Your letters, hints, tips and advice about working abroad
Before you go abroad make sure you take a little time to learn about local customs. While in Thailand last year I discovered that it’s very offensive to kiss someone on the cheek when you meet them. Instead it’s customary to bow.
I was working abroad in Australia for 10 months and couldn’t find any work in the cities once I was out there – most restaurants and cafes will only hire women. Problem for us blokes! Therefore I would strongly recommend either looking for a job in the newspapers before you get to a city or secure a placement through a website before you jet off to Oz. I survived purely on non-taxed ‘cash in hand’ based jobs, working as furniture removal man or any sort of labour work. There are plenty of those jobs about especially in Perth.
I have working in Malia, Crete for the last 3 years. I would say going to work abroad is the best thing I have ever done. It gives u lots more confidence and you meet lots of new people.
Do look out for special offers and tickets when you are working abroad. In Sweden it costs less to travel if you are a youth. Under 26’s save up to half on some routes. The Swedes are fairly trusting by nature and you don’t normally need to show proof unless you look old for your age.
Always make a photocopy of your passport and insurance details. If they are lost or stolen it will speed up the time it takes to replace them at the consulate.
Never get into an unlicensed taxi – even in European countries. Check that they have all the correct licenses before getting in. (they should be clearly visible).
Email yourself your CV and print it out in the country when you arrive, that way it will look fresh and neat and not scrunched up coming out of your backsack!
It’s really easy to find volunteer work online! There’s loads of different organisations around. The big ones are Raleigh International, VSO and BUNAC; but they tend to have longer programs (a year or so, rather than just the summer). i-to-i has lots of placements in Africa and Asia.
Sleeping Soundly – You may have accommodation arranged for you, but if you choose to find your own, then check-in to a hostel or hotel to allow yourself time to explore the area before you rent. Colleagues can advise the best places to live: they may have a room to rent or know a man who does. Listings section in the local papers and notice boards at work are worth a look and if working in a country where local papers are not in English, many have websites which are translated. Research the area and speak to the locals as you could find that there is no public transport after 7pm which could curtail your social life or impact your finances.
I did a ski season in Canada. If you’re in an awkward situation at work and your visa is linked to your job (in other words if you get fired – you have to leave the country) – don’t be afraid to speak up if something has physically stopped you from working properly. Have a word with your boss and they’ll try to transfer you rather than lose you. This is especially important for those wanting to work as ski/snowboard instructors, if you break your leg you can’t teach!
If you are renting private accommodation, read the terms of your lease carefully to know what you are responsible for maintaining. (in other words, what you’ll lose your deposit over) Take photos of the condition of the flat before you move in and send copies to the landlord so there won’t be arguments later!
Remember the cultural differences in other countries, we may be used to mini skirts, strappy tops and bearing all in the UK but in some countries, that kind of dress code could be misunderstood, respect local customs, traditions and think about what might appear to be offensive or you could find you get unwanted attention
Opening Bank accounts abroad can be tricky – sometimes you need to fulfill a point system in order to open an account. Take copies of your driving licence, passport, birth certificate and UK bank details as they all help to build up your points and make it a lot easier for you.
Looking Good – Depending on your destination, clothes and shoes can be cheaper abroad; stock up on tailor made suits for interviews in Hong Kong or Thailand, accessorise your wardrobe in Malaysia and Baltic amber jewelry in Poland.
Sailing schools and yachts are desperate for people to start in September and October as a lot of people leave then for uni. If you’re on your gap year, it’s easier to get a job then and it will be a lot easier for you to get a similar job the following year!
Anyone who fancies working in the outback of Australia, check out www.visitoz.org They place you in all kinds of outback work – I governed on a cattle station, but there’s also mustering cattle, station cooks, hospitality and a lot more. If you fancy the true blue Aussie experience away from backpacker-ville, I totally recommend it.
Worked abroad, had a great time? Remember that you might want to go back to the resort you worked in next year and find work again, so if you let your hair or your boss down at the end of the season, he’ll remember it!
Worked Abroad? No I think it’s more like “lived abroad and got paid for it!” It’s the best time of your life. Most of the time, it just doesn’t feel like work at all, last summer I worked abroad and came back to the UK for a week, but I only stayed for a day, I couldn’t wait to go back abroad!