Once upon a time I had this crazy dream to work overseas. I’d get there one day, eventually. Soon… hopefully. Fast forward through a series of events which placed that dream at the end of a 6 month timeline, with a hell of a lot of deadlines, processes and money between A and B.
Now, if you’re like me, you’re a process person and I hope you fine the next few paragraphs helpful and insightful. If you’re the kind of person who just makes it up as you go, I applaud you. In fact, I encourage to let me know what the secret to your success is because honestly sometimes i feel like my process based mind is going to be the death of me. You know the saying, “Process based thinking killed the cat”.
A heads up – If you find this all overwhelming and would prefer to have someone else take care of the visa, job, bank account and housing situation there’s a number of different companies out that can help. I would suggest The Working Holiday Club who make the whole process super easy, guarantee you a job before you go and if not will refund the cost of the program.
Your Working Holiday Timeline
Step One: Do your research
The big question; where?
If your an Aussie reading this your easy answers are The UK, Canada or potentially the USA if you’re looking at doing a Summer Camp. I say easy because these are English speaking countries, similar cultures and we have Youth Mobility or Working Holiday visas agreements. If your dream is in Asia, South America or Africa, then make it happen, I have a friend who’s been working in Namibia for the past 2 years, it is possible!
What are the requirements?
Generally before you can even apply for your visa you will need to have a proof of minimum funds, for the UK that’s £1890 which the equivalent of $3300AUD. As well as a clean criminal record; speeding tickets are all good, I know because of… a friend. In her defence, she was driving a red car which everyone knows go faster.
Step Two: Apply
Time to sign your life away
If your passport has less than 2 years validity or only a few blank pages (minimum), I would strongly recommend replacing it. The last thing you want to have to think about or spend money on whilst you’re away is a new passport. I did this before I left and now I have an awesome documentation for the travels of my 20s.
Applying is fairly easy. Print off the forms, I would print multiple in case you’re prone to making mistakes (ie; me). Fill it in the best you can, if you’re confused about anything, leave it. You’ll have to attend an appointment (applicable for most states) at a Visa Application Centre in your capital city, you’ll be able fill in any blank questions here before they post it off. Then it’s a waiting game.
Important to note that as your visa will be stamped into your passport (UK Visas aren’t electronic like some others) you will be unable to travel internationally until you have it back in your possession.
Step Three: Job Search
Because sadly it is a ‘Working Holiday’
If you’re going through this process without any assistance I would suggest starting to have a look at job opportunities. Although you may be wishing to do a bit of travelling when you first get over, I would not altogether bet on getting a job when you’re over there. In certain places the employment situation isn’t the greatest and in some it may even be required you have an offer of employment before applying for your visa. Having a job before you go over can also alleviate a lot of stress and simplify the process of renting and setting up your bank account.
Your best bet for jobs is generally in hospitality. Pubs are awesome if your looking to live onsite and not worry about rent as pubs are used to including board as a part of your employment contract. If you’re fortunate enough to work for an international hotel chain such as Hilton Worldwide, as I was, there is plenty of opportunity to transfer over within your current or into a new department.
Step Four: Accepted!
Now is when the ball starts rolling.
Book your flights – if you’re planning on traveling around Europe I would also recommend taking out a comprehensive insurance policy for a minimum 12 month period. Otherwise, if you’re planning on staying put in The UK the whole time (I find that incredibly unlikely) at least get a 3 month policy for when you first head over, until you’re able to take care of getting yourself onto the UK’s Medicare equivalent.
Pack & Sell – Start packing your bags, remember to be smart with your packing. Don’t do too much shopping for what you think you’ll need and wait until you get over. In Australia you’ll often pay ridiculous pricing for a ‘warm’ coat that you’ll find out later doesn’t exactly do the job it’s supposed to.
Now is also a good opportunity to declutter! If you don’t deem it necessary to take and it’s not ‘memorable’, sell it.
Step Five: You’re Off!
And the adventure is on.
Say ‘Bon Voyage’ and ‘see you later’ to your friends and family, AND GET ON THAT PLANE! Now’s your opportunity to binge watch all the movies you didn’t see as you put the money for the movie ticket toward this epic adventure.
Before you know it you’ll be coming in for landing, queuing for Customs, getting waved through and this it;
Welcome to the next two years of your life.
Now you can panic… Don’t worry, it’s gonna be great!
Next: Getting yourself settled.
Blog coming soon