The iconic Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, beautiful beaches, and friendly people are only a few of the many charms found in Australia. Spanning the quiet coasts of Perth, the desolate red rock of the Outback, and the pristine waters that surround the Great Barrier Reef, the land Down Under draws travelers of all kinds from around the world. But why not trade in your tourist visa and really get to know the true Aussie lifestyle — by working abroad in Australia?
Food & Culture
A traditional country of the Commonwealth, Australia certainly partakes in the tradition of fish and chips; this ubiquitous dish is available in most of the restaurants or cafés around the country. But trying a chicken schnitzel is a must — do your taste buds a favor and add a savory topping to it, such as garlic prawns. Australians are big-time carnivores, so a juicy steak at the local pub is a common dinner for them. Adventurous visitors will want to sample the cooked kangaroo! The quintessential Aussie food, vegemite, is a must-try for any visitor Down Under. This very salty paste is a staple for almost all Aussies.
English is spoken here, but don’t get too comfortable, English speakers: Aussie slang can seem like a foreign language! If an Australian asks you to “put the esky in the boot,” will you stare blankly at him, or will you know to put the cooler in the trunk? Aussies will often make up slang on the drop of the hat. Rolling with the punches and joining in on the fun of their dialogue will not only add to the experience, but will provide some great lingo to bring home!
While it may seem on the surface that Australia is only home to blonde surfer babes, it is actually a melting pot of cultures and a great place to meet people from around the world. Australia’s native Aboriginal culture shines through in many towns across the country, and there is always an opportunity to learn the history of its native land. Australia is a “backpacker nation,” as a popular destination for travelers from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, and it’s home to many Asian immigrants as well. The chance to interact with people from Sweden, Chile, and China in the same day is not at all uncommon.
Things to Do
Besides the standard tourist destinations of Sydney, Melbourne, Uluru, and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia has many beautiful landscapes that will leave any visitor in awe. Small coastal towns are definitely worth the visit and can showcase the true Australian laid-back lifestyle with surfers, boys playing rugby in the sand, and sunbathers baking on the beach. Australians are sport fanatics, so when visiting the country, watching a game of footy or cricket is an absolute must! Gambling or “punting” in Aussie lingo is a favorite pastime of many Australians. You can catch many people making their way to the pub on a Saturday afternoon to watch horse races, or getting dolled up to head to the swanky racecourses in many towns to have a few beers and bet on the horses in person.
Working in Australia
Most people don’t realize that getting an Australian work visa is relatively easy. Filling out a simple online application and submitting some basic documents is usually all it takes to secure a one-year working visa in Australia. A standard work visa allows the holder to accept any sort of position for a maximum of 6 months during the year-long visa, and work up to 40 hours per week.
For most people, working abroad makes it possible to enjoy an extended stay in a foreign country, and enjoy all the benefits that come with it: travel, meeting people, and having new adventures. This visa allows for up to six months full-time employment, but allows the visa holder to stay for up to a year. It’s intended for visitors to work in various positions around Australia and to encourage them to explore the country. Most travelers get jobs in Australia in the service or hospitality industry (bars, restaurants, hotels, and guesthouses), or seek work through temp agencies that can find them short-term jobs in administrative office positions.
Finding housing while working abroad in Australia can pose a challenge, as there are many other foreigners in Australia also searching for living space. Finding a house-share is the most common way to secure housing and roommates in many areas of the country. Aussies tend to move around their own country almost as much as travelers do, so there is always someone looking to share a flat. A good place to start the housing search from abroad is with online classified ads, such as Gumtree (the Australian equivalent to Craigslist), or university websites with housing sections. Some travelers prefer to stay in a hostel or guesthouse for the first few days or weeks upon arrival, while getting to know the area and finding local resources for housing.