Since then, I've been asked many times about my experience and the first advice I tend to give, to anyone considering to apply for a WHV in Australia, is always the same.
Stop considering it. Just do it.
Don't let the fear of leaving your routine stop you from trying something new and exciting. Don't be tied down by your job. It's just a job. You will find another one when you come back – if you decide to come back. Stop postponing your decision, as the older you get, the harder it becomes to start afresh. You don't want to wake up at 31 and realize you missed the Australia Working Holiday Opportunity.
And what an opportunity. The freedom to live, travel, work and study in one of the most diverse and advanced country in the world. The chance to immerse yourself in a multicultural society, to learn new things and gain new experience, both personally and professionally. The time to live like a local, make new friends, build new routines.
What are you waiting for?
What I particularly like about the Australian WHV is how it is more about possibilities than obligations. You can stay up to 12 months, but you don't have to. You can work or study, but you don't have to. It is entirely up to you to decide how to spend your time in Australia. Some people work for the first six months and travel for the other six. Others keep travelling and only seek temporary work when the piggy bank is empty. Some look for full-time employment in their field of expertise, others take it as a gap year and prefer to sustain their travels with the occasional fruit-picking job, or try volunteering.
There is not a right way to make the most out of your WHV, the right way is whatever works best for you.
Take my story for example. When I applied for my Australian WHV, my main focus wasn't on travel. Sure, travel was part of the plan (as it always is), but I was mainly looking into living in Australia for a while, getting to know the country from the inside while possibly keep growing professionally, just like I'd done in Ireland.
Before entering Australia, I went with a friend on a 6-week road-trip around New Zealand (you know, since I was in the neighbourhood). While in New Zealand, all I had was my plane ticket and a good friend in Sydney who kindly had offered me to stay at her place for the first week or so. I had no idea how long it would take me to find a job or a place to stay, nor where in Australia would I end up finding either. I remember sitting in the camper van after dinner, sending emails and job enquiries to web agencies all across Australia. Some of them replied, most didn't. But I kept on going. Until one day, I finally got a reply from somebody who was interested. Long story short, I had an interview booked in Sydney on the day I set foot in Australia. How I managed to make a good impression after six weeks on the road, a 6am flight and only three hours of sleep still goes beyond my grasp, but evidently I did. Two days after the interview I was offered a job. On my sixth day in the country, I started working as a project manager at a cool digital agency in Surry Hills.
It still sounds crazy. But I like to tell people this story to show them there is no reason to be scared of the unknown. The unknown is exciting, filled with possibility, and amazing things can happen if you just let them. In the end, I stayed in that job for the whole six months the WHV allowed me to, learning from talented people and making new friends in the process. Then I set off to explore the rest of the country, on a three-month trip that finally hooked me on Australia forever.
Did I plan or count on finding such a cool job that quickly? No, absolutely not. Do I think I still would have enjoyed my time and travels in Australia should things had gone differently? Yes, absolutely.
It's all about that first leap of faith, everything else will follow. So, have you applied for your Australian WHV yet?
About this Guest Author:
Oriana is an Italian girl who loves travelling and living abroad. She is an avid instagrammer and never travels without her camera. She fell in love with Australia in 2010 and has been dreaming of going back ever since. She plans to explore the world slowly and thoroughly and write all about it on her blog. Read more about her travels and adventures on her blog, The Travel Gene.