within Quebec to teach English. It may be difficult to integrate if you do not have any French knowledge, but generally people are very kind and it helped me to start my teaching career. I know I struggled a lot, but it is also from here that I learned that I do not like living in a small town, the importance of language and how to live independently. If you have some knowledge in French, I highly recommend it. You learn so much about being a Canadian.

2. France Language Assistant Program: After I found out I wanted to expand both my teaching experience and language skills, I took a leap of faith and went to France! This program is, once again, government funded so you can be quite safe. They will place you in a public school and you will work with local teachers. A great way to really immerse yourself and learn about the school system.

3. Chatteris Educational Foundation: When I moved to Hong Kong, I went through Chatteris two years ago. They are not the highest paying job, and you can definitely get a better salary working elsewhere. However, what I loved about Chatteris is their community partnerships and the opportunity to work both inside the public education system as well as outside. I was placed in a vocational college, with some of the lowest level English proficient students, who became some of my greatest friends. You can also be placed in some of the best schools in the city but I realised the contrast immediately and learned so much from it. I also got to do extra workshops for university students to help them with their English oral proficiency. They also became my friends so overall, yes, it’s a great program!

Jobs/ Work Exchange:

These websites I’ve been eye-ing for a while but have never had a chance to try! When I plan to do long-term travel, and to hop around countries, I will be sure to sign up to these websites and give it a shot! The best part, it’s work exchange so you won’t require a visa and you learn a lot!

1. Jobs Abroad Bulletin – This one is quite unheard of and I have not seen it recommended by many sites. I have no idea how I found it but it may be just Googling. I really like their newsletter because it has jobs from all over the world, posted by the owners themselves, and it has a variety of jobs. It has some really great projects to be involved in and they have expanded to other sites (look at their external links). Sometimes, you need a EU citizenship, but other times you do not. There is a wide range of jobs available and sometimes, seasonal as well.

2. Workaway: If you are looking for ways to travel but not to spend a dime, and yet have free accommodation and food, consider being a volunteer! This site offers a lot of ways where you can do a work exchange for small local communities such as helping at a resort or a hostel in exchange for free accommodation and food. I’ve never tried it but I like the fact that it is very locally focused and helps you to connect with people who are interested in learning about cultures as well.

3. HelpX: This site is quite popular among travelers. Again, free accommodation and food in exchange for work. However,  I find this site to be more focused on outdoor work and being with nature. If you are interested in helping out with organic and non-organic farms, and using your hands for construction/ building something, I find HelpX to be perfect. Depending on location, and what’s popular in the region, you may find some hostel work also.

Is there any other programs that you have tried or would recommend? I would love to hear about it! The best thing about being an expat is sharing resources.

Everyone has a story.

This is mine.


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