“I am a firm believer that travel is good for the soul.”
If you are overcome by a sense of wanderlust and can’t stop fantasizing about a life abroad, you need to give in to the desire to explore and just GO. Don’t over-think it. Don’t stress about it. Just take a chance and see what happens.
The great thing is, there are a lot of other young people who feel the same way I do. Looking for work overseas is a growing trend among students graduating from college. Maybe you studied abroad, had the time of your life and are ready to hit the road again. More and more young people are packing their bags, grabbing their passports and traveling the globe after graduation.
Teaching English overseas is one of the more popular options for recent graduates hoping to move abroad. While teaching abroad is an amazing opportunity and there are many great programs out there, it’s not for everyone. You may be nervous about the idea of teaching or are looking for a travel opportunity that is a bit more flexible. If you’re keen on traveling but hesitant about teaching, consider applying for a Working Holiday Visa!
The lesser-known Working Holiday Visa is a great alternative for those who want to travel after graduation independently. Working Holidays are generally meant for people between the ages of 18 to 30 who have a Bachelor’s degree. Once you have your visa, you can live and work in a foreign country for roughly a year. You can spend your time abroad however you like; working, traveling, sightseeing or maybe moving to a different city every three months. The Working Holiday program is the perfect solution for those who are excited to travel outside the lines.
There are many countries involved in the Working Holiday scheme, which means people from all over the world can take part. Depending on where you are from, however, will determine where you can legally travel to. Not all countries have communal visas. For example, if you’re from the USA, you can do a Working Holiday in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or South Korea. If you’re Canadian, however, you can travel to the previous countries in addition to Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Italy and more.
Your nationality will also determine how long your visa is valid. An American visa in Ireland is valid for one year, while the same Canadian visa can be valid for two years. Some visas are renewable, while others are only for a very specific period of time and non-renewable. For me to list all the combinations of different countries involved, where they can travel to and for how long would take the longest time, ever. If you’re intrigued by the idea, a quick Google search will tell you which Working Holiday schemes are available to your home country. The website www.anyworkanywhere.com is a good place to start!
One of the best parts of the Working Holiday Visa, however, is that it’s fairly easy to obtain. Generally you will need to be between the ages of 18 and 30, have a Bachelor’s degree, have a certain amount of money in the bank and a valid passport. Once these documents have been approved, you need to prove that you have purchased round-trip tickets to and from your country and provide health insurance information. That’s it. Pretty straightforward, right? Certain countries may have more requirements (like must have graduated from college within the past 12 months,) but for the most part, that’s it. And let me tell you something, if I could handle getting that paperwork together, so can you!
It’s safe to say that I’m a travel junkie. I studied abroad three times in college, I’ve volunteered overseas and I Google flight prices for fun in my free time. That’s why when college graduation was approaching, I knew I wanted to live abroad. I had a lot of friends who were applying to Teach English Abroad programs, and thought I would look into it as well.
No matter what program I found though, or what country I researched, I just couldn’t get excited about the idea of teaching. For a little while, I felt like if I didn’t want to teach abroad, that must mean I didn’t want to live abroad. Wrong. I love the idea of traveling and living in a foreign country, I just have no idea how to write a lesson plan and am not fond of small children with jam hands (small children are just always sticky, am I right?!) That’s why when I heard about the Working Holiday Visa, I immediately latched on to the idea. This was the perfect alternative for me to travel and live abroad the way I wanted to.
I’m currently living in Ireland with a Working Holiday Visa. I’ve only been here for a little more than a month at this point, but let me share a little tidbit with you: it’s awesome. Moving to Ireland was a big deal for me. I’ve traveled a lot in the past, but almost always with an organized program, such as a study abroad. My Working Holiday is the first time where I am not only traveling independently of an organization, but am traveling completely solo. It’s been a big change, but completely worth it.
My favorite part of this visa so far is that I’m getting to really experience what it’s like to live in Ireland. Heck, I AM living in Ireland! I have three Irish roommates, a job, a bank account, I’m making friends and I’m traveling around Ireland during my days off. The flexibility of the Working Holiday Visa is the perfect fit for me. I can live and work in Ireland for up to 12 months, and am not obligated to stay for the entirety of my visa (the only way I’ll go home early is if I run out of money!) I can also leave and re-enter the country as many times as I want during my visa, so I’m not locked down here if I want to travel outside the country on the weekend. This visa allows me to shape this experience however I want it, and I love that.
It’s only been a month, but I can already feel myself becoming more independent. When I arrived here I didn’t have a job, didn’t have a place to live and didn’t know anyone. But so far, it’s been grand! Trying to find a place to live, find a job and finish up your visa paperwork may seem daunting, but you can do it. It’s really not as hard as it sounds, I swear!
And you know what’s even better? This one’s for mom and dad- I’ve been on several job interviews here, and each interviewer has commented on how brave they think I am for taking a chance and moving to a foreign country alone. They have said that it made me stand out from all the other applicants. One person even told me that out of over 100 applicants for the job, I was the only person who got a call back, solely because of my visa and this experience. Employers will be impressed if you take a chance and do something crazy and independent, I swear.
I’m sure teaching English abroad is an amazing experience. I have several friends who have done it (or are doing it now!) and love it. I have no doubt in my mind that they are doing incredible things and truly enjoying themselves. But at this moment in time, teaching isn’t the best fit for me. That’s why I’m so glad my friend casually mentioned this thing called a Working Holiday Visa to me last summer. Thanks to her, I’ve found a great alternative to teaching. And I don’t even have to clean up small children’s jam hands!
About the Author
Sarah Morgan is a twenty-something, recent graduate of the University of Delaware. During her time at UD she studied abroad three times in Puerto Rico, Greece, and England, among other travels. Sarah is a self-diagnosed travel junkie and will be moving to Ireland in August with a Working Holiday Visa. Keep up with her on Twitter @SarahMorgan65.