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Upon graduating university the last thing I wanted to do was talk about career fairs, interviews and networking.

I had no interest in leaping directly into the rat race world of 9 to 5 and even less interest in establishing a career. Instead, I planned to pack my backpack after that last exam and board a one-way flight to Australia.

The only problem was a serious lack of funds. Students aren’t known for being the richest bunch around and after 5 years of studying my bank balance wasn’t exactly in good shape.

With a bit of research I discovered that Canadians are able to work in a variety of countries, including Australia, as part of the Working Holidaymaker Program. (Other countries also offer similar programs).

I decided that working abroad was the way to go.

I spent the year down-under in a variety of jobs, and I came to the conclusion that there’s a lot more to working abroad than earning a few bucks.

Now whenever I travel I’m always on the lookout for a chance to do a bit of work everywhere I go.

So in an effort to open your eyes to the wonderful world of working holidays, here are 7 reasons why working abroad is a great way to travel, and looks sharp on your resume after you come home.

1. Earn Money On The Road

This one is a no-brainer. Work equals money. Money is needed to keep traveling. If you can’t manage to attain your elusive savings goals prior to departure, getting a job along the way is a great way to top up your funds and keep your bank account happy.

2. Learn New Skills

Working abroad gives you the chance to do all sorts of crazy jobs you’d probably never even think of trying at home.

Most of the skills you’ll learn, like how to pick an apple or the quickest way to put on a duvet cover, probably won’t specifically benefit your future career but any new skill shows initiative.

At the very least will make a great story when you’re being interviewed for a new job.

3. Prove Your Independence

Generally speaking, jobs you land while on a working holiday won’t be the most challenging, career advancing in the world but many employers still look at time spent working abroad positively.

Heading overseas, landing a job, sorting out a place to live and starting a new life takes some guts and clued up employers will take note.

4. Meet the Locals

As a traveler you’ll be meeting locals at every turn. But chances are most of them will be working in the tourist industry and will have a vested interest in being nice to you.

If you want to really meet the locals and experience the culture, working abroad is the answer.

You’ll be able to connect with everyday folks, as eager to learn about your home country as you are to learn about theirs.

5. Make Lasting Friendships

You’ll meet plenty of other travelers as you go no matter where you are but most encounters will be brief. Stopping to work will allow you the time to develop lasting, meaningful friendships with other travelers and coworkers.

It makes saying goodbye at the end a lot harder, but the memories will last a longer and you’ll have new friends to visit all over the world.

6. Get a Feel for the Destination

After awhile, cities can start to look the same. Each temple or museum is less and less exciting as time wears on. As you hop from country to country it can feel as though you’re really only skimming the surface of what it’s truly like in each place.

Stopping to work will allow you to see a city or town from a deeper perspective and really get an idea for the pace of everyday life.

You’ll will be able to take the time to learn from your surroundings, seeking those ‘off the beaten path’ places on your own instead of relying on your guidebook.

7. Experience Real Freedom

While you’re working you won’t exactly be free, but heading abroad to start a new life can be a daunting experience. Once you discover that it’s not as scary or difficult as you first thought, it’s as if a whole new world opens up to you.

Having the confidence to head off anywhere in the world to make a living really gives a great sense of freedom. Once you feel as though you can go anywhere and still manage to support yourself, the world truly is your oyster.

Kirsty Henderson has combined her two passions (travelling and web design) to produce a variety of websites including and Working Holiday Info. She’s soon planning to leave the rat race to work fulltime on her websites and has rough plans to head overland from London to Beijing in early 2008.



About The Author

Kirsty Henderson

Kirsty Henderson has combined her two passions (travelling and web design) to produce a variety of websites including Nerdy Nomad and Working Holiday Info. She’s soon planning to leave the rat race to work fulltime on her websites and has rough plans to head overland from London to Beijing in early 2008.

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  • Tim Patterson

    Nice post, Kirsty – thanks for the tips. I had a great experience working in Japan for two years to save money for travel. The JET program is a great way to make some cash and get inside Japan.

  • robmeyer

    Inspiring post Kirsty. Expanding on point #2, if you are interested in working in less developed regions of the world, I’d like to point out that the experience and responsibility you can be entrusted with is incredible.

    Fresh out of college, I came down to South America, and started work in Ecuador managing over 30 employees in a project that works with over 300 low-income families in Southern Quito. I never would have been given this kind of experience in an entry-level job back home!

  • Michael-Travel-Mag

    Great writing. I think the next level in traveling is to become involved in whereever you travel either as a volunteer or in some sort or working capacity. Otherwise, your just destined to be a wanderer without ever truly becoming involved.

    Keep Writing!

  • Kirsty

    Ya Tim the JET programme is great, although I hear it’s pretty difficult to get accepted too. Luckily it’s pretty easy from what I understand for anyone with a uni degree to land a job teaching in Japan.

    That’s a good point Rob and I actually had a little blurb about that in the article but took it out for some strange reason. Jobs are plentiful here in London and it’s a lot easier to get a job in your field of study that it would be back home in Canada so there’s an opportunity there to get some great experience.

  • Andreas

    Great post Kristie, it really inspires me.

  • Judith A.

    I love your article! Just the thought of surviving anywhere in the world is gutsy.

  • Lucy

    Great article!

    I worked in Amsterdam for a year as part of my degree. I didn’t know anyone when I went over but it was one of the most amazing years of my life! You definitely get to understand a culture better by working and living somewhere rather than just passing through. Employers always take note of it also as it takes guts and independence to move to a new country. Now moving to Sydney in 2 months!

  • Shari

    Thanks for the article! My organization send 18-30 year olds from the US to the Work and Holiday program in Australia as well as welcoming college students to the US. I am always looking for posts to share with them regarding other individuals experiences and yours was great. It really speaks to the benefits of working abroad. Best of luck!

  • Raymund Corpuz


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