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Old 05-28-2011, 01:29 AM
113 posts, read 161,749 times
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Hello, all. I am a U.S.-born man who would really like to spend a year in Australia on a working holiday visa. I would be able to start working there at of the end of August and hope that at least one of you can offer insight into the process/the realization of the goal to aid me in some way. I am certified to teach Spanish in the U.S.'s public schools, I have a professional tennis coaching certificate, I have most of my work experience (and a professional credential) in teaching English as a foreign language, and I have played the piano for a long time, including in a university orchestra and for many churches. I would be willing to work in other areas if job availability/salary is better.

I'm a big fan of cities: not paying for a car, using public transit, having access to many cultural events, being near lots of stores and restaurants, etc. Melbourne has been most attractive to me because of the Australian Open tennis event and the fact that some people have called it a good match for me, but I am guessing Sydney is the only other real player when it comes to big cities (I think I would "use up" a smaller city fast and find it too tiny). What are your thoughts on those two as far as public transit, cultural events, affordability, job opportunities, and access to an exciting atmosphere/good clothing shops?

While I am free to go to Australia by mid-August or the end of it, I won't be in my home country until then, either, so I may not get a visa while overseas. Is there a "good time" to try to start work in Australia, a month other than August? What sorts of jobs I listed (or didn't list) might be available these days for an American? I am pretty adept in French and speak bits of other languages, too, so I wonder if I could find a job working with tourists (even though I would have to learn a lot about Australia, of course) or something like that. Do you know of Americans who have independently found work in Australia? What did they say? Did they find that they could pay for the cost of living or did they rely on their savings to get through their time Down Under? I can't pinpoint any more specific questions at this time, but all input is welcome.

Many thanks in advance for your help!!!
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Old 05-28-2011, 01:50 AM
Location: Australia
8,012 posts, read 2,715,367 times
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Google is your friend - check out the details of the working holiday visa here:

Visa Options - Working Holiday - Visas & Immigration

Both Sydney and Melbourne are large cities with public transit, cultural events and access to an exciting atmosphere/good clothing shops? Job opportunities might be limited as you cannot, under this visa, work for one employer longer than 6 months, so temp work will likely be your only option. You might be able to pick up a temp tennis coaching job or a few piano gigs. Maybe teaching English too - I know nothing about that.

Affordability... not so much. Depends on where you want to live and the standards you expect.

Plenty of 18-30 year olds come here for a working holiday and do it on a shoe-string, often travelling around the country by bus, picking up seasonal work (eg fruit picking) where they can, and staying in hostels in 4 or 8-bed dorms. If you want a higher standard than that, you will probably find it more expensive than what you're used to in the US (unless you live in Manhattan).
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Old 05-28-2011, 05:07 AM
Location: Perth, Western Australia
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Americans have to apply for a Work and Holiday Visa, but that is similar...
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Old 05-28-2011, 08:31 PM
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In terms of the employment prospects, I would not expect to land professional level work at professional levels of pay with the six month restriction. Not impossible but very improbable. Most likely you'll be working a low skill type job, but if you plan it out you might find something that will be of use to your interests or future professional career aspirations.

I've known dozens of people that have used these visas and many did work in the ski fields from may to september. Working as wait staff was common as well as other seasonal type tourist jobs.

Also I think on budgets, the visa requires a few thousand in funds for savings. Many of my friends that have done this has saved money or been in good situations due to living with Australians they had met in the USA on their working holiday visa. Your budget is going to depend on how much you are willing to work and how much you want to travel, how nice of a place you want to live, how much you party.

Personally my recommendation to people is to have significant savings before going and that is mostly to enjoy the experience rather than working 40 hour work weeks. In addition Australia is no bargain anymore.
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Old 05-29-2011, 04:33 AM
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Here's a good guide to do the simple math in OZ COL:

Aussies ripped off by retailers: Choice - Yahoo!7 Finance
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Old 05-29-2011, 09:44 PM
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" not paying for a car, using public transit, having access to many cultural events, being near lots of stores and restaurants"
Is definitely Melbourne and the majority of it can be walking distance.

Sydney is a bigger city, using public transport can be a bit confusing, but once you get used to it, then it really isn't a hassle. Stores and restaurants in Sydney are widely spread everywhere, but living costs in Sydney are quite high. If you don't mind spending $$$ or travelling possibly 30mins by train then it is fine. But you definitely won't have time to "use it up".

In terms of employment, i know alot of people that find it hard land a job once they get here, unless it is waitressing / promotion for clubs / tourist jobs or fruit picking. Although fruit picking allows you to extend your visa for another year.

I'd say spend half your time in both cities. Possibly the warmer months in Melbourne as it is pretty cold down there compared to Sydney.
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:01 AM
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Thanks for the replies, everyone.
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:08 PM
113 posts, read 161,749 times
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Update: I was granted a work and holiday visa by Australian Immigration. Because I have never even been to Australia as a tourist, I admit to being full of questions.

If readers have some input for me, please reply here or via PM.

I'm arriving in Melbourne on the 10th. Being a huge tennis fan, I would love to be in Melbourne through the end of the Australian Open so that I can be a part of the tournament in some way- as a fan, a volunteer, a lines person, a food vendor, whatever. Even though that's the case, there's no telling if it will be financially viable to make it that long, especially if I don't find enough work. What do you suggest for accommodation? Might I find something for an "odd" amount of time like 4.5 months? I don't want anything pricey, just (preferably) something clean with a kitchen and bathroom.

Any tips on getting involved with the Australian Open in some capacity?

What are some effective ways of finding work? Is Craigslist a big deal in Australia or is it not used very much? Post #1 lists my "main" experience, but I am open to different types of work- i.e. perhaps working with tourists once I know Australia better- and will also include my interest in dance and theater. If I could work even just part-time at a dance studio or theater or dance/theater school and get privileges such as free classes, I think I would be overjoyed!

I may have some more questions later, but I'll post these for now.

Many, many heartfelt thanks in advance for input.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:46 PM
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I don't really have any tips for you besides gumtree, it's like the OZ craigslist.

I'm also going on a working holiday in January (starting in Melbourne) so if anyone can provide me with any tips or experiences they've heard about. I'd greatly appreciate it!
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:17 PM
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Don't know too much about getting involved in the Australian Open. Best bet would be to try Tennis Australia....

Accomodation: there are backpacker places, could check out shared accomodation maybe a site like gumtree (as suggested)

Free Local Classifieds Ads from all over Australia - Gumtree
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