Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

Tips From Tasmania

Q&A with Heather: Working Vacation in Tasmania
Share this
Print this
Heather
Working Vacation in Tasmania
University of British Columbia
Her thoughts on Taking It All In
I made a point of getting involved in the local community. That's really the best way to have a good experience anywhere.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
After I landed, it took me a month to find my first retail job and three months to find my second one. Staying flexible is an important part of the job-hunting process.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
I attended a poetry festival, took a dance class, volunteered at the farmers’ market and got involved with the local “couch surfing” community. I built quite the network of lasting friends!

Where did you work abroad? Did you go with an agency?

I did a working holiday in Tasmania, Australia. I got my visa through SWAP, but the Australian visa is incredibly easy to get and I would definitely recommend doing it alone rather than working with a provider. I started out working in retail, then worked at Arthouse hostel in Inveresk. 

What was the biggest surprise about your working vacation experience?

Everything in Australia closes super early! All the shops close at around five or six in the evening. The only things open in the evening are bars and the cinema. Going to a bar rather than a coffee shop to catch up with friends took some getting used to! Also, don’t expect anything to be open on a Sunday!

Did you participate in extra-curricular or social activities while abroad? If so, how did they differ from social activities in your home culture?

I joined the local Rotaract Club and took a dance class. I found Rotaract in Tasmania to be much more social than in BC, although I think that’s more of a regional difference than a national one. Australia isn’t that different culturally from North America, so I didn’t notice a huge difference… although they do tend to drink more!

What made your experience abroad a success?

I made a point of getting involved in the community and making local friends, which is really the best way to have a good experience anywhere. Having been involved with Rotaract in Canada, I joined the local club. It was a great way to meet friends right from the get-go. I also attended a poetry festival, took a dance class, volunteered at the farmers’ market and got involved with the local “couch surfing” community. If you haven’t already checked out couchsurfing.org and you’re planning to head overseas, I’d highly recommend doing so! It’s a fantastic way to meet locals and travelers alike, and I built quite the network of lasting friends through it.

How did you finance your trip abroad and how much did you earn while abroad?

I spent a year working after uni to save the $10,000 I needed for my trip. Australia is an expensive country and you really can’t leave with less than that. Australian wages are quite high and I was earning anywhere from $19 to $29/hour once I started working; but the cost of living is also quite high, so you need a good deal of money saved before you leave. Expect to spend $250/week+ on rent in the big cities; Tasmania is cheaper, but I was still spending $100/week on rent alone.

How long did it take you to find a job and what job-search strategies did you use? Did you work in your field of interest?

It took me a month to find my first job and three months to find my second one (looking part-time while working at my first job). Tasmania is the Australian state with the worst economy, so there isn’t a lot of work, but finding a job isn’t impossible. Staying flexible is an important part of the process. I’d been doing office work back in Canada, but I ended up with a retail job for my first six months abroad. My second job was in a backpackers’ hostel, which was much more closely related to my field of interest, although still not relevant to my career goals. That said, the point of a working holiday isn’t exclusively to progress your career or earn lots of money: it’s also to discover a new culture, see a new place and make friends. Any job that supports those goals is a good job.

What is your number one tip for anyone hoping to follow in your footsteps?

If you're going to be working retail in Australia, you'd better know what “eftpos” means – and chances are you'll end up having to put an item on lay-by. The main differences I noticed working (both retail and at a hostel) in Australia were in the vocabulary: “eftpos” is a debit or credit card, to “lay-by” an item in a store is to have it put aside for you while you make regular (usually fortnightly/biweekly payments) towards it; if somebody asks you to find a “powerpoint,” don't bring them a computer: they want an electrical outlet! The list goes on and on! If you're ever asked "cheque, savings, or credit" when making an eftpos purchase, the salesperson wants to know which account to put it on: this is because most Australian bank cards function as both a debit and credit card. If you're working retail/hospitality, this would be a good catch-phrase to learn (note that they say "cheque" and not "chequing"). Also, if you're going to be hostelling, chances are you'll be asked if you want to hire a “doona” at some stage. "Doona" is Australian slang for duvet/blanket and, given that many hostels are not properly heated in the winter, you may well want one! I found, working in a hostel, that many of the employees use Australian terms without even realizing it. If you don't understand something, just ask! They'll probably appreciate it if you teach them the "American" term, since a lot of backpackers struggle with English, let alone Australian English.

Another "number one" tip? Keep an open mind and say yes to everything! And be warned that not all of Australia is hot year-round. Tasmania gets below zero and Victoria also gets pretty chilly. Australian houses aren’t insulated or heated, so you’ll need some winter woollies if you’re planning to head to either of those states. And one last thing: never go hiking in flip-flops, even if it's a ten minute track! I did this twice: the first time I almost stepped on a snake (I literally didn't see it until I felt movement beside my foot and looked down) and the second I got two leeches. Proper shoes or boots are a must for bushwalking! If you're going into the Tassie bush, wear gaiters and/or carry some salt: leeches are everywhere and pretty much impossible to avoid during the wetter seasons!

What did you miss most about home?

Insulation and central heating! Besides that I didn’t miss much. I had a fantastic year.

What are your future plans for going abroad and for your career?

I’m now teaching ESL in Québec and hope to go overseas to do so once I’ve built a bit of experience. I’m also considering a working holiday in Northern Ireland or New Zealand. The possibilities are endless!

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher, MyWorldAbroad

It’s clear that Heather has caught the travel bug, and she is planning her next career steps based on potential international experiences. We commend Heather for prioritizing her interculutral learning, and for overcoming the financial challenges associated with planning and carrying out international adventures.

No matter what career Heather ultimately wants to pursue, we’d recommend that she venture to a country where the cross-cultural contrast is somewhat starker. While it’s certainly possible to have enriching cross-cultural experiences in Westernized, English-speaking nations, heading somewhere with more significant cultural differences can often be even more personally and professionally enriching. Doing so will also allow her to build language skills and learn about workplace culture in a markedly different environment. The more significant the cultural contrast between your home nation and your host nation, the more international learning and adaptation you will be able to do. 

Heather has already spent time in Mexico (see her other story here), so we’d suggest heading to a different region of the world to further round out her cultural experience. Heather is currently teaching ESL and building experience that she can easily use to land a job in Asia, Africa or Eastern Europe, if she chooses. See the links below to explore more about the exciting prospects of adapting and striving in a foreign culture. (Note: You must log in to MyWorldAbroad to access the links below.)

  • Why You Need International Skills is an important article for anyone in the early stages of their career. It discusses how cross-cultural experience can be the key to success. Be sure to take a look!
  • Top Tips: Teaching Abroad As a Licensed Teacher is a must-read section for those who want to teach abroad as professionals (which is something slightly different from simply teaching English abroad for a year or two). Most of these teachers work for international schools in major cities (and in some cases remote sites) around the world. 
  • Teaching English Abroad: The General Market is also an important section, focusing primarily on ESL teaching abroad. 

Heather's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
Sample Application Documents: See How Others Did It!
Get inspired by actual documents that real students used to apply for internships, volunteer positions and other go abroad experiences.
In a Rush? Read These Articles First
These carefully chosen articles will lead you to our most important go abroad strategies!
Discover the Career Value of Going Abroad
Get the facts! See surveys and stats linking your experiences abroad to future career success.
The World Online
Want to stay in touch with the world? Check out these top (and sometime quirky) links!
Quick Guides! Our Most Popular Go Abroad Topics
View, print or share our easy-to-use guides available in English, French and Spanish.
Do You Have Enough International Experience?
Have you maximized your international experience? Are you ready for the international job search? Find out!
What's Your International IQ?
How much do you really know about living and working abroad? Take this quiz to find out!
Are You Prepared for the International Job Search?
How much do you know about international jobs in your field? Get ready for a targeted job search!
Quizzes: Your Master Scorecard
Check your scores for all quiz categories: international skills, experience & the job search.
Self-Evaluations: Think Analytically About Going Abroad
Keep track of your evolving international skill set before, during and after your international experience. Be ready to apply for jobs in the global economy.
Career-Boosting Strategies for International Students Studying in North America
What does it take for an international student to succeed in North America? We’ve got tips to help you thrive!
Earn $50 Gift Card & Submit Your Story From Abroad
Been abroad? Want to share your story? Submit your Q&A today to see your experience online!
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to all your questions about MyWorldAbroad by diving into our Frequently Asked Questions section.
Top Tips on Going Abroad & Your Career
Scan our top tips in 40 go abroad subject areas: international skills, getting experience, finding work, and the professions.
Your International Resume & LinkedIn
Write your international resume first, and then create that all-important LinkedIn profile.
International Skills: Be More Than Just a Tourist!
International people have a unique skill set. Learn the terminology and get professional about describing your time abroad.
100+ Career-boosting Strategies While Abroad
Discover enterprising, innovative ideas for how to demonstrate your international skills to future employers.
10851
- # of # Filtered -
  • 83
83
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
1
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
2
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
3
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
4
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
5
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
6
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
7
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
8
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
9
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
10
9748
Adventure In The Alps
11
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
12
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
13
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
14
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
15
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
16
9754
Building Memories In India
17
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
18
9752
Giving In Guatemala
19
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
20
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
21
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
22
9753
A Season In Sweden
23
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
24
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
25
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
26
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
27
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
28
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
29
10157
Changing Course In China
30
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
31
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
32
9787
A Spring Semester In London
33
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
34
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
35
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
36
9771
Learning To Love London
37
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
38
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
39
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
40
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
41
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
42
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
43
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
44
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
45
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
46
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
47
9773
Independent In India
48
9741
Adapting To Work In Peru
49
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
50
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
51
9762
American Freshman In London
52
9784
Skill-Building In Bonn
53
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
54
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
55
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
56
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
57
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
58
9807
Fast Friendship In Korea
59
10851
Tips From Tasmania
60
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
61
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
62
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
63
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
64
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
65
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
66
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
67
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
68
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
69
14088
An Eye-Opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
70
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
71
9737
Passionate About Panama
72
10192
Out And About In Paris
73
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
74
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
75
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
76
9756
Springtime In Spain
77
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
78
9765
Simpatico In Florence
79
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern In Rome
80
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
81
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
82
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
83
10851
All Job Boards
458
All NGOs
1426
Au Pair Resources
40
Awards and Grants Resources
51
Business and Finance Job Boards
63
Business Directories
17
Canadian Federal, Provincial and Territorial Government Profiles
60
Canadian Government Resources
29
Children and Families Abroad
17
Country Guides
70
Cross-cultural Skills
79
Engineering Job Boards
58
Engineering Resources
80
Expatriate Networking Sites
30
Foreign Students Working in the US
9
Freelancing Abroad
29
General Job Search Books
18
Global Education and Social Action
41
Health and Medicine Job Boards
49
Health Career Resources
62
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
43
International Development Career Resources
74
International Internship Organizations
261
International Internships and Student Programs With Canadian Governments
34
International Internships With the US Government
40
International Job Hunting Resources
13
International Law Careers Resources
107
International Law Job Boards
27
International Studies in the US and Canada
13
International Trade Resources
25
International Volunteer Organizations
483
Internship Directories and Advice
43
Internships With the UN and Other IGOs
155
Language Careers
31
Learn a Language
99
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
30
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
32
Loans for Studying Abroad
19
Low-cost Travel
59
NGO Directories
34
NGO Job Boards
47
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
103
Relocating Abroad
26
Resources for International Students Studying in the US or Canada
51
Stories From Abroad
83
Study Abroad Resources
184
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
93
Teach English Abroad Resources
63
Tools for Travelers
73
Top International Blogs & Podcasts
74
Travel Health and Safety
41
UN and Other IGOs
255
UN and Other IGOs Job Boards
26
UN and Other IGOs Resources
69
US Government Profiles
76
US Government Resources
35
Visas and Passports
25
Volunteer Directories and Advice
52
Women Living and Working Overseas
16
Working Vacation Resources
60