London always has this special place in my heart. Living and Working there allowed me to discover what I wanted in Life, and gave me a push towards pursuing what I liked. It was the start of my journey away from home. Although I was never really a Harrods or English-tea-sipping kinda girl, I enjoyed the vibrant and cultural lifestyle that London has to offer.
Weekends would be spent uncovering the endless Museums in London (personal favourite: the Natural History Museum! Most museums has free entry) or hunting for antique treasures at the Portobello Market. Summer meant perfect weather lazing by the lake in St. James Park, or taking a walk along the Thames, enjoying the view of this world renown city. Standing in the middle of Picaddilly Circus, I would always feel like I was in a dream. It was hard to believe I was in London. The Capital of the World.
Working in London on the Work Holidaymaker Visa was also enjoyably fun. Perhaps it was the type of work I had – 9-to-5 office work that was stress-free, and with like-minded colleagues around, work was never dull. Hitting the Pubs at 6pm was perhaps a British trademark I would remember for quite awhile. Always swigging a Pint of Carlin in my hand, it was the perfect social spot getting to know my multicultural colleagues. London is a melting pot for people from all over the world – from South Africans to Aussies and Polish, I would be meeting people of a different nationality every single day. London was also the gate to Europe – I took the opportunity to travel around Europe on vacation. From Greece in summer to the Holy week in Spain, even catching the Eurostar for a weekend trip to Paris, and cruising the canals of Amsterdam – London is the best base to see all of the romantic European continent. From cheap airfares as low as 20GBP, Ryanair and EasyJet just made travelling even cheaper and easier than ever.
Wanna know how to Work & Live in the UK/Australia? Here’s how!
*In continuation with previous post on ‘How to make the big move’
UK and Australia’s Working Holiday maker scheme allows young people to have an extended holiday by supplementing their travel funds through unprofessional employment, thus promoting international understanding and cultural exchange.
The UK visa is only opened to Commonwealth Citizens from the age of 17 to 30 to enjoy a working holiday for up to 2 years, but only work up to 12 months. The Australian WHM visa is only opened to certain countries, and only 12 months stay is allowed. The main reason for living in Australia/UK is to holiday and that any work is to support yourself while you are on holiday.
Based on my experience, it wasn’t difficult applying for the visa, the process was just long and tedious. But with all the documentation prepared, it really doesn’t take much to get it approved.
How to apply:
Head to the British High Commission/Australian embassy in your home country
The entire process usually takes 2-3 months from application to the results – so start early!
You will need documents to substantiate your application – such as account balance, reference letters and education transcripts. Make sure you prepare the documents in advance.
Check out these websites: http://www.skillclear.co.uk/workingholidays.asp
Can everyone apply?
Anyone who can show that he/she is able to sustain her life in the UK independently, and his/her qualifications allow him/her to find work in the UK.
It is not necessary to have a University degree, as long as no criminal record is shown, anyone from the Commonwealth countries is allowed to apply.
Only ex-WHM visa holders are not allowed to apply.
What type of work and How to find one?
Most types of work, including voluntary work, but you cannot set yourself up in or run a business, or work as a professional sportsperson.
From bartender to a tour guide, you can find any type of work you want!
The best job-advertising website: http://www.gumtree.com/
If you already work in an International Company, try to ask for a transfer before you quit and jump into the endless pool of job-hunting.
**I was lucky enough to get a transfer from the company I was working for previously. It was the perfect solution – saved me trouble of hunting for work, and I’m already familiar with the job and have time to explore London!
Cost of living:
The UK evidently has a high cost of living compared to other parts of the World. A room rental in a shared apartment would cost around 300-400GBP, while a meal at MacDonalds will kick you back around 6GBP.
Australia in contrast, actually has quite a reasonable standard of living. Especially with the Aussie dollar going downhill, this is the best time to hit downunder! A room rental costs A$400- 500, and a Mac meal for A$6.
* Exchange rate approx: 1GBP = US$1.5 = S$2 / A$1 = US$0.50 = S$1