A Guide To Gap Year Jobs

Travelling is an awesome thing to do, but it can be expensive and a drain on financial resources; so many backpackers opt to pause for a while to look for gap year jobs in order to reinvigorate the budget.
The good thing about working while you’re abroad is that not only will you earn some more cash for more adventures, but it can also be great for your career prospects when you return; especially if you get employed in a field of work that you’re interested in.

It is important to do as much pre-planning as possible, keeping in mind that you’ll need a special kind of visa – commonly referred to as a Working Holiday Visa – to find jobs overseas on your gap year. These usually need to be requested and obtained before you enter the corresponding country.

Some of the countries which offer Working Holiday Visas to UK nationals are:
·       Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark,  Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Uruguay.

Keep in mind that Working Holiday Visas for some countries are more expensive than others, and also that some countries are easier to apply for than others. The USA is known for having a particularly complicated and lengthy application process, for example; whereas Australia is relatively straightforward and cheap.
Once your visa has been approved (usually in the form of a stamp in your passport), you will be free to apply for work in your country(s) of choice, either before you go or once you’re there.

In some of the world’s poorer countries you may find it difficult to find paid work (especially menial employment such as labouring) as priority has to be given to the locals. In these countries you could look at volunteering opportunities; some of which you’ll need a Working Holiday Visa for, but most of which you won’t be paid for. Indeed, normally you will have to pay a fee for the privilege of volunteering.

You will find, however, that in most places you can teach. The subject will most commonly be English, which is known as Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).
Southeast Asia is a popular location for TEFL workers as the pay is excellent in comparison to general living costs, and there is always a need – particularly in Thailand – for English teachers. It is important to note that with respect to TEFL, some countries require you to have a qualification before you can teach (Thailand, for example) and others do not require this (e.g. Japan).

Many backpackers choose to find gap year jobs in Australia, and while there are opportunities in the urban areas, the vast majority of travellers opt for fruit picking. This involves living on a farm with others doing the same job, and in the day harvesting various fruits and vegetables by hand. It is difficult work, especially with the hot Australian climate, but still a great experience.

Another idea for a gap year job is to work a ski season in a resort; perhaps in Europe, the States or Canada, as either a ski instructor or in hospitality. There is no shortage of work in this field.

Photo Credit: Will Ellis via photopin cc

Will Jones is a professional travel writer and content & social media specialist. His passion for travel was spawned during a year-long trip through far flung corners of the planet, during which he blogged incessantly and discovered a lifelong love for Mi Goreng noodles. One of his ambitions is to have a friend in every country before he retires.

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