Amber Arndt - 2015 Program Participant

Why did you choose to work abroad?

I have always loved traveling, and ever since I was a little girl I always dreamed of getting paid to travel. Working abroad gave me just that right fulfillment to travel and get paid.

Beach in Australia

A beautiful view of the beach - a typical day in Australia for Amber

How did you choose Australia?

I have always wanted to visit Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback (which is locally called the Bush), and spend endless sunny days on white sand beaches. The accents are to die for too!

Why did you select Alliance Abroad Group over other work abroad placement providers?

I found them on another website promoting work travel, and they were the first organization I have ever heard of doing such a thing! I am so very glad I did. Australia taught me a lot about my worldview and changed me in a very positive way.

What were your housing arrangements like in Australia?

Housing is a bit pricey and in order to sustain a healthy paycheck, roomshare is necessary. It felt like I was living in a dorm at times, which was very fun for me. But all in all, it was a typical living situation and it was very easy to find housing.

What was a normal day like as a bartender in Australia?

It's exciting and always fun to entertain guests and make new drinks. I got to experiment with different liquors and well crafted cocktails, which are far different than their American counterpart. To work in hospitality means to cater to the guest, and there are more professional manners here. Coming from dive bars, having to wear a uniform at a bar was a different experience. 

What was the most memorable experience you had while working abroad?

I still have experiences to be had between hot air ballooning in Hunter Valley and skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef, but so far my favorite memorable experience was going to a beach called Catherine Hill, north of Sydney, with some friends. It was a secluded beach that stretched 700 meters long, and the only people on it besides me and my friends was a couple on the other end of the beach! We went snorkeling and swimming for my first beach experience in Australia.

Shark Island beach in Australia

Amber on a Shark Island day trip

What was the biggest challenge you faced abroad?

Culture separation. Even though this is an English speaking country, there are still cultural barriers between humor and regular conversation. I also came here by myself, so not having friends when I first got here presented a real challenge. Just as I am getting ready to leave is when I realized I have a good network of friends here as well.

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

Plan to have extra cash ready just in case anything happens. Things are more expensive in Australia, and I did not account for that before I arrived. I found myself spread a little thin. Also, the sun here is much more full on and stronger than the sun in America, so burning is very easy and very painful.

What are the top reasons you want to go back to Australia and work again?

It truly is paradise in every sense of the word. There is so much here to see and experience, and the people are wonderful and fun. The wages are higher and it is easier to obtain a bigger savings account because of the better wages.

How has your experience working abroad impacted your life?

It has impacted my life immensely. I have lived in a very diverse part of the world where there are people from Lithuania, Sweden, Korea, Estonia, Brazil, Greece, and Ireland! I have gotten some insight on Australian culture, and have gained much more respect for those immigrating from anywhere in the world, especially if that country speaks a different language than your native tongue.

Would you recommend Alliance Abroad to others?

Absolutely! I have already recommended the program to a few friends of mine. Everyone wants to go to Australia!

Sydney Opera House

Amber posing in front of the iconic Opera House

If you could change one thing about your experience in Australia, what would it be?

Have better housing coordination for when people land in Australia. To set up the meeting between the homeowner and the participant, or to put them in touch by phone number earlier would help. Even to have employee housing in Sydney would be ideal!

What important tips can you give to future participants of the program?

Do everything you can. Make time to go to Blue Mountains, Newtown, Cronulla, Hunter Valley, and just anywhere you can. New Zealand is just a few hours flight, and you can totally go there over the weekend!

If you could work abroad again with Alliance Abroad Group, where would you go?

I would go somewhere more rural. As much as the Sydney is a great experience, the city is not a place for me. I think next time I come with AAG I will choose to go to Queensland in a smaller populated place for sure.