It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for another instalment in my The World of Working Holidays series. This week one of my fellow working holiday travel bloggers shares their experience.
Jess from Alright Blondie has just spent a year travelling with her boyfriend in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa. During that time they travelled up the East Coast and worked in Sydney and Perth. They are currently in Thailand before heading home to the UK.
Where did you go on your visa?
I ended up applying for an Australian WHV. My boyfriend and I had been thinking of going for a while as we had friends who lived there and one day we just decided why not?
Why did you choose a working holiday visa?
Wages are great in Australia so money was definitely part of the reason and the WHV also gave us a full year to explore – something you need when you go to Australia as it’s massive and takes a long time to get around!
How did you find the process of organising everything?
The visa application is really easy and the confirmation comes through pretty quick. I think I got mine within two weeks? I used Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights and on the 28th of December we were on an Etihad flight to Perth. I set up my own bank account (easy just take a passport and a copy of your visa) and applied for my own tax file number online. You really don’t need to book through a company as it is so easy to do yourself but if you want to meet people maybe going through an agent is a good idea.
What kind of work did you do and was it difficult to find?
For just over a month I applied for jobs using the Australian recruitment site Seek.com but that got me nowhere. I signed up with two recruitment agencies and within two weeks I was working. My recruitment agency got me to amend my CV for Aussie employers (I wrote a post on it here) and they were constantly in touch to see how things where going.
I ended up with some really good roles, two with the Western Australian government and one with a charity in Sydney. Working in Australia is different to working in the UK – Aussie employers are a lot more chilled out than UK ones, even in the government! I had a lot of fun and I got some great experience with some great, well-known businesses. I’m hoping having these roles on my CV will help me get a fairly decent job when I return home.
How did you find the balance between work and travel?
I got so lucky with my jobs as they were both extended until I left Perth and Sydney. This meant if I wanted to go somewhere I could take the time off unpaid. Whilst in Sydney I managed to squeeze in a week to the Whitsundays!
Also the wages were great so in the four months I was in Perth I managed to save enough money that I could take six weeks off and travel the East coast before I arrived in Sydney. In Sydney I saved enough to give me a week in Bali and a month in Thailand so travelling and working are definitely do-able you just have to be patient!
It definitely added to my experience as I made some amazing friends through work, bulked out my CV with some great employers and managed to travel around Australia.
Did you ever consider extending your visa?
I think we all know that you can extend a year in Oz by doing the dreaded 88 days of farm work. I managed two weeks before I quit. Some people just aren’t built for it and I’m one of them. After some talking it over with my boyfriend we decided that we weren’t actually that keen on staying a second year anyway so we got the Greyhound to Sydney and stayed there for 3 months.
So what’s next for you?
My visa expired at the end of December so we hopped on a flight to Bali for the festive period. After a week there we flew onwards to Thailand (where we are at the moment). We had plans to travel further (to Cambodia and Vietnam) but due to lack of funds/homesickness we have decided to go home when our Thai visa expires – YAY!
What advice would you give anyone considering travelling on a WHV?
- Apply to recruitment agencies (especially if you are looking for an admin role)
- Do your own tax return. It’s so, so easy and takes 15 minutes.
- Enjoy it and take your time. There is so much to see and do but Australia is a big country and distances between places can be pretty big! Unless you have a huge savings pot chances are you will need to work to survive (Oz can be pretty expensive!) so you might have to miss out on a couple of places. I missed out on Darwin and Melbourne but Australia isn’t going anywhere and there is plenty of time to go back one day.
If you are thinking about going to Australia on a working holiday visa then I would say just do it. Honestly, you won’t regret it. The worst that can happen is that you don’t like it and you go home early. Sure you will have wasted some money on a flight but hey, you don’t know if you don’t try!
Thanks so much to Jess for sharing her experience with me. You can read all about her working holiday and her further adventures in Bali and Thailand on her blog Alright Blondie. Also be sure to follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Bloglovin’