Fancy a career break but don’t want to stop working? Desperate to see the world but can’t fund your travels? Working holidays are a great way to earn while you travel and give you the perfect opportunity to network, acquire new skills and boost your CV. Not only is the scope for personal development huge, you’ll also get the chance to meet some amazing people, perhaps learn a new language and gratify your desire for adventure, not to mention bring a sought-after level of expertise to a new country. Sound tempting? There are all sorts of reasons why people choose to take working holidays, so whether you’re a bank manager who’s always wanted to teach English or a student looking to intern somewhere further afield, we’ve selected the best ideas to inspire you in 2013...
For an Alternative Gap Year Experience. . .
Not sure which career path to take? Thinking of taking a gap year? Sites offering to help you find paid work abound, but you’ll need to check countries’ visa requirements first. While New Zealand and Australia offer 12-month working holiday visas for 18-30 year olds, the USA, for example, has a more complicated application process, so it’s worth doing your research. Sites like RealGap and GapYearDirectory guide you through a huge range of employment opportunities abroad, from interning in India to training as a camp councillor in Canada.
If the idea of summer camps inspires you, then where better to toast marshmallows on the campfire and lead hiking excursions up pine-decked mountains than in the USA? Your nine-week placement as a camp councillor with Camp America allows you to earn enough money to travel for up to three weeks after you finish work, meaning you’ll have amassed a unique set of experiences in the field of teaching, leadership and peer support and had the opportunity to sightsee!
For Kick-Starting your Career . . .
Perhaps you’re a recent graduate looking for a unique experience in your field of choice? There are plenty of opportunities to intern abroad, usually with free weekends for travel and cultural immersion, and while you may not always be reimbursed, your cultural awareness and understanding of the complexities of your chosen career will be boosted considerably. As a student or graduate, you will bring valuable expertise to the job in hand; whether you take up a medical placement in Africa or a law internship in India, you’re bound to make a difference when you travel.
Career breaks are becoming more and more accepted these days, and while the idea of trying something totally new appeals to many, others are keener to pursue their career trajectory somewhere more exotic. If you feel you could put your training and expertise to good use abroad, it helps to consider country profiles and trusted job listings that match your skills to available positions.
Often, gaining some paid work experience in a field such as retail, tourism management, engineering, finance or business administration abroad can provide the perfect gateway to your chosen career. Simply working in a different environment with a range of people can work wonders for your personal development, not to mention your CV; having to think on your feet both at work and in a new place is looked on extremely favourably by potential employers.
For a Well-Earned Break . . .
Didn’t get the chance to satisfy your inner-nomad when you were young? It’s never too late to take a few months – even a year – away from work to assess what you really want out of life, so why not get into the great outdoors and try your hand at fruit picking? Because there’s such a huge demand for labourers, salaries are competitive and employment benefits exceptional, and what’s more you get to live an active lifestyle by day, earn a wage and spend the warm evenings getting to know the locals! Sound better than a 12-hour day at the office? From the beautiful olive groves of Greece to the bountiful orchards of France, when it comes to a well-earned career break, there’s no time like the present!
If you’d rather do something a bit more sociable, a working holiday in a bar, hotel or restaurant might be for you. You’ll get plenty of opportunity to meet interesting people and really get to know the local area. Besides, what better way to extend your travels than by acquiring a set of skills that can be transferred to any hospitality setting in the world?
Of course, youth hostels are like honey pots to the seasoned traveller, so to meet great friends, get the lowdown on what’s new in the travelling world and spend time in an exciting city or spectacular landscape, why not consider a finding a job in a hostel? If you’re a budding linguist, what better way to hone your skills than in a youth hostel in your country of choice?
Alternatively, if you’re a native English speaker, your language is bound to work in your favour: most travellers have recourse to the English language when communicating with hostel staff, especially in countries the mother tongue of which is unlikely to be widely studied. Expect no more than minimum wage in the hospitality industry, but reap the ample rewards that working with international travellers has to offer!
For a Fresh Start . . .
If a total career change is on the cards, look no further than teaching English abroad. While ‘TEFL’ has become the favoured acronym of the industry, for the best chances of getting hired you’ll need a CELTA or TESOL qualification. Both programmes are held in equally high esteem by employers and comprise a 4-week intensive training programme to teach adults (to teach children, an extra weekend course is required).
While most schools in the UK require potential employees to have at least one year’s experience and, often, a diploma as well as a certificate, a CELTA or TESOL qualification is an internationally recognised award that will get you hired abroad on completion of the course.
Check out TEFL.com or Dave’s ESL Cafe for the most recent listings from across the world; alternatively, if you want to teach in a specific country, it’s worth homing in on those organisations that specialise in country-specific TEFL opportunities. The Jet programme, for example, caters for qualified English teachers looking for work in Japan. Besides, where better to get the lowdown on your country of choice than from those that live there: your students!
Wanting to learn a new language before taking the plunge somewhere totally new? Au pairing is a great way to learn – and earn – while you’re abroad, not least because you have your bed and board automatically paid for and share the same living space as native speakers. You can expect to earn between £250-£400 a month, depending on where you go, and given that most of your costs are already covered, you’ll have enough to spend your days off getting to know the local area. If you’re a native English speaker, you might be asked to teach the children English, or better still, find yourself accosted by locals who are keen to do a language exchange: perfect for improving your own skills!
Working Holiday Visas:
Eligibility: aged 18 – 30
Duration: 12 months
Eligibility: aged 18 – 30
Duration: 12 - 23 months
Eligibility: aged 18 – 30 and also a full time student or within 12 months of having graduated
Duration: 12 months
The visa type is a J1 visa, there is limited information on the US Citizenship and Immigration website:
As most people working in the US tend to opt to work as camp councillors the information on the CCUSA website is possibly more helpful: