If anyone is looking to mix up their lives and totally step outside of their comfort zone, I would 100% suggest moving abroad. Moving to Canada from Australia on a work permit has by far been the best thing that I have ever done, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

When I packed up my life into one bag and waved Australia goodbye, I honestly had no idea just how much my life was going to change in the years that lay ahead of me.

I see myself as a totally different person thanks to this experience and feel like I hardly know the girl who left Oz in 2017 anymore.

Although life in Canada has changed my life in hundreds of ways, I have done my absolute best to cram the major changes into 4 points!

Here we go…!

I learned to put myself out there more.

When my partner and I moved to Toronto, we literally knew no one except one another. Although we love each other (most of the time), having zero friends besides each other isn’t really ideal! We knew that if we wanted to make any friends, we had absolutely no choice but to put ourselves out there into social settings that we normally wouldn’t.

In order to make some pals quickly, we used methods such as Meetups and group Facebook pages based in Toronto. Both of these “friend finders” are something that I never ever would have done at home, but we really had no choice as we had absolutely zero connections to anyone in Toronto.

Let’s be honest, meeting up with people who you have never met is scary; it is basically like a blind date but with potential friends. It can be awkward and uncomfortable at times, but for the most part, it paid off for us. Even if some of the people we met, didn’t turn into our closest pals, we still got to have a great night out with them that 100% beat sitting at home on the sofa wishing that we had plans. As for the people that we met that did turn into great friends, I will be forever grateful for putting myself out there to meet them.

Had I stayed in my cushiony bubble in Australia where I had known most of my friends for years, there is no way that I would have stepped outside of my comfort zone to meet new people as I did living abroad.

I got to experience so many things that aren’t available in Australia.

When I told people from home that I was moving to Canada, the first thing that they would say was always, “It’s so cold there! Why?!” Likewise, I often get asked why I would leave a hot climate such as Australia from Canadians. They are always gobsmacked that I chose to move to a city in which snow falls more than the sun shines.

When questioned on the above, my answer is always, “Yes, Australia is beautiful and sunny but it also something that I have lived with my entire life.” I am a firm believer in trying new things so experiencing a climate so different from what I’m used to being something that was always on my bucket list.

Yes, Canada is almighty cold, but it has allowed me to do so many cool things (literally!) that aren’t available in Australia!

My favourite winter activities that I have done include dog sledding, ice fishing, ice skating, and exploring frozen waterfalls!

I stopped putting things off that I wanted to do.

I think we could all agree that too often we put things off that we have wanted to do for years. We constantly claim that “One day I’ll do this” and “I’ll do that next year” or even “When I have the money, I’ll see that place”. Moving to Canada and knowing that I am only able to be here for a short time really forced me to stop saying these lines. If I wanted to see or do something, I just did it.

Honestly, at times I didn’t even really have the money, but I did it anyway and let the financial side of things sort itself out down the track. I would rather work a little extra after something to pay it off than live in regret for never doing it.

For instance, one weekend my partner and I took a very spontaneous trip to New York City. We literally decided to go and left an hour later. We planned the trip along the way and just went with the flow for the entire weekend. Could we afford it? Not really. Did we have the best time and deal with the money side later? Hell yes!

We also did a similar thing when visiting Cuba. We booked a package deal on a Friday and left that same Sunday. As an Australian, the chances of me visiting Cuba when I am home are slim so being so close to the country in Canada, it was a no brainer; we had to go!

I became way more adaptable.  

Although Canada and Australia have seemingly similar cultures, I have had many times when I have felt totally out of my depth. Much to my surprise, many ways of doing things in Canada are very different from Oz. Because of these unexpected differences, I have had to learn to adapt quickly.

For instance, in Australia I knew exactly which shops to buy my clothes in, what brands of groceries I liked, and exactly how to order a coffee. When I wound up in Canada, I had to literally learn everything again. On a bigger scale, I had to learn the Canadian rental and banking procedures, how to drive on the other side of the road (so scary!), and a whole heap of Canadian slang terms that I had no idea about!

If I hadn’t adapted to the Canadian way of life, my time abroad would have been much more difficult! Having to learn a new way of life also taught me that I am strong. I always knew this but living in my familiar bubble in Australia never really forced me to showcase it. In order to survive abroad, I had to make big decisions quickly and all by myself, without my Australian safety net to fall back into.

Overall, moving and working in Canada has been the absolute best thing that I have ever done. It has taught me so much about myself that I will take with me throughout life. For anyone considering moving abroad, I would say just do it! Even if you’re scared, just take the plunge and book the ticket; I promise that you won’t regret it!

About the author:

Chelsea is an Aussie Expat who has been living in Toronto, Canada since 2017. Her motto in life is to go against the mold that society has set for her and live a life of travel and adventure. Her aim while living in Toronto is to see as much of North America as possible and to never look back and wonder what could have been. Check out her website at https://brbbusylivinglife.com/. To see a video of her experiences, check out her feature on IEP’s Share the Adventure series here.