Arriving in...Newfoundland & Labrador


Fraser Clarke

Making a career move overseas can be a daunting prospect, however we’re hopeful that we can be of help. In our latest Odyssey Exclusive series, ‘Arriving in…’ we’re going to take a look at your journey to a new life abroad.

We’ll aim to cover all the basics to make sure that you’re as prepared as you can be for the move, and get the most out of life in your new homeland.

In the second in the series we’re going to look at Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. A rural location with stunning scenery, friendly locals and a steady demand for Western trained medics.

Getting there: Getting to Newfoundland isn’t anywhere near as easy as flying into Sharjah! There are few direct flights from the UK to the capital, St John’s, international airport. Only Air Canada and Lufthansa offer a direct flight from Heathrow, that will have you in the City in under six hours. 

If getting to Heathrow is an issue, then most people will simply fly out to one of Canada’s bigger airports, and catch a connection to Newfoundland.

Accommodation: Accomodation in Newfoundland is one of the biggest attraction for medics seeking more space at a lower cost. Property prices are more than 60% lower than they are in London, with plenty of spacious family homes available at affordable rates.

The country is so large and sparsely populated that you’ll often get plenty of land too - making it perfect for those with young families, animals or who are just looking to escape from the city.

Keeping in contact: Staying in touch with family back home whilst you’re in Newfoundland is easy - with only a three and a half hour time difference making finding the right time to call home simple.

Telus and Bell are the two most popular mobile networks in the region, and both provide the best coverage at an affordable rate. Internet speeds are reasonable, and improving, too and so video calling using Skype or Facetime isn’t an issue.

Basic rules: Canada is a free and liberal country, however that doesn’t mean that you should act just as you do at home, we’ve outlined five little rules to follow during your time in the country:

  • It is illegal to smoke in public places. Just as in the UK you won’t be able to light up in restaurants, bars or shops. In Canada this stretches further though, to shared areas of property and cars with children on board.
  • Manners are a huge part of Canadian society, and small acts like holding doors for people and apologising for minor indiscretions will help you to fit in. 
  • A smart, conservative business dress is expected in most meetings. The country remains very formal, especially in a business environment.
  • It is considered rude to speak in a language other than French or English in a working environment, as it could exclude others from the conversation.
  • Tipping in the hospitality industry is expected countrywide, with 15% of your final bill being the standard amount. As most workers are on minimum wage tips are often vital in making employment worthwhile.

Getting around: Canada is a vast country, and Newfoundland especially is a vast area with large distances between locations. There are really only two ways to get around therefore; driving, or flying.

Canada has a well developed road network, and the driving standards in the country are high - making it the easiest and safest way to travel. For longer distances St John’s airport can take you elsewhere in the country, with a small number of flights also going directly to the USA.

Things to see: Despite its rural location, there is plenty to see and do in Newfoundland and Labrador, so we’ve compiled a quick list of five things not to miss out on:

  • The Johnson Geo Centre - To understand more about the landscape in which you’re living this stunning Geological centre is a must-see.
  • Go whale watching - There are plenty of organised boat tours that will let you get close to some of nature’s most impressive animals.
  • Gros Morne National Park - A TripAdvisor excellence award is testament to the stunning views and natural beauty on offer. 
  • Avalon Mall, St John’s - The largest mall in the province, it is home to over 140 shops, a cinema and plenty of restaurants.
  • Rising Tide Theatre - Newfoundland has a number of theatres, however few are as unique as the Rising Tide. It offers an intimate viewing experience of some fascinating, smaller productions.

The working environment: Working in Canada can be a unique experience, so we’ve created a little list of things to expect:

  • Equality. Everyone in Canada is given the right to have their say, from nurse to senior consultant - so be prepared to listen and work as part of a team.
  • Doctors are treated with a great deal of respect, something that is especially attractive to GPs who often feel undervalued in the UK.
  • This also means that Canadians don’t try and take advantage of the system, or lie about symptoms to speed up appointment times.
  • Canadian’s appreciate good communication, timekeeping and admin skills. So you’ll be expected to keep everyone updated on how things are going.
  • Initially you may have to work in a more rural area, however don’t despair, with some experience in the country job opportunities in the bigger towns and cities will quickly become available.

Don’t forget: 

  • Organise your finances before making the move, have you converted enough money, do you have an overseas bank account, should you be paying any tax at home?
  • Will your credit/debit cards work abroad?
  • Is your airport pickup sorted, and do you know where you’re staying when you arrive?
  • Do you have a phone that will work in your new location?
  • When is your official start date?