Working Holiday, To Go Or Not To Go?

“The biggest value you can add is your own happiness.”

What is a working holiday visa?

Australia is a backpacker heaven for all those with a WH (working holiday) visa. A working holiday visa grants you the right to work in the country with the main aim to travel. High value-added jobs such as lawyers, doctors etc, are not allowed in most countries. WH visas require the visa holders to change jobs every 3-6 months to protect those with proper work permits.

Adventurous souls born in this age have the advantage to experience life with a WH visa. Fun-loving girls I met in Melbourne all seemed to be enjoying their stay and most would go on a campervan adventure across Australia. I have never been on a WH visa myself, but all the stories I heard encouraged me to write about this.

Be sure to set your expectations straight. A WH visa isn’t supposed to help your career if you are set in the high value-added, competitive industries.

Expectations vs reality

I met a girl who was an engineer. She decided life was too stoic and wanted to experience something else. Putting everything on hold to move to Brisbane was a bold move. Two years later when she would’ve returned for work, she might lag behind and would have to start over.

Taking risks is part of life. She might not climb up the ladder as fast, but her experience would give her qualities others lack.

Separating idealism and realism helps you understand what you want. No doubt most people will have their best two years with the WH visas picking out strawberries in the farm, dancing with horses in the ranch and such. What about afterwards? Do you see a path for yourself after?

Besides those wanting a break from reality, more take on this journey to escape as they aren’t sure what they want to do in life. First of all, there’s nothing wrong with that. Going on an unforeseeable journey helps you develop as a person and will bring an insight as to what you want in life. Lots have found their life passion during their working holiday trips.

However, the realistic part for some is that, can you really afford to take a break for two years? A guy I met in Melbourne couldn’t cope with the stress of student loans so he went on a two-year sabbatical in Australia. He had a ton of fun. I met him towards the end of his two-year stay. Down with fear of not being able to make his student loans as packaging sausages forever wouldn’t help him through law school. The two-year delay resulted in a huge drop in salary if he was to return to work.

What does your heart say?

Fun doesn’t pay your bills. You still have reality to face after two years, and it might just be more real. Knowing what you want and what you have helps you think clearly. Reality might not be so kind to us sometimes, recognising it and making a decision to benefit you in the long term is better than focusing on the short term enjoyment.

“The biggest value you can add is your own happiness.”

Almost everyone I met that was on a WH visa didn’t regret their choice at all. You learn so much and you experience a life that you can’t back home. Working holiday should add more happiness to your life, and not just take you away from your stress for two years so you will go back to it after.

The main question to ask yourself is,

Will you be just as happy after the two years as you are during the two years?

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