Current location
Toronto, ON, Canada

1. Can you please introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Mathieu. I’m 41 years old and I’m from Nanterre in the Paris region, where I also studied computer science.

2. Where did you go on a working holiday and why?

About 18 years ago, I went to Canada on a working holiday. This decision was largely influenced by Julie (read her interview), my cofounder for Originally I didn’t have any plans to go to Canada, but the opportunity presented itself when Julie discovered the WHV as a way to live and work abroad.
    Honestly, in the beginning I wasn’t super enthusiastic about the idea. But I launched myself anyway into a new life in Toronto, leaving everything in France behind to try something new, in English.

    3. How did you spend your working holiday?

    When I arrived in Toronto, the biggest challenge was the language barrier. I didn’t speak much English at all. My first few months were spent looking for a job. I first found my first gig at the Salon du livre de Toronto (an annual book fair), and then I worked as a freelance programmer. Afterward, thanks to Julie’s job at Berlitz, I was able to get a job as a French teacher. That job also gave me access to free English classes. After these different jobs, I eventually found a stable position in my domain, as an IT assistant at Collège Boréal. This was followed by a role in a company where I stayed for several years.

    4. What have you gained from the experience?

    My WHV was a turning point for me. It forced me to fly with my own two wings, to gain independence, to learn English, and to discover many things.
      It also gave me the chance to build my career in IT. My working holiday was the very catalyst for the birth of, which has become the highlight of my career.
        Obviously, living in Canada taught me about a new culture and way of life, which was enriching.
          In short, the working holiday was a transformational experience for me. I often tell myself that I made the right choice by launching myself into it, otherwise my life would have probably turned out very differently.

          5. What is your best memory from your working holiday?

          My best memory is without a doubt the creation and the development of This project had humble beginnings as a blog and has since evolved into an important and reliable resource for the community of working holiday makers. Seeing it grow and develop into a space of exchange and support for so many young people like the me from 18 years ago is incredibly gratifying.

          6. How did you get the idea to create

          The idea was born from my own personal experience as a working holiday maker in Canada. Before arriving in Toronto, I noticed that there was a serious lack of information and advice for people in my situation. The challenges that I faced related to finding housing, finding work, and adjusting to a new culture, made me realize that there was a need for a platform dedicated to working holiday makers.
            Julie and I envisioned a space where people could share their experiences, get advice and information, and support one another. The idea was to create a community for working holiday makers, by working holiday makers.

            7. If you could choose again from the destinations available today, where would you go?

            If I could choose again, my decision would depend on my personal and professional goals, my cultural curiosities, and my linguistic preferences. For example, Japan for its cultural richness and beautiful landscapes, or Australia for its great outdoors and relaxed lifestyle.
              Even though the idea of another WHV is tempting, I have to say that things have changed for me a bit. At 41 years old, with a daughter of 5 years old, the experience would be… slightly more complicated.
                Imagine juggling learning Japanese and helping my daughter with her homework, or replacing Sydney nightlife with lullabies and bedtime stories. And I’m not sure that other hostel guests would be happy being woken up at 3am by my daughter’s interrogative episodes on random topics like “why is the sky blue?”. So, as enticing as another WHV might be, I’ll leave the opportunity to young adventurers with fewer responsibilities. For now, my adventures will have to be limited to the confines of sandboxes and amusement parks!

                8. What advice would you give to prospective working holiday makers?

                Ah advice! With the sprinkle of experience and dash of hindsight that I have as a former working holiday maker, here is what I would say:
                • Do your research. Before embarking, inform yourself on your destination. And I’m not talking about just looking at photos on Instagram. Dive into the practical details: cost of living, healthcare system, housing etc. You don’t want to find yourself eating instant noodles everyday for six months because of inadequate budgeting.
                • Learn the language. For non-native anglophones: if you are going to an English speaking country and you think that your classroom English from high school is enough, trust me but “This is an apple” will not help you much. Invest some time learning the local speech, this will open doors (and beers).
                • Be open and flexible. The working holiday is an adventure in every sense of the word. Plans change, new opportunities appear… be ready to adapt to your surroundings and to step outside of your comfort zone.
                • Document your travels. Whether it’s through Instagram, a journal, or photos, keep a record of your adventures. You will thank yourself when you are reliving these memories later on.
                • Health and safety. Get a good health insurance; travel is fun, but a broken leg without health insurance in a foreign land is less so. However unlikely, accidents can happen.
                • Make the most of every moment. Time passes very quickly on a WHV. Cherish every experience, savour every encounter, and soak in every landscape. It’s an irreplaceable period of your life, so live it to the fullest!
                • Avoid idealizing your experience. It is important to not have unrealistic expectations about your working holiday. If you embark with an overly romanticized image of what it will be, you risk being disappointed. The reality of a WHV is that there are highs and lows, moments of great joy but also moments of unexpected difficulty.
                • And lastly, remember to call your loved ones from time to time. They worry about you, regardless of your age and destination!

                9. What are your ambitions for

                It’s top secret, no comment!

                10. Can we end with a memorable anecdote from your working holiday?

                When I first arrived, my English proficiency was low (to put it very gently). I excelled in courses related to computer science, but scored only a 6/20 in English, which was a fail in the French school system.
                  8 months into my working holiday in Toronto, my English had already improved considerably thanks to daily immersion. So I decided to retake the same English exam. To my pleasant surprise, I got a 16/20 (considered excellent in the French system)! But the best moment happened after the exam, when I continued to discuss in English with the examiner. She was fascinated by the concept of the WHV, which she knew nothing about. It was quite a rewarding moment for me. It really showed me how much living and working in an English-speaking environment improved my own proficiency in the language.

                  In February 2023 I moved from Vancouver to Paris. Adventures await.
                  En février 2023 j’ai déménagé de Vancouver à Paris. Des aventures m’attendent.

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