Gap years have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more people are recognizing the benefits of taking a break from formal education. A gap year can be a great opportunity to explore new places, experience different cultures, learn new things, and grow as a person. If you’re thinking about taking a gap year in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff is an excellent place to consider. You won’t regret choosing this town as your gap year destination!

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What is a gap year

A gap year is traditionally a break taken between finishing high school and starting university. Gap years can be spent travelling, working, volunteering, or all three.

They provide an opportunity to take some time out before embarking on further education or starting a career. There are many benefits to taking a gap year. It can help you to mature and become more independent.

It’s also a great opportunity to gain new skills and experiences. If you spend your gap year working or volunteering, you can build up your CV and enhance your employability. And if you travel, you’ll have the chance to see the world and broaden your horizons. So if you’re wondering what to do after high school, why not consider taking a gap year? It could be the best decision you ever make.

Banff national park

Why you should take a gap year in Banff

There are many benefits to taking a gap year, and Banff is an excellent place to experience them all. Here are just a few of the benefits you can enjoy while in Banff

Adventure

Banff is a great place for people who love adventure. There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, skiing, and snowboarding. You'll also have the chance to explore the beautiful landscape of the Canadian Rockies.

Personal growth

A gap year is a great opportunity to grow as a person. You'll have the chance to try new things, meet new people, and learn about yourself and your strengths. Gap years can be transformational, and Banff is the perfect place to experience that transformation.

Work

While in Banff, you may also want to consider doing some work. There are many opportunities for seasonal work, such as in the tourism industry. This can be a great way to make some money and gain some valuable experience. Plus, it can help you to explore more of what Banff has to offer.

There are many job opportunities which offer staff accommodation. If you have a job offer before coming to Canada you should get your staff accommodation coordinated prior to arriving in Banff.

Find new friends

Banff is a great place to meet new people and make friends. There are plenty of opportunities for socializing, both indoors and outdoors. You'll have the chance to meet people from all over the world, and you may even make some lifelong friends.

The scenery

Banff is located in the Canadian Rockies, which means it has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. If you love nature, Banff is the perfect place for you. If you do want to escape the mountains for a day, Calgary's city center is only 90 minutes away.

Popular jobs in Banff

Banff is a great place to find work, thanks to its booming tourism industry. This means that local businesses are always on the lookout for new employees. There are many opportunities for seasonal work, such as in the hospitality industry. This can be a great way to make some money and gain some valuable experience for your future career. Plus, it can help you to explore more of what Banff has to offer.

Some of the most popular paid jobs in Banff include:

Waiter/waitress

If you're looking for a job in Banff, the hospitality industry is a great place to start. There are many opportunities for waiters and waitresses, especially during the busy summer season. If you're good with people and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, this could be the perfect job for you.

Bartender

Bartending is another popular service industry job in Banff, thanks to the many tourists who visit the town. If you have bartending experience, this could be a great opportunity to find work in Banff. The job usually pays well, and you'll have the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people.

Chef

If you're interested in working as a chef in Banff, there are plenty of opportunities available. The town is home to many restaurants, and most of them are always on the lookout for new chefs. If you have experience in the kitchen and enjoy cooking, this could be the perfect job for you.

Retail worker

Banff is a popular tourist destination, which means there are many retail opportunities available. If you're interested in working in a store, consider applying for a job at one of the many retailers in Banff. This can be a great way to earn some money and meet new people.

Housekeeper

If you're looking for a more low-key job, consider working as a housekeeper in Banff. This can be a great way to get to know the town and earn some extra money. Plus, it's usually a pretty flexible job, which is ideal if you're also looking to explore Banff during your Gap Year.

Ski instructor

If you love skiing and the outdoors, working as a ski instructor in Banff could be the perfect job for you. This is a great way to earn money while also getting to enjoy the incredible scenery of Banff. Plus, it's a pretty fun job!

The three main ski resorts near Banff are Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Norquay. If you enter your gap year prior to the winter season, some people like to get some early season instructor training in to prepare themselves for the busy ski season.

Tour guide

If you're outgoing and enjoy showing people around, working as a tour guide in Banff National Park could be a great option. This job can be quite demanding, but it's also a lot of fun. Plus, it's a great way to learn more about Banff and its history.

skiing in banff

Visa options for a gap year in Banff

There are a few different visa options available for people who want to take a gap year in Canada. The best option for you will depend on your personal circumstances. Whether you would like to work a few hours a week or full-time, you need to ensure you obtain the right visa.

International Experience Canada (IEC)

The IEC program provides young adults from participating countries between the ages of 18 and 35 (30 in some countries) with the opportunity to work and travel in Canada from 6 - 24 months depending on your country of citizenship.

There are 3 categories under the IEC program in which to enhance your professional development, these streams are:

  • Young Professionals Program
  • Working Holiday program
  • International Co-op (Internship) Program

IEC requirements vary from country to country. Depending on your country of citizenship, you may be able to participate twice in the IEC program, however, you can only participate once under each category (that your country allows), therefore, you can be found eligible under a different pool.

Employer-specific work permit with a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

An employer-specific work permit, also known as a closed work permit, lets you work in Canada according to the conditions on your work permit, such as

  • the name of the employer you can work for
  • how long you can work
  • the location you can work

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a procedure that Canadian businesses must follow to employ foreign workers. The LMIA is used to assess the impact of a foreign worker on the Canadian job market.

Employers that want to hire a foreign national must first submit an LMIA application. The job description, salary expectations, and reasons why no Canadian could be found to fill the position are all required.

If the LMIA is authorized, the employer may apply for a work permit for a foreign national. If the LMIA isn’t granted, the employer will not be able to recruit a foreign worker.

Things to do before coming to Canada

Get your visa

One of the first steps in moving to Canada is to get all of your documentation in order. You'll need a current passport with no restrictions, as well as a visa for entry into the country. Remember, a visa will only be issued to the same length as your passport validity, so make sure your passport expiry is longer than your anticipated visa duration.

Get travel insurance

It's important to acquire travel insurance before departing as a foreign national. Travel insurance can assist you with the expenses of medical care, hospital stays, and even flight cancellations or delayed luggage. There are some different insurance plans available, so be sure to shop around and find the best deal for your specific needs.

If you would like to see a list of everything you need to do before arriving in Canada read our moving to Canada checklist.

Things to do when you arrive

Open a bank account

Opening a Canadian bank account is one of the most crucial things you'll need to do when relocating to Canada. This will allow you to quickly access your money and pay for items such as rent and food.

You'll need to bring your passport and any other documents that verify your identity and residency in Canada when you're ready to open an account.

Get a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

You'll need a social insurance number (SIN) if you're relocating to Canada. This is a nine-digit number that you'll need to work in Canada and use government services. You may apply for a SIN at a Service Canada office. You'll need to bring along your passport and evidence of residency in Canada when you submit an application. A letter from your employer may also be requested.

If you would like to see a list of everything you need to do when you arrive in Canada read our moving to Canada checklist.

Conclusion

Gap years are a great opportunity to explore new places and learn new things. Banff is an excellent place to do this, as it offers plenty of activities and opportunities for growth. If you're thinking about spending your gap year in Canada, be sure to consider Banff as an option!