What is a Working Holiday?
By James Bridge
An open ended adventure
A Working Holiday allows someone to visit a country for longer than the average tourist with the opportunity to take on short-term jobs to save money or at least help fund the trip. Many people seek short-term jobs in multiple regions as a way to explore that country in-depth. In some cases a working holiday also refers to the specific type of visa needed to embark on this style of trip. The idea is to have an adventure, make friends from around the world, and try new things!
Where can I go?
U.S. citizens can travel on a working holiday in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.
What are the requirements?
Each country has specific requirements but generally the minimum age is 18.
Australia and New Zealand each have an upper age limit of 30, whereas Canada’s is 35. There is no student status requirement. In Ireland and South Korea, there is no age cap but applicants must be students or recent students. Singapore requires that you’re 18-25 and a student at a top-200 ranking university. Further to this, U.S. citizens traveling to Canada must work with a Recognized Organization.
How do I find work and housing?
You’ll find lots of seasonal jobs! Common ones include waitstaff, fruit picking, hotel or resort jobs, office temp work, and cleaning. With a good attitude and some flexibility, it’s not difficult to find short-term work. Many providers offer job listings, connections with employers, one-on-one consultation regarding the job search, resume review, and related services.
As for housing, agencies like InterExchange have accommodation included or available upon arrival for a set length of time to help travelers with the transition upon arrival. Beyond that many travelers like to share apartments, or if traveling, perhaps rent a camper van or go camping occasionally. In some job industries such as agriculture, au pairing and sometimes hospitality, housing is often included.
Can I find professional jobs related to my career?
It’s possible, but generally on a working holiday the easiest jobs to find are going to be seasonal and won’t require much previous experience. This means almost anyone meeting the basic criteria can participate! That being said if you have a field of interest, at the very least you should consider site visits, informational calls, and perhaps volunteering to pick up experience. Meanwhile you can work seasonal jobs to have some income. If you’re pro-active you may just land something related to your career. If not, you’ll still be developing invaluable intercultural and international workforce skills that employers love to see.
Can I travel with friends?
For those traveling with a friend or partner, working holidays are ideal since you can plan together where and when you travel and work. Since there are so many solo travelers doing working holidays it’s not difficult to make new friends. We recommend signing up for group activities like surf or diving courses early in your program, which can help you make new connections!
Learn about life abroad
Read about the adventures others have had and get excited for yours.