On the coast of British Columbia, Vancouver is one of Canada's largest and most famous cities. Immensely diverse, Vancouver is buzzing with dozens of languages as people from all over the world come to visit and to stay. From its humble beginnings as a sawmill, Vancouver has grown to be a popular destination for tourists as well as immigrants and tradespeople. Surrounded by stunning landscapes, from giant trees to gorgeous rocky beaches, Vancouver is an urban center nestled amidst the majestic natural beauty of Canada.
Film/TV: In the film industry, Vancouver is often called Hollywood North because of its position as a prominent film production center. Many American and Canadian shows are filmed in Vancouver. Vancouver is the third-ranking film production city, only behind New York and Los Angeles. In addition, the city is also host to the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Vancouver Film and Television Forum. As a film intern in Toronto, you have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with well-known studios. Whether you want to work in film or in television, Vancouver has opportunities for you. Vancouver leads Canada's foreign film production industry, meaning that you have the chance to connect not just to the Canadian film industry, but also to American and other international producers.
Tourism: Vancouver is a major tourist destination. In addition to the city itself, with it's breathtaking skylines and beautiful parks and gardens, the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort nearby draws people from around the world. The city's port location also makes it a major cruise-line stop. Over a million people pass through Vancouver each year. With tourism playing such a vital part in the city's culture, as a tourism intern you can take pride in the knowledge that you are working to support your host country. While you converse with people visiting Vancouver, you'll be able to share your knowledge of the city with them. You'll also be gaining invaluable international experience that will help you get your foot in the door of the tourism industry.
Technology: Supported by local universities, Vancouver has a thriving technology sector. The city is an emerging world leader in fuel cell technology, as well as space and defense technologies. Software development is another prominent domain of Vancouver's technology sphere. In addition, the city has a cluster of video game developers, including Electronic Arts, who have headquarters in the city. As a technology intern in Vancouver, you'll gain practical experience while also being able to work for internationally-recognized companies as well as exciting and fast-growing startups.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look for an Internship:
Internships in Vancouver are available year-round. When planning your internship you may want to look into whether there are seasonal events in your field and plan to be there while they are occurring. For example, a film intern may want to plan to be around for the Vancouver film festival.
Cost of Living in Vancouver
Cost of living in Vancouver is relatively high. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Vancouver as the most expensive city in North America. Living outside of the city can bring costs down. Here are some expenses to help you calculate your cost of living in Vancouver
- Rent (1 bed apartment, City Center): 1,300 C$
- 1 inexpensive meal: 12 C$
- 1 way subway ticket: 2.75 C$
Work Culture in Vancouver:
- Etiquette: Canadians have a reputation for being polite and, let's be honest, treating people kindly and with respect is the best way to go when starting any internship. Vancouver is in the wester part of Canada, which is known for being more relaxed (its reputation is analogous to that of the West Coast of the United States). Depending on your specific internship, workplace hierarchy and dress can vary, and business casual is not unheard of. Still, it's better to make a good impression and err on the side of formal until you can scope out what your coworkers are wearing.
- Language: English and French are the official languages of Canada. Vancouver is in the predominantly anglophone province, British Columbia. At your internship, you'll almost certainly be speaking English. However, the city is multi-cultural and diverse and over half its residents don't speak English as their first language, so you may have the opportunity to practice other languages you know.
- Networking: Vancouver has plenty of opportunities for networking. You can start your search with online networking sites. In addition, if networking is a priority for you, be sure to connect with people at your internship, who can also help you to build contacts.
Work and Labor Laws in Vancouver
Interns generally require a Temporary Work Permit. Currently there are no specific laws concerning internships, however there are currently people advocating for more protections for interns.