Are you dreaming of just picking up and going to another country for a while? Did you know there are legally established paths that make it possible for Americans to easily travel and work abroad in several countries?
Work and Travel visa programs, often called working holidays, allow U.S. citizens to travel to countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand with the ability to take on seasonal jobs for up to a year (in some cases longer).
Working holidays are part of a tradition of cultural diplomacy between the U.S. and numerous other nations. Have you ever bought an ice cream from a Ukrainian student on the boardwalk? Handed your roller coaster ticket to someone from Colombia at Six Flags? Worked alongside an Australian at your summer camp job? There’s a good chance they were here on an Exchange Visitor Visa! This visa allows young adults from around the world experience the best of the U.S. and earn a bit of money in the process.
Most U.S. citizens don't realize that they have similar opportunities to explore other countries with the ability to take on these kinds of seasonal jobs! It’s not necessary to have a job before traveling and in fact, most participants find a seasonal job after arriving. Here are some of the most popular working holiday options for U.S. citizens:
Australia Working Holiday Visa
U.S. citizens between 18 and 30 can get this visa online, often in a matter of days. The visa allows for up to one year of work and travel in Australia. It's possible to extend your time in Oz to two years if the participant works in tourism and hospitality or agriculture, forestry, and fishing in northern Australia for a certain length of time during the first year. Fruit picking, work in restaurants, bars, and hotels, and manual labor are common.
InterExchange programs provide job search support during working holidays, but Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) membership is also included in Australia and New Zealand so you can experience life on an organic farm at no extra cost!
International Experience Canada (IEC)
U.S. citizens between 18 and 35 can work and travel in Canada for up to one year, and it's possible to participate on the program twice. Applicants from the U.S. must apply through a private organization recognized by the IEC; it's not currently possible to apply directly through the IEC without the help of a third-party. Popular jobs include work at ski resorts, summer camp positions, hospitality jobs, and others.
Ireland Working Holiday Authorization
U.S. citizens who are 18 and older and are either current college students or have graduated within the past 12 months can apply for a working holiday visa in Ireland. There are options for a 12-month stay or a four-month stay. Many participants seek work in hospitality, tourism, or temp work in offices, among many other positions.
Need a little motivation before you set out for the Emerald Isle? Here are ten things you might not have known about Ireland.
New Zealand Working Holiday Visa
U.S. citizens between 18 and 30 can get this visa online, usually very quickly. The visa allows up to one year of work and travel in New Zealand. As of April 2017, the visa is free of charge to U.S. citizens! Common seasonal jobs includes office temping, hospitality or tourism jobs, hostel “work for accommodation,” vineyard work, and more.
Not sure if an international job is right for you? You might be surprised by the opportunities and freedom you'll experience, as well as the friends you'll make overseas! There's no better time than now to try out the expat life!
International work experience, whether career-focused or short-term casual work, will look solid on your resume and give you a leg up when you're applying for a longer term job. After all, not many people can say they succesfully moved, lived, and worked abroad! Whether you're working or traveling, you will likely find a working holiday to be transformative. Long-term experience abroad can build confidence and open our minds to new ways of looking at the world.
Have questions? Contact us - we're happy to help!
James is an education abroad professional whose career was launched at 12,000 feet, outside the Indian Himalayan village of Phey, Ladakh. He manages the InterExchange Working Abroad department and lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.