Agnese from I’ll Be Right Back is originally from Italy and recently got back from her year on a working holiday visa in Australia. She spent 9 months working in Sydney and then 3 months travelling around the country.
First things first, why Australia?
I chose Australia because I had dreamed to go there since I was a little girl. I can’t really explain why but Australia has always called me. When I was a child, I would look at it on the world map and I was so attracted. When the time came to live a different experience I started getting some information about the country and found out that the place was not only calling me but it was also a great place to live a part of my life.
Why did you choose to travel on a working holiday visa?
I chose a WHV because I think it is the best way to take the most of Australia in one year: you can work, travel and study! Of course there are some limitations, but this visa is the option that gives you a lot of flexibility, so you can change plans and try different experiences along the way.
How did you find the process of organising everything?
I love doing everything by myself (I’m a bit overly independent). I must say the entire procedure was quite easy to understand for me, but it may be harder for those who can’t speak English very well (non-English information on the web is rather confusing). When I was in Sydney I worked for 6 months in an education-consulting agency that helps international people to come and study/work/travel in Australia. Working there I understood how agencies can be supportive and helpful, especially for people who don’t speak English or who are not really into paperwork.
What kind of work did you do and was it difficult to find?
Before moving to Australia, I decided to start as an Au Pair. I would suggest this to everybody, as it is an ideal solution to come to Australia and not having to think about a job and accommodation. If you find your host family before moving (through one of the many dedicated websites), you already have accommodation, full board and an allowance as soon as you get there! Of course, you also must be suitable for such an experience. I was an Au Pair for 16 weeks, then I moved to Sydney city centre and started working as the Italian representative for Australia Studycare (the above-mentioned agency). I used to help Italians with the paperwork (mainly for students) and I soon became one of the main people responsible for marketing, sales, training and collaboration proposals. I still randomly collaborate with them from Italy!
This job was easy to find but I’ve been lucky, they were looking for an Italian with a good English, and I found their job ad on Facebook!
How did you find the balance between work and travel?
I decided to stay in Sydney for nine months (as an Au Pair and then in the agency) and then travel for three months. I don’t regret anything. I had the chance to visit Sydney and its surroundings every weekend, so that now I can say I know it very well. Three months was not enough to visit all of Australia but I had never travelled alone before so it was enough for me. I’m really happy about my travel experience, and my job in the agency also contributed to it (the agency works with travel agencies so I even got some discounts).
Did you ever consider extending your visa?
As I decided to work in the city and to travel, I didn’t have time to work for the second year visa. Sometimes I think I made a mistake because I would have liked to try the unconventional experience in a farm or similar. But, at the end of the day, I don’t regret anything. I’ve lived an amazing year in Australia and all my experiences brought lots of good things!
I stayed in Australia until the very last second of my visa (actually, the plane took off some hours after the expiration of my visa), but then I travelled home to Italy. I would have liked to stop some days somewhere in South-East Asia but I didn’t have that much money left.
What advice would you give anyone considering travelling on a WHV?
- If you already know that you will want to extend your visa, or if you want to try the experience, I suggest looking for a job in farms (or similar) as soon as you get to Australia. Once you settle in a city and you’ve found your accommodation and job, it’s really hard to quit everything and start looking for a farm. Doing it in advance will save you from lots of worries (I can say that by observing lots of my friends’ experiences).
- If you don’t speak English, you don’t want to think about the paperwork or you are just confused, asking for a help from a consulting agency could be a good idea. The service is usually free and a simple chat won’t harm anybody!
- A WHV gives you the chance to do whatever you want. Once it’s done, you will never have the opportunity to ask for another so always keep that in mind and make the most of it!
Thanks so much to Agnese for sharing her working holiday experience. Agnese blogs about her working holiday and her further adventures on her blog I’ll Be Right Back. It is in Italian but for those of us bilingually challenged we’re lucky enough to live in the era of google translate, which might not do justice to Agnese’s writing but will give you a jist! As Agnese is such a good English speaking maybe she’ll consider translating some of her posts to English someday? In the mean time you can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter!