I received the question from multiple people about how I was able to travel again, so shortly after a year of traveling in South and North America. No, I didn’t win the lottery and I didn’t get sponsored by a rich aunt or other family members;). Actually, this time it’s not really to travel. The first reason why I came here to Australia is to work and save money again.
When I came home in the Netherlands the end of July I had two options: Work and save money in the Netherlands or moving to Australia to work, where the minimum salary is almost twice as high. So the choice seemed easy, staying in the Netherlands or moving to Australia while I am still enjoying the adventure of being abroad again. Still young, 24 years old, working on a career is of course what I do have in mind for the future, but I have the rest of my life for that. Exploring the world is something I can do now and, referring to the advice of many older people, is something I will regret if I don’t do it at this age.
Was the choice really that easy?
When I booked my plane ticket at the end of my South-America trip it was, but when I got home I started to doubt. Questions from people around me why I wanted to go abroad again and the kind of pressure of society that makes everyone think a good career means a good life made me doubt about it. So yes, I left the Netherlands with a little doubt in my mind if it was the right decision.
However, now in Melbourne, lot´s of things to do, great people around and having an awesome time, I´m more than happy that I made this step again.
So the main reason I came here to Australia is saving money for new plans and adventures. In order to work in Australia, you have two options. A Working Holiday visa allows you to stay in Australia for 1 year (possible to expand to 2 years). Not every country participates in this program. You can find more information about that here. To apply for a Working Holiday visa is pretty easy. It took me just 10 minutes and I received it directly in my email box. The link to apply you can find here. When you enter Australia, you don’t have to print or show it, your passport is enough. Everything is in the system already.
A student visa is another option that allows you to work 20 hours a week besides your study. However, in real life, student visa holders work extra hours besides that. Mainly used by Indian, Brazilian, Chinese and Colombian people as they can´t apply for a Working Holiday visa. The study you choose can be at a university study or just an English study at a private school. More information how to apply for a student visa you can find here. Depending on the study you are doing it is possible to apply for a work visa after the student visa has ended.
So what about work?
The minimum salary is $17.70 per hour, what is already pretty high compared to other countries, but if you make some effort you will find an even a better-paid job. Gumtree and Seek are good websites to find full-time jobs, Backbackerboard.com and WorkAway are good websites for backpacker jobs. For hospitality jobs, the easiest way is Facebook pages like this one.
Australia is a country with a lot of regulations. For hospitality work, you need to do an RSA course (Responsible Alcohol Service) to prevent incidents during your work. Victoria, the state of Melbourne, is the only state where you can’t do it online. To be honest, my first thoughts were that it´s exaggerated to do this course, but it’s actually good to face some facts about alcohol and to know how to prevent incidents, which unfortunately happen a lot here in Australia.
Finding a job in hospitality in Melbourne in this period (November – February) is not that easy. Many people come to Melbourne with way more experience in hospitality than I have but after searching for a while and spreading out more than 70 CV´s I found a job for in the nights and weekends at Project 49. A modern restaurant which serves only organic and bioorganic food in a cool area in Fitzroy. With $22,50 an hour not as good as my main job but still pretty decent and a great place to work in.
Construction work is another industry which is popular to work at, because of the payments who are pretty high. To work in construction work you need to do a White Card course. You can do this one online, but it’s quite difficult. My English is not so bad, but I struggled with it to finish it. Not because the questions are difficult, more because the vocabulary which is used is pretty difficult to understand.
When I came to Australia I was already interested in becoming a painter. Like to do something with my hands rather than being in an office, all day long behind a desktop. So I started to search and it was actually easier than I thought it would be. I just posted an advertisement on Gumtree.com.au. I bluffed a bit that I had 1-year experience and soon I got a call from somebody who was looking for a painter. I watched Youtube video´s beforehand how to paint and just start to do it. Of course, at the beginning, I made a few mistakes, but I learned pretty quick. After 2 weeks the job was finished and I posted a new advertisement again and found a new job. At the moment I have multiple connections to paint and almost every day I have a job. Oh yes, and the payment, of course, $25 till $30 per hour cash in hand!
Of course, it is not something for the rest of my life but I do actually enjoy it a lot. And I can use this skill one day to paint my own house;).
There is also a course to be able to work in a casino (Responsible Service of Gambling) and to work in the kitchen of a restaurant (Responsible Service of Food). All these courses are $39 or cheaper when you complete them at the same institute. Other jobs which are popular to do are street sales and housekeeping. Both are not paying so well and the work circumstances are not that good. Farmwork is another job in which you will find a lot of Work Holiday travelers and what you have to do for at least 3 months to earn your second-year visa. For me, however, since I´m not planned to do that yet and I grow up in an environment like that already, the choice to live in the city was easily made.
So far my first blog about Australia. My next blog about the cost & living here, because Australia is not so expensive as people might think it is.
Greetings from Melbourne,