Today on GoAbroad, we feature a guest post from Kelly Dunning--a travel writer for Global Visas-- where she shares her tips for making the time to explore a new country while working abroad. As a Canadian who has worked abroad both in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, Kelly's extensive experiences and travels make these tips essential to add to your list!
Working abroad is the ideal way to immerse yourself in another culture for a longer period of time. Making money during your stay allows you to visit for much longer than a holiday and going to work gives you a chance to make friends with locals and become part of the community rather than being just a tourist.
Many countries, including Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK, offer working holiday visas which allow you to work and travel within the country for 12 months. The possibilities for these types of visas are endless and they open up the opportunity for a huge range of great experiences, from working in a ski resort in the Canadian Rockies to shearing sheep on a farm in New Zealand to serving cocktails at a beach bar in Australia.
One of the challenges of working abroad is finding the right balance between your job and your travels. You will probably want to work for a significant part of your stay so that you don’t run out of money, but you also want to leave some time for exploring your destination. If you spend all of your time working, you won’t get a chance to travel around the country and see its attractions.
Here are some tips that will help you find the ideal balance between work and travel on your working holiday:
Prioritize Which Parts of the Country You Want to See
Chances are that you will not have time during your working holiday to explore every single square inch of the country where you are working abroad. However, you will have plenty of opportunities to see the destinations that are the most important to you. Before you leave on your working abroad adventure, do some research and write down a list of the top five or ten must-see destinations that you are the most excited about. Whenever you have a chance to travel you can head straight to one of these high-priority destinations. This will help you make sure that you don’t feel like you have missed anything when you return home.
Take Short Weekend Trips to Places Nearby
You don’t always have to take a week off from work to explore a different city when working abroad. Instead you can master the art of the weekend adventure while still clocking in perfect attendance at your job. When I was working abroad in England I caught a bus up to Edinburgh, Scotland one Friday evening in August after work. I spent an amazing weekend eating haggis, listening to bagpipes and enjoying the art and culture of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I would also take day trips on the train to other nearby cities to see what they had to offer. While 48 hours is not always enough time to truly soak up the culture of a city, it is certainly enough to see the highlights. Look around for destinations that are only a few hours away so that you can head out Friday night and have all day Saturday and Sunday to explore before heading back on Sunday night.
Give Yourself Extra Time Before and After
Another strategy is to leave yourself some extra time before or after your period of employment. For example, if you have a working holiday visa for New Zealand which is valid for 12 months, you can work for 10 months instead and schedule a month of travel before you start your job and another month of travel afterwards. If you spent the first month traveling the North Island and the second month traveling the South Island, you would have lots of time to get a great taste of what this beautiful country has to offer.
Work in Multiple Locations
When you are working abroad, try to find a job at a company that exists in several different locations around the country. If you do, you can ask to be transferred to another branch of the company in a different city partway through your stay, giving you a chance to explore a bit more. You could also find a job that allows you to travel around the country. For example, in New Zealand I met some people who worked as fundraisers for the environmental charity Greenpeace and their job involved driving around to different cities and collecting donations. A job that requires traveling around the country could be a great way to see sights while earning money at the same time.
Ideally, with these tips you will be able to return home having seen the country and also having worked enough to cover your expenses. Finding the right balance between working and traveling while on a working holiday can be a challenge. When it comes down to it, the perfect arrangement will be totally unique to you and what you want to get out of your experience.
Interested in working abroad? Explore all the thousands of opportunities available on GoAbroad.com!
Kelly Dunning is a writer for Global Visas, the world’s leading authority on immigration and your best source for working holiday visas. She is also a coffee-lover, very bad singer and international pub quiz winner. She was born in Alberta, Canada and has worked abroad in New Zealand and the UK.