If you’re under 30 and a citizen of a western country then you have a reasonable chance of being eligible for working holiday visas in other countries. (If you have multiple citizenship then, well, I’m jealous!)
I can only speak from the position of a Kiwi, but many Kiwis head to the UK on the two-year visa. Many don’t even know that similar visas are now available for Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and more. The visas are generally 1-2 years’ duration and include the right to work at least part-time while there.
These visas are awesome because they mean you can travel and earn money at the same time! Well, hallelujah!
Even if you’re over 30 it’s not all bad news. There are still visas available, and several are points-based depending on your college degree and work experience.
I’ve had two Working Holiday visas, one for the UK (two years, although I only stayed for one) and Germany (one year). I worked mainly as an English Language teacher, having taken a one-month course in NZ first called the CELTA, which is internationally recognized.
I’ll blog more about work experience overseas and how to get a job in another post. This post is mainly to share the good news that there are lots of overseas visas and you should start researching now!
Where do you want to go? Visit the website of that country’s consulate and check out the visa section. Find people who have lived there (Alabama, Arctic, someone will have done it) and ask them how they managed it. People love being asked how they did something.
Note: You will generally need to apply for visas before you leave your home country.
Depending on the country, there may be some red tape to wallow through first, so allow plenty of time. My visa for England took ages, because there were so many applicants. My German visa took a few days. My visa for the US wasn’t hard but I had to wait ages in queues to be approved. Be patient.
Note 2: There are organizations that can help you arrange your visa. Do a Google search for ‘organize visa for [country]‘. I have never used one so can’t comment too much, however I’m a fan of doing it myself because a) it’s cheaper and b) that way I know exactly what’s going on with my application.
Note 3: If you find that you’re from a country that sadly doesn’t have many overseas visa options, consider finding a job at a multi-national company and get an overseas transfer. Friends of mine have done this with great success.