Getting a Working Holiday visa is becoming more and more popular as people start to realize that travelling is awesome and don’t want to stop. But seeing this incredible world is pricey and unless you’re a super hot Instagram superstar (seriously, why are there so many?!), it takes a lot to save enough cash to fund your travels.
If like me you just can’t wait to travel, doing a Working Holiday is the perfect option for becoming Dora the Explorer ASAP. So I’ve decided to start a series of interviews with fellow travellers who have done a Working Holiday anywhere in the world to help fuel your wanderlust and encourage you to do a Working Holiday, because it really is one of the best ways to broaden your mind and your experiences of the world.
The most popular countries we travellers are choosing to live and work in are the UK, Canada – this is where I started in 2015 – Australia and New Zealand, but there are so many more options for living and working abroad. This series will cover all these countries and more, including China and even Russia!
Introducing…Esteban, 27 from Argentina
Why did you chose to do a Working Holiday?
One of my dreams is to travel and discover the world, but to do it I need to work when I travel. Fortunately, Argentina has a lot of working holiday programmes with different countries, so I chose a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) for New Zealand, but my first option was not possible because it’s the most popular visa in Argentina and the world I think. So I chose to work in France.
What did you do to prepare for your WHV?
I started to look for information about how to work in France, and I found a blog with everything I needed about the visa and what to do when you arrive in the country, so I read it all and began my adventure.
Where did you go in France?
When I got to France, I started to work and make money, but I didn’t see a lot of the country. My plan was go to south for the summer — I wanted the warm weather, the beach and sun, but I didn’t know where I wanted to move to. One day, just before my flight, a friend told me about of Nice. He told me that the city was beautiful and awesome, so with that information I started with my adventure in Nice, before going to beautiful Paris, and on to Lyon.
And what about work in France? What jobs did you do to make money on your WHV?
When I tell people about my jobs I always laugh, because in Nice I had 7 jobs in 6 months during the summer! I started as a seller for the pub crawls, but it was difficult since the tourists had not arrive for summer yet, so I quit and a few days later got my first contract job washing dishes in an Irish bar. I didn’t like it but I needed the money. After two more jobs as a barman, I decided to start my own business as a personal trainer since I studied to become a PE teacher back in Argentina. Then I found a job as a cook in another city, 20 minutes from Nice by train. After that I got a job working in a 5-star restaurant. After an interesting summer season, I moved in to the French Alps and started working as a cook on a restaurant in a ski resort!
Wow! So what were your highlights of your time in France?
It’s hard to choose. When I lived in Nice, I loved the beaches and Mercantour Park to the north. In the Alps, Chamonix Mont Blanc in the winter or summer is amazing. I also travelled to Slovenia and Croatia.
Where else did you travel to?
In France I visited Paris, Lyon, Nice and Chamonix as well as travelling to Italy to Genova, Milan and Venice. I also went to Zagreb in Croatia, Ljubljana in Slovenia, Bratislava in Slovakia, Budapest in Hungary, Vienna in Austria and Berlin in Germany. I went to all of these places before my visa had ended. When my visa was finished I went to, London, Dublin, Zürich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Hannover, Hamburg, and finally Copenhagen, where I live now.
But travel is a drug — when you start, you can’t stop. You get to know new places, new people, and so your list grows with new languages to learn, new kinds of food and culture, and you want to continue with travel until you find your personal treasure.
Name 3 of your favourite places in France
You should visit the Côte d’Azur, the French Alps, and Paris to see the amazing Eiffel Tower. And you must try all of the cheese — camembert, Emmental, coquette, lou perac, Roquefort, brie with a baguette and a good wine!
Have there been any problems during your WHV?
The biggest problem I had with work in France was the language, so when started looking for a job it was hard to find something. But I’ve learned a lot of things — some French, improved my english, and I’ve grown up. I’ve learned about different transport, societies, ideologies and work, that are all totally different to Argentina.
What advice would you give to others thinking of doing a WHV to your home country?
Argentina is so huge — we’ve got the Patagonia Region, the north, the centre, with so many different places in-between. You must make Argentinian friends, the people are warm and they’ll invite you to asados (barbecues) and to play football. If you go to the big cities like Buenos Aires, Cordoba or Rosario, be careful in the street, especially at night. But Argentina is so beautiful, and it’s a good place to learn or improve Spanish.
And finally, give one travel tip to fellow expats
If you have any doubt about travelling alone, there are no problems. You’ll meet a lot of solo travellers and you’ll meet a lot of people from different countries, which is amazing!
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