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…Eva from Hannover, Germany
Why did you decide to do a Working Holiday Visa (WHV)?
I was finishing my studies in medicine at university and wanted to have a break before starting the ‘real life’ of having a demanding job with very little free time. A working holiday year allowed me to stay away for a fairly long time without spending a fortune.
Smart move. Where did you go on your WHV?
How did you go about it?
By myself. At the time there was a great website online, with all the info a German looking to do a WHV in Australia could ask for. So I read through this page in preparation. They had advice on how to get the visa, where to book the cheapest flights, where to find jobs etc.
What did you do to prepare?
I had saved some money, but I was planning to work as a nanny so I knew I wouldn’t have to pay for a room or food. So I didn’t need excessive amounts. I researched where I wanted to live and work, mostly deciding by weather and short travel opportunities for weekend trips.
Very wise! How did you get your job?
For the first 8 months, I worked as a nanny. I had lots of experience from babysitting and being an Aupair for 1 year after high school. Also, I had just finished med school and I guess families find that reassuring. I applied at www.greataupair.com and could choose the family I wanted to work for.
After that, I worked as a jillaroo (Aussie slang for cowgirl) for 3 months on different ranches, but these were unpaid jobs, just room, and board. But I had a blast, met great people and overall had a good time.
Yee-hah! What was your highlight of your Working Holiday Visa?
My favourite job was on one of the ranches, chasing cattle, branding, vaccinating. I also checked and fixed fences, cooked dinner with the other girls and spent the rest of the time chilling by the fireplace.
How much travelling did you do whilst on your WHV?
I travelled quite a lot, lots of weekend trips, a few weeks here and there up and down the East coast of Australia and I took the last month to travel to Vanuatu in the South Pacific. To me, it was more important to really experience the Australian culture and not to travel as much as possible. Living in a family as a nanny and also on the ranches, I got to know different Aussie lifestyles.
Have there been any downsides to a WHV?
To me, no. It gave me the freedom to do exactly what I wanted.
What have you learned from the experience?
So many things! How to cook dinner for 8 people, how to ride a horse, how to brand a calf, how to build a proper fire. To go with my gut when picking a host family (and generally when people are involved). That I can rely on myself to figure things out (although I really learned that already when au-pairing in the US years before).
What advice would you give to others thinking of doing a WHV to Australia?
Try not to rely on fruit picking or hostel jobs. You will end up meeting only other travellers, no Aussies. Don’t go with friends, again, you will not meet the locals. Try to save money before you go, so you can be picky about the jobs you are offered.
Share one travel tip for Down Under
Don’t focus on the big cities, the countryside is so much more special, especially in the West.
And finally, name 3 of your favourite places or things to do in Australia
Renting a 4 wheeler and driving around Fraser Island
Diving the Great Barrier Reef
Exploring the suburbs of Melbourne