I just finished spending the last year working during my trip in Australia and since then everyone asks me how I could work in a foreign country. I decided to dedicate an entire blog series to my experience and hopefully I can inspire some of you to take the leap too. Throughout our “Working Holiday Australia” series I will go through the stages from getting the proper visa, to getting a job, to finding a place to live and everything in between.
What is a Working Holiday Visa?
A Working Holiday Visa is a temporary visa that allows people ages 18-30 to live and work in a foreign country for up to two years. Essentially, it allows you to pay for your holiday while you’re on it. There are restrictions and conditions to the working holiday visas but I’ll get to those details later.
If you are thinking about embarking on this wonderful adventure of living in another country, there are some things to consider before you start. You want to make sure you get the most out of this once in a lifetime experience!
- Can I handle being separated from my friends and family for a year?
Nine times out of ten you will not have the funds to make a flight home, especially if you are in a country like Australia, which is a million miles away from everything. Flying home to New Jersey from Australia round trip for me was around $1800 and a 27 hour flight each way. When your living from paycheck to paycheck, and funds are limited, you are going to want to spend that money on adventures in the country you are living in than rather than fly home for a visit.
- Are you going for the right reasons?
The reason why you are living in another country directly affects your experience. If wanting to run away from problems at home fuels your decision, trust me, it won’t work and you won’t be happy. Your problems will follow you no matter where you live. If you are going to emerge yourself in another culture and be open to new experiences, then you are in the right place. Evaluate what it is that you are looking for from this experience and make sure they are the right reasons.
- Can I handle not having consistent work or income?
As a backpacker, you are the casual employee, which means you work when they need you, but the first to be cut if not. Now most places are not as brutal as that sounds, but keep it in mind when budgeting your money. It always depends on the time of year, the job sector you are working in, and how many permanent full-time employees that are on staff that dictate how many hours you get. If it is more for some extra money to keep fueling your travels then you will be fine, if you are purely relying on it (like I did), then it could cause you stress down the line when you need to change jobs or your hours are cut. We will get more into the jobs, qualifications and wages later on.
- Do I have some money saved up for back up or support?
Having some savings gives you piece of mind, especially if you’re having issues with employment or hours. Also, you never know what life can throw at you that causes an unexpected expense so make sure you have some funds saved up for emergencies. Keep in mind that Australia is extremely expensive, so whatever you think you need, triple it, and keep conversion rates in mind.
- Personal Debts
If you are in debt (student loan, mortgage etc.), do you have money to support these debts while you are away? As the money you make at your jobs may not be enough to support your adventure and pay your debts. I had some debts while I was gone and at times of difficult employment having debts to cover along with my living expenses made it super stressful. You don’t want to feel that stress when you are supposed to be having fun. Get rid of it if you can!
The Fun Stuff
Now that we have covered the boring, doom and gloom things to think about before making this decision, let us venture into the list of good things to expect from your adventure.
- You are living in another country! AWESOME! And you are the one with the sexy accent. DOUBLE AWESOME!
- Escape from the humdrum of your normal every day life and experience days where you never know what’s going to happen.
- Get to meet and travel with people from all over the world, create new and lasting friendships, and connections for future travels.
- Experience some really unusual foods or customs.
- In some cases, come home with more money than what you went with if you choose to work the whole time you are there. I’ll explain later.
- An adventure of a lifetime that will change you and be with you the rest of your life.
- And one for the romantics, meet the love of your life.
Now that you have weighed your options and have decided to go, the next step is getting your visa. Check back next week for Part 2 of the series where we will explore the visa options and how you can get yourself one.
If you have an questions or comments please leave a comment below and I will respond as soon as I can. I would love to hear your thoughts or questions!