Robert Hunkins - 2015 Program Participant

Cattle herd in Australia

A cattle herd being moved into yards for sorting - 70 km outside of Clermont, QLD

Why did you decide to work abroad in Australia?

I decided to work in Australia because I felt that Australia would be a way to ease into international travel. Australia and America are very similar, so I figured I would go though less difficulties when it came to employment. I also always wanted to visit Australia since I was a kid.

What set Kaya Responsible Travel apart when comparing other work abroad placement programs?

The biggest difference was that Kaya was willing and able to answer my questions. I would call Kaya off and on over the course of one year; they gave me detailed answers and helped ease my mind. Kaya also kept contact with me. Kaya would even give suggestions on what to do in Australia, when I asked.

What kind of placement were you provided with? What was a typical day like?

I was placed on three farms and all three were very unique. The first two were 30 to 50 kilometres from the nearest large town, which was large enough to buy anything needed. The third farm was very remote, I was 100 kilometres from a small roadhouse and the nearest town was 250 kilometres away.

Sand cliffs of Rainbow Beach in Australia

Sand cliffs of Rainbow Beach, QLD - this is where individuals go to relax prior to training with VisitOz

On the first property, I lived alone in a small cottage with quite a few amenities. I even had access to a car to use to get to town. I had to provide for myself. I was also given a budget for necessary purchases. The second property I lived with a roommate in a spare bedroom and everything was provided for me, including food. The third property I lived in worker’s quarters and their was a store where I could make supply purchases.

On the first property, I helped paint the interior of a farm house. The second property I would feed animals and help maintain the property. The third property I would help set up yards, put the sheep in those yards, push the sheep towards the shearers, and gather the wool. The third property was the most demanding.

What was the most memorable part of working in Australia?

The satisfaction of being able to do something new, to learn new skills and apply those skills, and to see and do things that I have heard of since I was a child. I was able to see the Great Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House, and Uluru; it was great to see those famous landmarks.  I felt that I was able to see and experience the real Australia.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your time abroad?

The learning curve for certain jobs was very steep at times. I sometimes felt unprepared, mostly because training can’t prepare you for everything. Distance from home was also a challenge due to the difference in time zones.

Kangaroos in Australia

Kangaroos on a cattle station outside of Dulacca, QLD

What makes Australia such an incredible place to work abroad in?

Australia is a beautiful country full of life. Australia has one of the highest working wages in the world; it is not uncommon makeover $20 Australian dollars per hour. However, if you are working on a farm or station you will most likely not receive this wage. Yet, you will receive other benefits, such as living quarters, and even food sometimes. Most workers also qualify for superannuation, it is a retirement savings plan required by federal law. You can also work in places and do things that you never thought that you would be able to do.

What advice would you give to others who are interested in working abroad in Australia?

Do your research. Most backpackers may spend their first month looking for work. In certain areas of Australia, especially the major cities, there will be a lot of backpackers looking for the same job positions.

How has working abroad impacted your life and career?

Working in Australia pushed my comfort zone. It made me realize that I can do so much more and that I should not settle, I should keep pushing. I now realize that the world is much bigger than just what country I live in. I am more willing to take on risks, such as working abroad again.

Sprawling landscape in Madura, Australia

Sheep station 100 to 150 km outside of Madura, WA

What were some of the key skills you were able to takeaway?

Teamwork and communication are two skills that I was able to improve. These two skills are the main difference between success and failure when it comes to working in Australia. Some of the other skills are being able to drive and use a tractor, drive a manual transmission, and drive a motorbike.

Would you recommend Kaya to others? Why?

Yes, I would recommend Kaya due to their willingness to help you. They want to help you maximize your time in Australia. Kaya can help you find information about a certain city, what tours to take, and so much more.