What you should know during your first week in Canada!

Traveling to a new country is so exciting! Here are some things you should know when you arrive in Canada.

Jet lag

When traveling across a number of time zones, the body’s internal clock will be out of synchronization with the destination time. Your body’s natural pattern will be upset which will cause jet lag. Jet lag may last several days until you are fully adjusted to the new time zone. A good method is to attempt to partially adapt to the destination time zone in advance. This includes starting the daily routine one hour before and after what you normally do during the week before the departure. Upon arrival it is recommended  to adapt to the local time immediately and eat accordingly. Also exposure to sunlight during the day is helpful. 

Arrival in your Host Family

Your Host Family is already very excited to welcome you into their home. Bringing a small present for your Host Family is a very nice gesture and will help to break the ice and to establish that much needed connection. Specialties from your country are always appreciated like sweets or a cuddly toy for the children. We encourage you to join in on family activities at the beginning of your stay. This will show the family that you are interested in being a part of their family life. 


Before you start working as an Au Pair in Canada, you must apply for a Canadian Social insurance Number (SIN). A SIN is part of the Canadian system for cataloging workers and you must have one in order for your Host Family to pay you. Only three people need to see this number; yourself, your employer, and your bank. 

Keep this number secured.


You will need to set up a bank account in order to receive your pay; it is not ideal to keep a lot of cash in your home. Your Host Family can either deposit your pay directly into your bank account or issue you a cheque. 

Cell Phones

Various cell phone companies offer a full range of services, features and rate plans. On most plans, you will be billed for both incoming and outgoing calls. Since purchasing a cell phone will cost about $75 to $350, you might want to bring your own cell phone with you.

In addition, you can purchase Pay-as-you-Go cards that cost about $25 for 60 minutes of talk time within Canada. Most companies also now offer month-to-month plans that do not require you to sign a contract.


Your family may require you to drive. Please make sure to bring an international driver’s license. An international driver’s license is a special license that allows you to drive in Canada when accompanied by a valid driver’s license from their country of residence. You must have this license when you arrive in Canada; you cannot apply for one once you are here.

Check if your driver’s license is valid in Canada and if you have to take an additional test. This varies depending on the province you are living in and your nationality. 

Your Host Family will add you to their car insurance. Make sure to do your research on the driving laws and rules in Canada.

Here’s some more things you should know to ease your stay in Canada! 

Explore your neighborhood to familiarize yourself with what’s around you. Where is the closest supermarket, park or gym?

Join a local club! Perhaps for an activity you know nothing about. You might be surprised how much fun this is. 

Browse the library and check out the community center or local college to learn about what’s happening in the community near you. Join a book club, volleyball team or take a class!

Look for event flyers at coffee shops and restaurants.

Use www.facebook.com or www.meetup.com to connect to like-minded people