So, my partner Ian and I are currently working our way around the world on Working Holiday Visas. We started with Canada in 2013, and are due to set off to New Zealand in just over 2 weeks. Our future plans include returning for a second year in Canada, and potentially working in Japan. Have you ever thought about going on a Working Holiday? If you’re between the ages of 18-35, here’s 5 reasons why you should really consider it!
1. Travel changes you
I know it’s a massive cliche and everyone says it, but it really, really does. And as far as I can see, it changes you in a good way. Traveling, whether alone or with friends or a partner, pushes you into situations with which you are unfamiliar – you are in a new country, with a different culture and surrounded by strangers. It pushes you to be confident and decisive, and to utilize the skills that you have, and in return you get a raft of new experiences and things you never even imagined you would do, long-lasting friendships and wonderful memories.
Case in point: I used to be a shy little thing and found that our first Working Holiday pushed me to be more outgoing, adventurous and daring, to the point where I feel able to brush aside the shy label, and become the more confident, happy and carefree person I feel I am today.Our year away made me reflect on my strength’s and weaknesses – I am totally awesome on being organised, my Canada Lists were immensely useful and am replicating them for New Zealand, but sometimes my apathy/procrastination to get started on things and keeping at them can be detrimental and is something I am working on.
2.You can only do it when you’re young!
Working Holiday Visas are a limited time offer – with most working holidays only available to those aged 18-30 (it goes up to 35 with New Zealand) there’s only so long this opportunity is open to you. When you speak to people about travel in general, a heck of a lot of people say how they wish they had traveled more when they were younger, and a lot of the younger people say ‘I wish I could do something like that.’ And those that have traveled? Well, I haven’t heard of one say that they regret it! The beauty of it is that you can do it, it’s really not as difficult as it seems, but it’s a limited time offer so if it’s something you think you would potentially be interested in, definitely look into it sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.
3. It makes you more interesting
Working in another country looks great on your CV/resume, and definitely becomes a talking point. Working Holidays are still fairly unusual, so it can make you stand out from the crowd, and you tend to find people are interested in you, and it creates a great opening for conversation. Friends and family from home want to know what you’re up to, people in your new country hear your accent and want to know where you are from and what you are doing, and it definitely opens the doorway for more opportunities.
4. Making Transatlantic friends
Making friends in other countries is one of the most satisfying parts about Working Holidays. Rather than just a holiday where you tend to stick to conversing with your travel companions, on a Working Holiday you have time to make real, long lasting friendships and to learn about other peoples lives and cultures. You have the time to see aspects of your country from a more local point of view, to go off the beaten track and really explore, and new friends can show you their favorite places to eat, drink and hang out. People I met in Vancouver have since spread out across the world, to places including back to England, Calgary, Montreal and Japan. And with another year in New Zealand I’m pretty stoked about making new friends in the southern hemisphere as well.
5. See how other people live
Working Holidays help you to appreciate the things about your home country – you are away long enough to miss certain things immensely (pubs!) and to realise some things you have been taking completely for granted (hello NHS and reasonably priced phone contracts!) It also lets you see things which actually kind of suck about your country and wish you can change. (Here I run the risk of being way too ‘In Vancouver they do this, in Vancouver they do that,’ but honestly their public transport was spot on, their cinemas were cooler, their mountains put ours to shame and you don’t look like a weirdo by being healthy. Just saying.) Experiencing a different country and city, and a different lifestyle teaches you a lot about the things which are important to you, and what’s really just the fluff. You’ll try new things which you’ll love and miss when you leave, and you’ll find things which you disagree with, and in the end you’ll be better informed about the destination and yourself.
So what do you think, does a Working Holiday sound like something you might like to do?