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Useful Resources #3 – The Sensible Girl’s Guide to Emigrating Elegantly

Sally Corner, The Sensible Girl’s Guide to Emigrating Elegantly (London: A & C Black, 2010)

The Sensible Girl’s Guide to Emigrating Elegantly is genuinely unique in its approach to emigration, focussing on the ‘fun, fabulous and feminine’ aspects in addition to the decidedly less so.  As the title suggests it’s written for females, and covers key emigration issues such as what to do if your friends react badly to your leaving, what to wear to the airport and how to deal with homesickness when you arrive.  Of course there is all the practical information about visas and red tape, how to tie up loose ends before you go and what to take with you to YNC (Your New Country), but the extra advice about the less documented, emotional side of moving abroad is honest and refreshing.

The book is set out in a chronological style, taking the reader all the way from choosing a country to move to, to making friends when you’ve settled in.  Quizzes, check lists and questionnaires are interspersed by the author’s own real-life emigration fairy tale (complete with happy Australia based ending) and some funny, original illustrations.  It covers all the little details that you might not think of otherwise (like what to include in your hand luggage), but that really make a difference to the emigration process.  Regardless of where in the world you’re moving to, this book will prove indispensable at every stage of the journey.


The Sensible Girl's Guide to Emigrating Elegantly


Where can I find it? A range of book shops (including Waterstones), however I purchased mine from Amazon  for £7.49.

Good Points: Everything about this book is fantastic, however the checklists are particularly useful.  Whether it’s what to pack, how to sort out your healthcare or what you should have sorted two weeks before you go, they’re incredibly comprehensive and you will definitely use them.

Bad Points: If you’re a girl, none. If you’re a boy you will probably consider this book confusing, unnecessary and downright bizarre; that’s why it’s not for you.

Useful Resources #2 – Facebook

In 2010 living one’s life through social networking is commonplace, so it was no surprise when I stumbled across a number of Facebook groups that really have aided the entire working holiday process.

BUNAC Work Canada (Official Page)

The official BUNAC Work Canada page is maintained by BUNAC, and is a useful starting point for information about the application process, BUNAC deadlines and finding out what else is out there.

BUNAC Work Canada (Official Page)

Where can I find it?

Good Points: As its run by BUNAC, this page is a good place to ask questions that you’d like an official answer to, and also keep up to date with ‘official’ news and updates.

Bad Points: It’s not used that much, particularly the discussion boards, but this could be because of the existence of the below…

BUNAC Work Canada (Independent Group)

This is an independent group monitored by a fellow BUNACer, and is particularly useful for asking questions about the less ‘official’ things, like what to take, where to live and whether your iPhone will work.   The discussion forums in particular are incredibly well used, often by current/ex BUNACers who have been there, done that, and given useful, relevant and most importantly impartial advice.

BUNAC Work Canada (Independent Group)

Where can I find it?

Good Points: The best bit about this group is the discussion threads that appear for each group flight, for example ‘January group flight to Vancouver’.  Once you know which flight you’re going to be on make sure you find yours and get to know your fellow travellers months in advance.

Bad Points: There’s so much information on this group that it can take a long time to sort through all the old threads and find what you’re looking for, but other than that it’s perfect!

SWAP Vancouver

SWAP stands for Student Work Abroad Programmes, and as BUNAC’s partner organisation in Canada they provide full support before and during your working holiday.  This comes in the form of walk-in centres in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, orientation talks and jobs and accommodation listings, as well as organised social events and excursions.

SWAP Vancouver Group

Where can I find it?

Good Points: Joining this group is a great way to get a taste of the social events and trips on offer as these are all advertised here, and other SWAPpers use the site to let everyone else know about jobs, places to rent or items for sale in Vancouver.

Bad Points: You have to request to join the group which can be off putting, and as the discussion threads aren’t used much you’ll spend most of your time trawling through posts on the main feed.

Useful Resources #1 – craigslist

Now I know I’ll be winging my way to Vancouver in less than three months, most of my spare time is spent trawling through the mecca of job adverts, classifieds and downtown condos for rent that is craigslist.  It’s a bit like our Gumtree, but with less weirdos.

In terms of housing, it’s a far bigger deal than Gumtree as Canada doesn’t really have lettings agents like we do in the UK.  Anyone with a flat/house to rent or a room to sublet advertises on craigslist (and most of them have pictures), so it’s the perfect place to check out what’s affordable in the areas you’d like to live in.

Craigslist, Vancouver BC

It’s also useful for job vacancies, more so in the tourism/retail/hospitality industries than the professional sectors, though be wary of any ‘jobs’ that sound too good to be true – just like in the UK they probably are.

Where do I find it?

Good points: One-stop shop for everything you need in Vancouver, from furniture to yoga clubs.  Great for getting to know the city before you arrive, both in terms of ‘serious’ research, and inspirational fun!

Bad points: You do still seem to get the odd shifty post so all the usual internet rules apply (don’t part with any money until you’ve seen the flat/item, don’t meet up with anyone by yourself). Make sure you’ve done your research and know which neighbourhoods you want to live in before searching for housing, otherwise a long list of houses and neighbourhoods can prove more confusing than helpful.