Working abroad can be a life-changing and a very fulfilling experience, if you approach it from the right angle and prepare for both joys and challenges of working in a new culture and in an unfamiliar environment. Work abroad can be short-term, ranging from a few weeks to a month, or long-term, ranging from a few months to a year. The length of employment abroad depends entirely on the employee’s goals and the conditions of work of the employer.
Temporary jobs abroad are an attractive option, especially for young people. High school graduates, students, and young professionals can all gain from exposure to different work ethics, new cultures, exotic environment. Work and travel make an especially enticing combination: for many people, working while they travel and explore new countries is a sound way to finance their adventures, without necessarily having to stay in one place for months at a time.
Temporary work permits and youth exchange agreements are available for citizens of many countries which welcome young workers and encourage exploratory tourism. These agreements allow people of varying ages to travel to a select country and legally seek casual employment, while getting to know the country, making new friends and connections. This is known as working holiday visa, working holiday permit or visa for working holiday maker. In vast majority of cases, there are age restrictions for obtaining such permits, but more often than not these restrictions are rather generous: 30 or 35 years of age for most young nationals.
Canada is at the foreground of working holiday movement. The Canadian government has signed tens of such agreements with many states worldwide, which means that not only Canadians are allowed to travel and work, but also that Canada itself welcomes many young people from all over the world annually. The duration of working holiday permit/visa is usually set to 12 months, with rare exceptions. In UK in particular, young Canadians are eligible to live and work for up to 2 years as part of Youth Mobility Scheme (Tier 5).
Canadian citizens aged 18-30 may apply for a working holiday permit in: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, UK. Nationals aged 18-35 may apply for a working holiday permit in: Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France, Latvia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, Taiwan.
The United States does not participate in working holiday programs for youth, which the U.S. government has various reasons for: increased illegal immigration and the resulting need for tight border monitoring, threat of international terrorism. Consequently, Americans are usually excluded from obtaining working holiday privileges in most countries, with an exception of Ireland and possibly Singapore (talks are in process).
For some people, going to a foreign country without prearranged employment is a daunting prospect, and understandably so. There are numerous organizations willing to aid young people in finding a job abroad before the traveller even sets foot in the country. In order to find an agency that is also well-suited to help you achieve your goals, some research and contemplation is required. It never hurts to call the agency of your choice, ask questions, and if something seems fishy about them, move on – many legitimate organizations will be more than willing to assist you in finding work abroad that you always dreamed about.