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9 amazing things I gained from a Working Holiday Visa in Australia

A wise man once said (probably in a mystical voice) ‘Travel is the only thing you can buy that will make you richer.’ After living, working and travelling in Australia using the magical WHV*, I certainly feel he deserves his ‘wise man’ status.

But how specifically did I become richer? I hear you ask… Well, here are 9 amazing things I gained and YOU could be gaining if you dare make the same great decision I did.

*Working Holiday Visa

1.Improved CV

Fraser Island

Potential recruiters will love the fact you have had the independence and confidence to sample life on the other side of the world. It shows great drive and it will massively improve your inter-personal skills. Obviously you’ll want to do some trips, tours and travel during your year Down Under, but whilst working and saving, do your all to impress as potential opportunities could arise if you return (sounds like something Mystic Meg would say!). I found the saying ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ rang very true whilst there on a WHV, so get mingling, making contacts and asking questions where possible.
TIP: My initial job (working on a vineyard) was enjoyable but not relevant to my degree or the career path I wanted to pursue, therefore I also got involved in an internship 1 day a week in order to gain valuable experience. This will show you’re passionate, proactive and could lead to bigger and better things!

2.Independence upgrade

Hopefully, like me at University you felt huge pride after mastering doing the laundry, making your own bed, making a mean spaghetti etc. Ready for the next phase? Moving to Australia is another step up on the bravery/pride/independence scale, but you’ve got it in the bag, easily! Secretly your sister will be like ‘he/she won’t survive one week!’ Hahaha Sis, well I’m over 10,000 miles from home, I’ve sorted my own awesome crib (with new best friends), my own professional job and I am not only surviving but I am enjoying life to the max! Sometimes the push out of your comfort zone is what you need. Don’t be scared of the challenge, because you will 100% rise to it! (Cue ‘Eye of the tiger’ music)

3.New found confidence

confidence in australia
Whilst bonding over a Gregg’s meal deal, my Grandad said to me ‘that trip has changed you from a boy into a man.’ This may sound like a typical British Grandad quote, but I knew exactly what he meant… he was saying that I had smashed out of my ‘shy-ish’ shell and learnt to properly connect with people. I had blasted out of my comfort zone by going to Australia and spending the year interacting with hundreds of unique people from all around the world had definitely had a massive impact on me. You may not see it, but when you get home, those closest to you will see the positive change.

4.Unforgettable memories

Sky dive Australia
‘Travelling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.’ Life is all about making happy, funny, ridiculous memories to look back on, and you’ll gain an abundance of special memories on your WHV in Aus. It may sound cheesy, but I find myself reminiscing or telling someone about a memory from Australia almost daily, because it was such an amazing time of my life. When you’re there, you are out of your regular routine, therefore new, exciting things happen all of the time. I would ring my parents weekly and have so much to tell them. When you have so many stories to tell, that’s when you know you are creating great memories to look back on fondly forever.

5. Unbelievable sights

During my year in Australia I witnessed some jaw dropping sights; Uluru, Sydney Opera House, The Great Barrier Reef, The Outback etc. I was also ‘tricked’ into doing a sky dive with five of my best friends (long story!) Whilst in the plane, pre-jump nerves set in and they thoroughly enjoyed the sight of my ‘green’ face. However, I must admit, falling from a plane at 14,00ft above Mission Beach was one of the best things I’ve ever done! Finally, the most stereotypically Aussie unbelievable sight I witnessed whilst in Australia, was… a 20 minute confrontation between a dog and a 5ft kangaroo. Bizarre yet captivating!
(No animals were harmed in the confrontation)

6.Love for camper-vans

One day after work, as we sat in our hostel bunk beds, three friends and I made the bold decision to all chip in and buy a camper-van together. This was… by far… the BEST decision of our year/possibly lives! We named it ‘Roy’ and set off on the adventure of a lifetime. Granted, the breakdown in the outback was a minor blip, but it just added to our amazing story! ‘Roy’ gave us pure freedom. We could stop any place we liked for as long as we wanted, head off the beaten track to find isolated waterfalls, pull down the bed in the back for a nap next to a beach… the possibilities were endless! ‘Roy’s’ highlights included conquering the Great Ocean Road and hosting a party of 8 hens’! His low point was definitely being overtaken by a car carrying a trailer of 10 or so llamas!

7. Unbeatable Christmas/NY

sydney chirstmas

One of the perks of working in Australia is getting to experience a summer Christmas! Sounds wrong doesn’t it?! Admittedly, it is hard to get your head around (especially because they still play the same songs about snow) but it’s an amazing experience! It’s hard not to be jealous of the Christmas dinner at home (hold back the tears) but it is a special time for you to spend it with your new chosen hostel/work family on the beach with Santa hats, a BBQ and some beverages! If possible, head to Sydney for New Years. It is incredible, and a night you will never forget. The atmosphere and the anticipation for the night is electric and the fireworks are unreal!

8.Hilarious stories

Working a vineyard in Australia
Farm work always creates great stories, usually because it is so random! Working on a vineyard, our job was to cover the rows of vines with nets to stop pesky birds from eating the grapes. Once the grapes were ripe enough to be picked we would remove the nets. At the time, part of our job was to chase emu’s and kangaroos away from the nets on our quad bike, to ensure they didn’t remove the nets! No nets, equals no grapes, equals no wine. So think of us shouting obscenities at emu’s and kangaroos as you enjoy your glass of chardonnay!
(No animals were physically or emotionally hurt in the shooing)

9.Friends for life

friends for life
How cool would it be if you had friends dotted all over the globe? Well, being in Australia on a WHV enables you to connect with people from many weird and wacky places. As clichéd as it may sound, everyone on a Working Holiday Visa is in the same boat as you; you’re all there to A) Have the best time possible B) Enjoy what Australia has to offer C) Potentially adopt a Koala bear! Don’t be worried about making friends, you will bond over the strangest things; such as not understanding the rules of ‘Aussie rules’, drunkenly singing Vengaboys in the hostel kitchen, and playing find the possum etc. It’s the people around you who will make the experience even more special than you’d ever imagined. Be prepared to meet amazing people who will become friends for life. Aww ‘international travel friends’ (in high-pitched Inbetweeners voice!)

So what are you waiting for? There’s little to lose and so much to gain. Heading to Australia on a working holiday visa is easier than you think. Find out how here. You will not regret it.
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