Volunteer in Canada – Authentic Canadian experience during orientation

Posted on the 10th February 2020

Volunteer in Canada with Lattitude!

(Thanks to our Country Manager Pia for sharing some words and pictures!)

“We had two small orientations in Vancouver in January 2020 – more groups coming in March, April, and from the UK in August and September!

The weather in Vancouver at this time of the year is usually rainy. Snow is actually pretty rare in Vancouver, the first group lucked out and was able to enjoy some snowy days.

Although it resulted in some delays at the airport on arrival we did get to enjoy the snow. It really was beautiful!

volunteer in canada

Once the morning group had checked into the hostel we walked down to the waterfront to catch an Aquabus ferry over to Granville Island where we had lunch and walked around the market and other businesses. This is popular tourist destination that offers a bit of everything from theatre, music, local arts and crafts and plenty of food options etc. We walked around the city to do some sightseeing and had a bite to eat. We were joined by the other gappers who arrived later in the evening.

volunteer in canada

The next day we gathered in the hostel meeting room for a few hours for the formal orientation where we discuss some of the expectations and how to make the most of the time as volunters in Canada. These discussions are important to set the stage for the volunteer experience ahead. We also want volunteers to be prepared to problem solve and understand what types of challenges and joys they may encounter while on placement.

We had some lunch and then walked over to the bank to setup the local bank accounts which is needed as volunteers do receive a small amount of pocket money from their host. It’s also important that we do some of the practical things to help our volunteers be well set up upon arrival to Canada.

volunteer in canada

 

After our bank visit it was time to test our skills on ice at the Robson Square Ice Rink. Everyone got on the ice and had a great time! We then walked around the city for a bit and finished the evening with dinner in Gastown, the old part of Vancouver. The day really goes by so quickly! The final day of orientation is departure day and the January groups all go back to the Vancouver airport for departures to camps in Alberta. There they REALLY get to experience snow and winter.

A week later we hosted a second group and the weather was very typical, ie rain, or as we call it, “liquid sunshine”. As everyone arrived in the afternoon, our group activity that day was dinner together. The second day was similar to what the first group had with a morning orientation session at the hostel and lunch on our way to the bank. After the bank accounts had been set up we traveled across to North Vancouver on the Seabus which is part of our local transit system, to go ice skating on the new temporary outdoor ice rink at the Shipyards. Again, everyone gave it a go and although it was the very first time on skates for some, everyone eventually got the hang of it. They’re sure doing Canada proud already! Some got into some impressive twirls as well! We ended the evening at Commodore Lanes with some pizza while the volunteers played some pool and darts. Then they were all off to airport and camp the next morning.

volunteer in canada

The orientation in Vancouver is geared to make volunteers feel at home in Canada, and to prepare them for their placements ahead. It gives the volunteers a chance to meet the local staff, get to know the other volunteers from our other participating countries, as well as connect in person with fellow gappers who are in country who they might visit or travel with after placement.”

Best of luck everyone – we know you are going to have an incredible experience in beautiful Canada!

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