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The benefits of a working holiday

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 13 May 2019


Who wouldn’t love a nice getaway on the beaches of Hawaii, or an enlightening trip to the ancient ruins of Greece? Everyone fancies a holiday now and then – but what if you could earn while you’re at it too? 

This is known as a “working holiday”: an overseas opportunity for the visitor to temporarily work in their chosen country. This helps them earn while vacationing, allowing them to explore their destination for an extended period of time.

Such visitors have granted Australia with numerous economical benefits; through their Working Holiday visa program, tourists are able to extend their stay in the country, and thus, spend more. 

Studies show that working holiday visitors spend over $10,000 per trip to Australia, about two and a half times more than they earn. This has contributed billions to the Australian economy and has created tens of thousands of new jobs for Australians. 

But other than the nationwide financial perks of such programs – taking a working holiday can provide the individual with plenty of social and career opportunities. The Working Holiday visa program also provides Australians with similar working opportunities overseas. 

If you’re keen on travelling the world, and developing yourself both personally and professionally while you’re at it, here’s why a working holiday may just be for you: 

What are the benefits of a working holiday?

  1. Personal growth.
  2. Cost-efficiency.
  3. Professional development.
  4. New friendships.

1. Personal growth.

personal growth concept

It’s no surprise that a trip overseas can enlighten you with new cultural insights. By extending your visit through a working holiday visa, you have the opportunity of truly immersing yourself in all the country’s sights, people, and way of life.

A typical, two-week vacation will simply provide you with enough time to snap a selfie from one landmark to the next – but a working holiday gives you the more authentic experience of living like a “local”

Developing this cultural awareness will surely benefit you in a professional environment – where people are likely to come from all corners of the globe. 

Of course, with the opportunity to meet and interact with new people comes the opportunity to improve your interpersonal skills. Not only will you be pushed out of your comfort zone to socialise with strangers, but you’ll learn new styles of communication and body language. 

Of course, in case you may need to move around to find employment, a working holiday helps you be more organised and flexible. 

Benjamin Costes of the international consultancy company, Gartner, recalls a working holiday in New Zealand where he found a job in the North island while living in the South. 

“A lot of people with a [working holiday visa] work on short term contracts of only a few weeks. So they have to move to other cities and be flexible and find new contracts in farms, construction, or hospitality, for example,” he explains. 

2. Cost-efficiency.

clear piggy bank with coins

The ability to save while vacationing is one of the more appealing benefits of a working holiday. Australian travel blog, “A Traveller’s Footsteps”, notes that starting a job overseas allows you to successfully save on your holiday budget – and possibly accumulate enough for more future travels! 

Kate Entwistle of the RideBooker blog also discusses this, stating how the stable flow of income helps make your vacation feel a whole lot more “affordable”. Having other cost-effective holiday plans can double this financial benefit – such as opting for remote areas, public transport, and hostel accommodation.  

However, it’s easy to also fall into a rut of “not having enough time” due to your new work schedule. To remedy this, have a solid travel plan before setting out. 

This could involve saving up enough for all the leisure, tourist-y activities you plan to do, so that part-time or casual shifts are enough to support you. You could also organize a tight-knit schedule of both your shifts and tourist excursions – slotting them in on the weekends or evenings. 

Alternatively, you can have ordinary, full-time working life for the first few months of your stay, before taking a full-time vacation for all your planned travel adventures.

3. Professional development. 

business men discussing with laptop

A 2014 UK study of working holiday travellers revealed that 12 out of 15 respondents returned from such experiences with largely developed professional skillsets. Among these included their independence, problem-solving skills, determination, and “intercultural competence” – the ability to work with others from varying backgrounds and cultures (as mentioned above). 

These newfound, refined proficiencies paved the road for greater employment prospects; interview participants described how these skills, along with international working experience, brought much value to their CV.   

If your dream job lies on the other end of the globe, spending a working holiday in the country may just get you one step closer to securing the role. Australian recruitment agency Michael Page describes how being employed in an overseas industry can demonstrate your knowledge of their “local market”, scoring you brownie points among potential employers in the area. 

Taking this great step towards pursuing your ideal career can also serve as evidence of your commitment and determination. It proves that you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone – a trait looked fondly upon by many employers. 

4. New friendships.

friends hanging out

Finally, going on an insightful, international trip gives you the chance to make new friends from different parts of the globe. These new friendships could very well turn into lifelong connections, on both a personal or professional level.

Gaining work experience overseas lets you expand your network with international experts who can open doors to future career opportunities. If your country is more advanced in your chosen industry, having these contacts can help keep you updated on the latest developments in your field. 

Of course, making these new connections also brings a whole new level of fun to your trip. Travelling solo can get a bit lonely, but once you hit it off with a few locals – you’ll have regular bar mates, nightlife company, or tour companions in no time. 

Such friendships are hard to make on short-lived travels, but once you start experiencing a regular, day-to-day lifestyle in a new country, it’s far easier getting to truly know others and developing these close ties. Optimising your accommodation – such as living in a shared house or hostel – is a great place to start.  

Looking to work overseas?

beach setting with umbrella and chairs

Working holidays are excellent for people keen on worldly adventure; who, at the same time, wish to keep themselves financially afloat. Though while these monetary benefits are major benefit, working holiday travellers will also often find plenty of personal and professional opportunities along the way. Such experiences thus not only broaden your social perspectives, but your employment prospects, too. 

If you’re looking to gain some work experience overseas, you may want to consider upskilling to improve your job prospects. Upskilled offers over 100 qualifications in a range of industries: from customer contact and retail to business and community services. Enquire today and discover the perfect course for you. 
 

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