EXPERIENCE: Over Seas & Work Away
FACULTY or WORK: Lawyer/Marketing Specialist
STUDY or WORKING LANGUAGE: English
DURATION: 3 years
- What motivated you to face this experience abroad?
We both are travel junkies and always looked for opportunities of traveling. When we were offered a job in Canada, we thought it would be a great chance to make some changes in our life, travel more and get a Canadian experience ☺
- Where did you live your experience abroad?
We lived in Ottawa, Ontario.
- Why did you choose this place rather than another ?
Actually, we didn’t choose the city. The company that hired my husband was in Ottawa and we had to live there. But we loved living in Ottawa, which is a great family town rather than crazy night-life city.
Setting up and Services:
- Did you have troubles orienting yourself in the city?
Not really. The company helped us to find a condo and the rest of the orientation was made by ourselves. We love exploring new places and it’s like a new challenge for us. Canadians are the friendliest people ever and they are ready to help you.
- Did you have any problem with the new culture?
Problem in Canada? Nah. Canada is the country of immigrants and you can’t feel yourself as an outsider. There’s no discrimination and it’s a multicultural country. When I was at the University in Azerbaijan, I got a scholarship to study in the USA as an exchange student. It helped me a lot to get adapted to new culture and environment easily. My husband and I are both social making friends easily. After working in Canada, we moved to Argentina which was another challenge. Argentina is absolutely different from Canada and we didn’t speak Spanish when we arrived here. So, you can imagine how hard it was for us to adapt to absolutely different world. But we made it! A year after we speak Spanish and have many local friends.
- Which transports did you use to travel around the city?
The public buses of Ottawa work really good. Though some of the bus lines might have one bus every 15-20 minutes, most of them work every 5 minutes. There’s no subway or express train in town. There was only a shuttle train working in suburbs, but we never used it. Actually, Ottawa is not a big city and you can easily walk around in center-town. But you might need to have a car for going to suburbs.
- When and if you’ve had some problems, with who did you talk with? (Offices, authorities, other)
We didn’t have any problem, but if you have any you can easily talk to police. I remember losing my purse in Ottawa, just dropping of the baby’s stroller in the middle of the street. I found out about it after a while and when I went back the purse was gone. Can you imagine that I had my credit cards, ID and the keys in that purse? I was shocked and called police. They said they couldn’t help me for it was not a robbery case. I was so hopeless and desperate. But there happened a magic. The guy who found my purse called my husband finding his cell number in his visit card which I always carried in my purse!! And he returned my purse not asking for any penny in return☺)))) So, it’s always a good idea to have your own or hubby’s visit card with contact details in your purse for emergency cases.
- Did you like it?
Absolutely loved it. Thought we lived our coldest winters of our lives in Ottawa, we loved the community, the clean city and huge parks like forest. There could be a 1 meter of snow fall over night and the roads were immediately cleaned. The city is so well organized for winter that the snow and freezing wind doesn’t bother you. We have experienced -30 C degree. It was something that we had never had before.
- Which attractions / monuments do you recommend?
If you happen to be there in spring or summer, you can take long walks in the parks. You should definitely visit Parliament Hill, take a free tour to Parliament building, visit History Museum, Nature Museum, Museum of War, visit Byward Market for authentic and artisanal stuff (the open market is closed in winter, but there are lots of restaurants, bars and pubs in this part of city) and take a boat tour in Rideau canal and Ottawa river in summer. But if you happen to be in Ottawa in winter, then you should grab your ice skates and land on frozen Rideau Canal which is the longest natural outdoor ice ring in the world. You shouldn’t miss skating on this canal! For other winter activities check out my blog post.
- In the evening are there clubs for young people and university students?
Most of the clubs and bars are in Byward Market area.
- Are there any restaurants or clubs that offer benefits to Erasmus/young students, such as discounts on dinners, drinks or local entrances?
Unfortunately, don’t know about it. But there are Ottawa University and Carlton Universities and it’s very common to see lots of students. There’s a discount on transport for students and in some stores you can find special discounts.
- Give us some suggestions on where we could have dinner or go for a drink.
It depends what type of food you love. I love the food diversity in Ottawa. We loved Mill St. Brewery Pub where you can find freshly brewed organic beer and delicious food. It’s on the bank of Ottawa river, so you can grab a table with river view in summer time. There’s also Little Italy district full of restaurants serving Italian food and other nations cuisine.
- If you want, share with us some photos of your experience ☺
University / Work:
- In which area is it located?
It was in downtown of Ottawa and we lived very close to downtown. 10 minutes of walking from Parliament Hill.
- Where would you recommend staying?
If you are a student stay away from downtown as it’s super expensive. You can find apartments to share with other students around Ottawa University. In case of visiting Ottawa as a tourist checkout Airbnb apartments or houses. Houses in Kanata are cheaper but it’s a bit far from centertown or universities. So, it depends what is your purpose of stay ☺
- Is it easy to reach?
There are direct flights from Frankfurt, Paris and London. We usually took the flight from Frankfurt and were happy with our choice.
- How did you feel working / studying in this city?
Excellent. The city is very quiet and friendly with lots of family activities.
- Did you enjoy your experience abroad? Why?
We enjoyed mostly traveling around Canada and USA, making new friends, tasting new food, and getting new job experience.
- If you could go back, would you choose the same place to study / work?
We definitely would! Though Canadian winter is tough and we are enjoying mild winter in Argentina now, we would love to go back to Ottawa.
- If you want, tell us some curiosities about the city or nearby places not to be missed.
Canada is all about hockey which is major entertainment. We used to go to Senators game pretty often. The whole city was having a festival when Senators made it to playoff. What a great experience it was! So many emotions, so many excitements and fun! It’s impossible not to love hockey living in Canada.
- Use 3 adjectives to define your experience abroad.
Happy, excited and curious!
This was Sara’s experience in Ottawa, thank you for sharing it with us!! 🙂
You can find Sara on Instagram as @ourlifeinasuitcase_by_sara !!