Have you ever thought about leaving home to experience life in a different country? If you’ve ever wanted to live abroad, then you should consider moving somewhere on a working holiday visa! There are so many jobs that you can get around the world – and no, you don’t have to work in a cafe or hostel!
When people think about jobs you can get on a working holiday visas, they think about young twenty-something-backpackers who can only get a job in hostels or cafes but this is so untrue!
When I left Canada to do a working holiday visa in Australia, I was 29 and NOT looking for that kind of job. I wanted a “real” job, something that would give me a different work experience and pay the bills!
I landed a job as an account manager and had such an incredible experience in Australia while getting legitimate work experience to beef up my resume and skills.
There are tons of jobs available to working holiday makers, and lots of agencies that will help you find a great job too!
I’ve teamed up with some bloggers who’ve done working holiday visas all over the world to share their experiences working abroad (not in cafes or hostels).
They share how to get a working holiday visa, how much the working holiday visa costs and even how to get a job when you arrive!
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New Zealand – Office Administrator
I recently completed a year-long working holiday in New Zealand. It was an incredible experience as I worked and saved for the first 6 months, and then I bought a van, converted it into a campervan, and then traveled and lived in my van in it for the next almost 6 months!
I did incredible hikes through the landscapes they filmed the Lord of the Rings on, relaxed on amazing beaches, and had a fantastic time building memories of a lifetime.
Getting the visa was really easy. I applied online and paid $245 NZD. The application came back successful within a couple of days of applying!
When I arrived in New Zealand, I first got a job in Auckland working in an office as an administrator.
There are tons of different agencies in Auckland around to help people with office experience get a temporary position that has ideal hours with good wages ($20+ NZD/hr to start).
If you have previous reception, administrative, or clerical experience then getting a job in Auckland is very easy.
But for me, Auckland didn’t seem right. I came to New Zealand for a working “holiday” and getting right back in the office didn’t make it feel that way.
So after 6 weeks, I packed my bags and moved to Queenstown – a tourist town in the south.
In Queenstown, I got a job selling designer sunglasses in a store to the rich tourists who visited. It was fantastic as I had a lot of fun at work.
During my time off, I went to the mountains to ski with other working holiday makers. Queenstown is the perfect place to go on a working holiday as there is tons of hospitality work, and in the winter, jobs are also available on the ski slopes themselves!
To me, New Zealand (and Queenstown in particular) was the perfect place for a working holiday as it was a great balance of work and travel all in one place!
♥ Bailey | DestinationlessTravel.com
Scotland – the edinburgh Zoo
I chose Scotland to do a working holiday visa for several reasons.
Firstly, it’s a gorgeous and incredibly historic place. Before I lived there, I used to look at pictures of Scotland and feel mesmerised. The misty skies that rolled over lush green hills dotted with abandoned ruins of castles, abbeys and places filled with a dark history called out to me.
I knew it was the place I wanted to be.
Before I made the move, living abroad was always something I dreamed of doing. I didn’t want to just visit a place.
I wanted to experience it like a local and meet the people you see in passing, living their lives as you walk by as an outsider on holiday.
I moved to Scotland from Canada on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa. It’s a temporary visa for people aged 18-30 who want a working holiday.
The visa costs £244, but if you want to visit parts of the UK outside Scotland, you have to cover additional costs. There’s a £300 immigration health surcharge for any medical needs you may have while living abroad. You also need to prove to the government that you have £1,890 in savings as a means of supporting yourself until you find a job.
While on a working holiday, most people choose jobs at bars, restaurants and hostels. However, Scotland has plenty of other kinds of temporary jobs that foreign workers can apply for through temp agencies.
When I first moved to Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, I decided to get an office job through one of these agencies but found something that appealed to me more.
I didn’t want a job in a bar, restaurant, office or hostel. I had my eyes set on a different kind of role — I wanted to work at Edinburgh Zoo.
The idea of working at one of the city’s major attractions was beyond exciting. I went onto Edinburgh Zoo’s website and sent off my CV. Soon after, I was hired as a retail assistant in the zoo’s gift shop and I never looked back.
Moving to Scotland was one of the scariest and hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. But it was incredibly rewarding. I learned so much about myself, developed life-long friendships and gained lots of self-confidence which made me a much happier person. It makes me so happy to now call Scotland my home-away-from-home.
♥ Crystal | Wanderingcrystal.com
U.S.A – Ski Instructor
The best job I had while working abroad on a working holiday visa was as a ski instructor in Lake Tahoe in California.
The working holiday visa I had was a J1 visa for the USA. A J1 visa is for students who can go to the states during their summer break (or one full year during or immediately after study) and work in most job fields.
I had this visa 3 separate times over a 4-year period. A requirement with this visa is you must have a sponsor company help you with your visa. The company I chose to go through was CCUSA.
You can find the best one to suit you by popping J1 sponsor and your nationality into Google.
CCUSA has two options you can sign up for, either the placement or the independent program. If you sign up to the independent program you are required to find your own job, while in the placement program they find one for you.
The cost is around $1500 AUD for a year and includes their mandatory travel insurance. This visa is available to people from certain South American countries, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
As CCUSA found me my job the first time I went to the USA, I went back to the same work place on my return visits.
To find a job without using a sponsor company you can go on to the ski resorts website and scroll down to the employment or careers button at the bottom. Reach out to the Human Resources department and see if they hire people on J1 visa’s.
You can work as a ski instructor without any certification, but bear in mind you will be teaching beginners on the flat areas or on the magic carpets. I choose to get certified my first year and went on to work 7 winters between Australia and the USA.
The experience has been one of the best things I have ever done. I met incredible people, worked outside and taught kids to do something they loved.
Lake Tahoe is such a fun place to live in. There are always festivals and concerts, many house parties throughout the season and you get to ski on your days off. You can also get a job in the ski resorts of Australia while on a WHV.
♥ Erin | Curiouslyerin.com
Australia – Account Manager
Australia is the perfect place to do a working holiday visa. There are so many places to choose from but if you want to make the most money, have the best weather and be less than 30 minutes from one of the most famous beaches in the world then Sydney is the place to be.
It was difficult choosing between Melbourne and Sydney, but ultimately we chose Sydney for the weather and beaches! Sydney is a beautiful city and while it can be a little expensive, there are also tons of free things to do in Sydney!
As Canadians, getting a working holiday visa for Australia was really easy and costs around $440 CDN. Unfortunately for us, since we applied for the visa while we were traveling in Brazil, we had to do some medical tests from the specific approved places and that cost a little more but the process was still quite straight forward.
If you’re planning to travel before moving down under like we did, get your visa first so you don’t have to do the medical exam. You have up to a year after it’s approved to start your working holiday visa and it doesn’t start until the day you land in Australia.
I submitted my resume to a career agency called People2People and within 2 weeks started a job in the CBD (Central business district) at a corporate company as a receptionist.
It was amazing! I was only a five minute walk from the iconic opera house and would walk down to the harbour during my lunch breaks to enjoy the views.
I continued looking for jobs on Indeed.com and Seek.com.au as this was only a temporary gig (3 weeks long). A week later I got an interview through indeed and then got hired as an account manager for a marketing company.
Working in marketing was an amazing experience and it gave me a completely different type of work experience since my background is in retail management.
You really don’t have to settle for hospitality jobs when you’re on a working holiday visa. You can get a job doing anything! There are so many companies who are specifically looking for working holiday makers and temporary positions, so finding work is easy!
Many agencies that will help you get a great paying job in offices – or in any field you prefer.
My husband even landed a job working for the government with the help of a career agency!
I definitely recommend going to Australia on a working holiday visa to enjoy the country and make some good money too!
I hope this has inspired you to take the plunge and apply for a working holiday visa so you can experience a new job and what it’s like living abroad like a local!
I know it can be scary and saving for a trip this long can be difficult so check out this post on how we saved money for travel to help you get started! We saved over $30K to travel before landing in Australia to start working, it wasn’t easy but it’s really not as hard as you think!
Remember, tou’re really NOT limited to “backpacker” jobs like cafes, or hostels – you can absolutely get a “real” job with the help of agencies and some good old fashion luck using sites like Indeed!
Working holiday visas are the perfect way to explore a country while making some money! Since you can stay in the country for up to a year with a working holiday visa, many people like to divide the time working and traveling.
For example, you could work for 9 months then travel for 3 months, or however you decide to break it up!
If this helped, or if you have any questions about jobs you can get on a working holiday visa, let me know in the comments below!
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