For most of my life people had been assuring me that I had “all the time in the world” to make important career decisions. When I entered my final months of university in the UK, something shifted and suddenly everyone’s favorite question was “what’s next?”
Some of my friends started to make plans to take up graduate jobs; others to pursue their master’s degree. Their plans sounded exciting, but I knew that I wasn’t ready to settle down in England. Instead, I applied for a working holiday visa and, after graduation, I packed up and moved to Vancouver. Since then, I have taken up lots of new activities that I never thought I’d try, like snowboarding, surfing and SUPing. I worked as a ski instructor over the winter and met lots of amazing people. I’ve also made plans to spend the remainder of the year travelling in Canada, the USA and South East Asia. Moving here was exactly the right move, and gave me the time that I needed to think through my next step.
If you’re about to graduate from high school or university, a working holiday visa could be perfect for you too.
- You can really immerse yourself in a country.
- It’s great to be able to travel the world for a year without worrying about money. A working holiday visa means that you can work to fund your travels, and break even at the end.
- It looks great on your resume and demonstrates that you can take initiative.
- You will learn lots of new skills and broaden your mindset; meeting people with totally different interests and hobbies to you means that you also have the opportunity to try lots of new things!
There are many countries that young Canadians (aged 18-35) can visit on a working holiday visa. Popular options include New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. However there are also lots of other destinations that have lots to offer – For example, you could visit the Czech Republic, Hong Kong or Japan. It is worth noting that these countries have different visa requirements, so be sure to do your research on your country of choice before applying for the visa. For more information about where would be the right fit for you, visit the Government of Canada’s website.
The application process varies slightly from country to country, so it is worth checking the immigration website for the country that you want to visit. Take a look at the Government of Canada’s website, where you can select your country of choice from the drop down menu.
Saying this, there are generally two main ways to apply for a working holiday visa. The first is to apply online through their immigration page, and the other way is to apply through a Recognized Organization (ROs). For a fee, ROs will help you find a job and a place to stay in your chosen country, as well as assisting you in the visa process. They will also sometimes arrange social events for you and other people on working holiday visas in your country.
I chose to not use an RO because I wanted to save money. It worked out well for me and I have not had any problems getting work since arriving in Canada. However, the process was a little complicated and took a long time (6 months!), so it is understandable that some people want the additional security of a company helping them out with it.
Sometimes people have the perception that it is unwise to take a year out of studying or being career-focused to travel. However, having the opportunity to travel and expand your perspective by meeting people from all walks of life is important. It is always possible to travel, but realistically it is often easier when you are young and have less responsibilities holding you back, and graduate jobs and master’s degrees will still be there when you get home!