Looking to head out on a working holiday in Aus? Our very own Sam is a pro when it comes to all things Australia, and having completed a year working 'Down Under' she is full of useful hints and tips! Check out how she got on below...
So why did you decide to head out to Australia in the first place?
I’d always wanted to experience living in a different country, but work (and life) always got in the way. One day, after a particularly hard day in the office, I picked up the phone and booked a flight to Sydney for 5 months’ time. I chose Australia mainly because my brother was currently travelling and working there and called me constantly telling me how much I would love it.
Travelling solo was a scary concept, so moving to an English speaking country definitely made me (and my parents) less worried.
Hello MASSIVE LANDMARK!
How did it change your life?
Firstly I had to all of sudden be a grown up and do my own washing and feed myself! On top of that, I had to make sure that I had somewhere to live and work. The trip definitely made me more independent and I feel like I did more growing up in that 1 year than I have in the last 10.
Through constantly meeting new people and listening to their amazing stories made me realise that there is much more to life. I now try to make sure that I am constantly learning new stuff and having different experiences, which I wouldn’t have done before. I generally feel like I’ve changed a lot of a person, in a very positive way.
(Setting the scene) Your best mate isn't sure whether she should go to Australia for a year. What would you say?
GO! The idea of packing your bags and leaving is scary, but the experience is literally life changing. If you really do hate it (which I doubt very much) you can always come home.
Sam bossing the AFL
Where would you recommend other travellers set up shop? Melbourne, Sydney, or elsewhere?
This completely depends on what kind of experience you want. If possible, I would recommend saving a little bit of extra money before you go, just so you can travel to difference places before you have to settle and get a job. I spent most of my time in Melbourne, I loved it! The city is great for live music and filled with culture, so naturally I felt right at home there. I also stayed in Sydney (on Bondi) for a bit, it was great staying by such a gorgeous beach and we used to go and chill down there all the time!
Your most valuable piece of advice?
Staying in hostels means that you meet new friends so easily, so don’t stress if you are travelling solo. Get involved in all of the social events that the hostel you are staying in organise (such as BBQ’s, city sightseeing tours etc), it’s a great way to meet new people with similar interests.
I met a few people that got homesick, but that never happened to me - mainly because I stayed in contact with family and friends. Make sure that you take a phone or laptop/tablet that allows you to message, FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp family and friends. Book in a regular time to talk and stick to it.
Sydney's Opera House, anyone?
Making your money last doesn’t have to be that hard. There are loads of hostels and bars that do drink and/or food offers on a daily basis. If you are planning to go out for dinner or drinks, have a google search beforehand to find out which bars have deals on that night.
Also, I found the cheapest way to make dinner was to do it in groups. Get a group of your new mates, chip in a few dollars and then cook a big dish together.
Want to work abroad like Sam? Check out our Paid Work and Sydney Intro programme and you'll meet a load of other travellers as soon as you get into Sydney!
Hoo roo (Goodbye Down Under) folks,
Team Real Gap Experience.