Work Abroad: Five Reasons to Get a Job Before You Get There
It’s a romantic idea to don your backpack and go abroad, finding work when you can and moving on when you’re ready. It becomes a lot less romantic when you’re spending every day in your exotic destination filling out job applications and watching your money melt away. The fact is, when you take off for a place like Australia, you’re competing for jobs with up to half a million other backpackers and another half a million high school graduates (they call them school leavers in Australia). That’s one reason it’s so much better to have a job before you get there.
1) You’re competing with about a million other people: Unless your skill set and credentials are off the charts, by Australian standards, you could spend a lot of your time away job hunting—that’s not fun no matter where you are. If you work with someone like Alliance Abroad Group, you already rise to the top of the stack of resumes because organizations like ours have agreements with employers to prescreen applicants and send employers the cream of the crop. Also, employers save a certain number of spots for AAG employees.
2) Desperation Leads to Bad Choices: From the comfort of home, you can evaluate offers. Restaurant has a shady reputation? No thanks. They’re offering you a week of unpaid work just to “try you out?” No thanks. They’re going to pay you in cash but you’re not to tell anyone you work there? What’s that about? They have 16 hour shifts? That’s illegal. If you’ve spent weeks looking for a job and you’re running low on cash, you might say “I’ll take it” to something you’d never consider otherwise.
There are plenty of great resorts, hotels and restaurants that not only pay really well (try around $21 an hour) but also will build your resume. These are the ones AAG works with. So before you leave home, you have a contract that explains exactly what you’ll be doing, what your hours will be and what you’ll get paid. This will also make your parents happy.
3) Having a Job Gives You Instant Community: Employment tends to be less hierarchical in Australia than it is in the U.S. After work, you, your co-workers, and your bosses may all go out for a game of Aussie Rules football or a pint. Being a lone wanderer in a foreign country is great in the short term, but really becoming part of the community with locals who can show you the best parts of the country makes the whole experience richer.
4) Having a Job Leaves You Time for the Sexier Parts of International Travel: And no, we’re not talking about sex. We’re talking about making friends students from France or Russia or China at your new job; planning weekends in the outback or snorkeling adventures that you can actually afford, because you have a job. We’re talking about getting a little bit Aussified, and learning expressions like “Dinky-di” and which form of “Bluey” someone means in a sentence. There’s plenty of time for the kind of serendipitous, hair-raising adventures travelers love to collect, but job hunting isn’t really one of them.
5) Having a Job Shifts You From Surviving to Savoring: Once you have a job you can find a place to live. If you work through AAG we can help you with that, and even find you roommates from other countries to enrich your experience. Once you have a job, you can learn the local public transportation system, start planning your day trips, check out your local supermarket, find your favorite coffee shop.
Life and work abroad is a huge adventure, but it can be stressful not knowing what to expect from one day to the next. Having a job first strips a lot of the stress, leaving only the excitement of discovery.