Traveling has allowed me to meet so many new people from all over the world, but it has also allowed me to make new friends in my own city, as I often get referred by friends and family to their friends and family who have questions about traveling or working abroad. This is how I was first introduced to Taylor, as she was looking into working abroad and had many questions about which program I had used and how I found work, etc… I was about her age the first time I went on a working holiday and I thought it would be interesting to interview her before, during and after her trip to see how her perspective changes and whether the reality of working abroad lives up to her expectations.
AWA: How old are you?
AWA: Why do you want to work abroad?
TK: I want to work abroad because I love traveling, and I want the opportunity to be able to go abroad and experience what it’s like to be fully immersed in a country and culture. Also, traveling within Europe is very expensive, so being able to stay there, earn an income and have time off to travel within is the perfect storm!
AWA: It’s so true, working holidays are the best way to make travel affordable and accessible, especially somewhere like Europe which is very expensive. You don’t have to have $20,000 saved in the bank if you’ll be earning money while you’re traveling.
AWA: A lot of people your age are going to University, are you in school right now? Are you taking time off to travel?
TK: This would have been my third year of university, but I am taking this year completely off. My first year out of high school I only went part-time in preparation for a trip to Western Europe and this past year I went full-time while working and saving for this trip! When I return, I plan to complete my undergrad in honours psychology and then complete a masters in school psychology.
AWA: That’s cool! I took time off to travel before starting university and again when I was halfway through and I never regretted it.
AWA: How long will you be gone?
TK: This is the one thing that I for sure don’t know! I have committed to working for 6 months at 10 Castle. I know my employers are flexible with having time off, so I will be traveling as much as possible throughout those six months. After my job commitment is complete, I will be staying to travel as long as I am financially able to do so!
AWA: What does your family think of you going to work abroad?
TK: At first my mom and dad and sister, 23, were very skeptical, as I expected, but I had planned this trip about a year in advance so they had time to come to terms with it. Mainly what worries them are just the basics of what would worry any parent if their child is traveling. At the end of the day I knew this is something I wanted to do and luckily my parents understand that and understand the need to travel, so all in all they’re supportive!
AWA: You ended up choosing Global Work and Travel for your working holiday, why did you choose them and what other programs did you consider?
I chose Global Work and Travel co. because they ultimately seemed like the most reliable company, paired with the most support. I knew I would never work abroad without some form of security, whether that be from a company that’s helping to send me overseas or a company that’s stationed there, and Global Work and Travel is both! The most important thing they’ve done is to secure the waitressing/bartending job I have waiting for me, and that’s all I needed to have the confidence and security to sign on with a company and get the process started! I only seriously considered one other program, the one you went on your work exchanges with: SWAP (Students Working Abroad Program)
AWA: It’s too bad that SWAP didn’t really work out for you cause it was such a great program for me, but I totally understand the appeal of having a job waiting for you versus having to try and find one when you arrive. I’m so glad you found something that works for you, that’s really the most important thing.
AWA: Where will you be working and what kind of work will you be doing?
TK: I will be working in Cranborne, Dorset, about an hour and a half south-west of London, England. In Cranborne I will be working at a manor which doubles as a restaurant, as well as a bar and hotel, and I will be waitressing and bartending.
AWA: Why England?
TK: I chose England because when I was in London I just fell in love with it and it’s always been a place that’s fascinated me! Also English is the first language, so there isn’t any obvious language barriers.
AWA: Is this your first solo trip?
TK: Yes, this is my first trip completely solo!
AWA: Good for you, solo travel is so rewarding!
AWA: Have you done much traveling so far?
TK: Five years ago, in the summer of 2014, I went to Italy for two weeks with my aunt and my best friend, Kiara, and that was my first time going to Europe. Last summer, 2016, I went for two months all around Western Europe and Morocco with Kiara and another friend Kelsey. I have also been to Mexico and Cuba several times for winter vacations with my family.
Tropical destination holidays are fantastic and after going several times when I was little, traveling was already a huge part of my life, but after my first time in Europe, the travel bug got me and from there on out I knew traveling was going to be the most fulfilling thing I could do with my life.
AWA: Which countries did you travel to when you went to Western Europe with your friends?
TK: When I first visited Europe with my 2 friends we started in London (England) then on to Paris (France), Brussels (Belgium) , Eindhoven (Netherlands), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Berlin (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic), Obertraun (Austria), Budapest (Hungary), Split (Croatia), and up the coast to Dubrovnik (Croatia), Interlake (Switzerland), Barcelona (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal) and we finally ended with Marrakesh (Morocco)
AWA: That’s a pretty good introduction to Europe! I haven’t been to Croatia yet, so I’m a little jealous, lol.
AWA: Are you nervous? Excited? Scared? All of the above?
TK: Definitely all of the above! I already know the morning I leave, I’m going to wake up thinking: “What in the world am I getting myself into, can I do this?”, but at the end of the day all my anxiety about what I’m going to encounter will be at bay because I know that this is about to be one of, if not the, most insane and terrifying experiences of my life! I don’t think I will ever fully achieve the feeling of “being ready”, but there comes a point where you just have to book a flight, jump on and enjoy the ride. Personally, reaching that point was the best thing to ever happen to me. A giant part of my thought process is: If not now, when? As scared as I am, the thought of staying home another year and not experiencing all that’s out there scares me even more.
AWA: Omg, yes, I felt the same way on my first trip abroad. It really is a matter of booking it and just doing it. I had the same doubts and thoughts of: I can’t do this, but I pushed through it and it turned out to be the best thing I ever could’ve done. I’ve learned so much on my working holidays and made friendships that continue to this day.
AWA: What are you most looking forward to?
TK: I’m most looking forward to all the new experiences that I’m going to grow and learn from! I believe that traveling is the best form of education, it’s quite literally priceless. After traveling, no matter how far or how long, coming home is never the same again because you’ve changed and learned so much about the world and yourself and that’s what I’m most excited for.
AWA: I’m sure you’ll be doing some traveling while you’re there, what’s on your bucket list? Any absolute musts?
TK: I would love to travel as much as I can through England and Ireland, as well as Kiev, Ukraine and Krakow, Poland. Ultimately, I’ll be happy with anywhere I travel on this trip, whether I’ve been there already or not.
AWA: Are any of your family or friends planning on visiting you while you’re there, or meeting up to do some traveling with you?
TK: One of my friends, Kiara, will be completing her second semester on an exchange in Lisbon, Portugal, so I will hopefully be spending as much time with her as possible while we’re both overseas together. I have a cousin who recently moved to London to teach so I will be meeting up with her, and lastly, I became very close to some people we met in Croatia who live in London and so I will hopefully be seeing them as well.
AWA: Awesome! I LOVE when family and friends come visit me when I’m living abroad and I can show them around my new city or do some other traveling with them. Or when I have friends that I can visit in foreign countries. My last trip to Europe was mostly me visiting friends in various cities, lol!
AWA: Will you be staying in England for Christmas or coming home?
TK: I will hopefully be able to come home for Christmas if I can get the time off!
AWA: Taylor, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I’m really excited for you and can’t wait to see how it all turns out. Good luck in your new adventure, I know you’ll have the most amazing time!
Taylor has just arrived in England to start her new adventure . I’ll be following up with her in a few months to see how she’s enjoying life across the pond, so stay tuned!