Working Holiday Explained: Work and Travel for Canadians
Have you ever dreamt of travelling the world? We don’t mean a Canadian winter getaway at an all-inclusive in Mexico kind of travel. We’re talking about the kind of travel where you spend weeks or months exploring a new culture, new landscapes and meeting people from all over the globe making memories to last you a lifetime. If you’ve ever wondered how people manage to travel for an extended period of time, the answer is easier than you think: on a working holiday. In this post, we’ll break down exactly what a working holiday is and how it makes long-term work and travel for Canadians possible.
What is a working holiday?
A working holiday is a type of extended trip where you work to help pay for your travels. By working during your trip, you can avoid completely emptying your savings account. In fact, a working holiday not only makes travel more affordable, but also allows you to settle in one place for a while and experience life as a local. A working holiday also allows you to gain work experience while you travel the world and avoid that awkward work experience gap on your resume. Plus, your parents likely won’t be worried that you are becoming a full-fledged vagabond.
The jobs people typically do on a working holiday are temporary and casual in nature. The idea is that you work for a short period of time before continuing traveling to a new place. This could mean working a short gig for a weekend or working somewhere for several months.
Working holidays give you the chance to take a job you may never have the opportunity to take back home in Canada. Imagine working at a surf shop in Australia, or at one of the world’s top ski resorts in Japan. How about leading kayaking tours in Patagonia or at a bungee jumping company in New Zealand? The options for work and travel for Canadians are truly endless.
How does a working holiday work?
In order to go on a working holiday, you must first obtain a specific entry visa for the country you want to work and travel in. These entry visas, called working holiday visas, are granted by foreign countries to Canadian citizens and allow you to stay in the country for an extended period of time and obtain work, something you are not allowed to do on a tourist visa. These visas are granted to Canadians through a partnership between the Canadian government and the particular foreign country. This means that Canadians can get a working holiday visa for Australia and Australians can get a working holiday visa for Canada, for example.
The Canadian government actually has an entire department called International Experience Canada devoted to creating these partnerships with foreign countries to provide Canadians with opportunities to experience work and travel abroad. International Experience Canada makes it possible to gain new skills while abroad, learn new languages, experience different cultures and explore places you never thought you could.
Did you know there are more than 30 countries that Canadians can travel to with a working holiday visa?
Yes, 30 countries! We weren’t kidding when we said the opportunities for work and travel for Canadians are endless. You can literally work and travel your way around the entire globe, spending time on nearly every continent! To give you some perspective on how truly amazing this really is, American citizens can currently only get working holiday visas for five countries.
How do I get a working holiday visa?
There are certain eligibility requirements you must meet to be granted a working holiday visa. These requirements vary for each country, but in general, you must be between 18 and either 30 or 35 years old at the time of your visa application. You must also be in good health, of good character and have a specified amount of accessible savings. You can read more about each country’s working holiday visa requirements and application process on International Experience Canada’s website.
In most cases, you only get one working holiday visa for each country in your lifetime, so make sure you can make the most of this opportunity before you apply.
Why should I do a working holiday?
If you are thinking that you would rather go backpacking and skip the work part, think again. In addition to helping to pay for your trip, you can gain relevant work experience that will impress future employers when you return to Canada. If you are a business student, gaining events, promotion, sales or customer service experience while abroad provide very beneficial skills to start your career with. If you are an arts, humanities or communications student, you could kick off your career gaining experience tutoring English or developing social media promotion campaigns and brochures for tour companies. Someone from a technical background like engineering or sciences will benefit from the soft skills gained while working abroad. Working in a new country can also propel a career in hospitality. The opportunity to learn skills in new cuisines, customs, and foreign languages will help you land a job with an international company upon your return to Canada.
Don’t underestimate how impressive it is for a young person to move across the world and work in a job where you have to quickly adapt to a new work culture, customs and possibly a new language. In today’s globalized world, it is more important than ever to have international experience.
How do I get started?
First decide where you would like to go. You can check out the list of countries on International Experience Canada’s website. Stepabroad has working holiday programs for Canadians in four destinations: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Chile. Our programs help you navigate the process of going abroad on a working holiday. This includes helping you obtain your working holiday visa, get a job, a bank account, cell phone, pay your taxes, find living accommodation, meet other travelers and so much more. We provide pre-departure and arrival orientations so you feel well-prepared for what lies ahead every step of the way. Let our team take care of the details so you can plan your adventures!
Interested to learn more about our programs and how they can help you get on a working holiday adventure? Fill out the form below and a member of our team will get in touch with you soon!
Want to learn more about what it’s like to do a working holiday? You can learn from our past participant’s who shared Life on an Australian Working Holiday and A Day in the Life of a Working Holiday in Chile. Don’t miss their highlight videos below:
If you would like to learn more about Stepabroad and how we help Canadians go abroad on working holidays, check out our About page.