What is a Working Holiday?

A chinese lion statue

A working holiday is a new experience that gets you away from normal life within the UK. It transports you to another country where you can work and immerse yourself in another culture. Working Holidays are a great experience to explore and further develop yourself. Waking up in a beautiful location and enjoying working with the countries natives is a fantastic experience.

Working Holiday Visas are residence permits and they grant you the ability to perform work in another country. These are great opportunities especially for young people who want to a new experience to help them grow personally and professionally. Living in a foreign country and interacting with the local culture is a great experience that will provide a new perspective on life.


These Visas are usually offered under agreements between countries that encourages travel and the desire to share cultural experiences. Unfortunately many of these Visas have age restrictions to encourage younger travelers. The standard ages range from 18 to 30 or 35 years old. The type of employment and length is usually restricted by country, so it is important to research your trip beforehand.

Also, if you are going on a working holiday you agree as a Visa holder to have enough funds to be able to support yourself abroad. Health insurance and travel insurance are also strongly encouraged as accident do happen. Travel insurance is relatively cheap and probably worth the money, especially since you never know what could happen.

Some of the most popular destinations for a working holiday abroad include: Japan, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, United States, and Spain. Obtaining a working Visa in most of these countries is not a difficult process, as they have pre-defined rules and regulations that you must adhere to carefully to ensure the best chance of being granted a visa.

A working holiday is meant to be fun and a new adventure. This is why there are so many options available and experiences to take advantage of. You could work on a farm, help conservation efforts, placement or even choose to work a job in a major foreign city. The choice is virtually yours after you are granted a Visa in your chosen country.

Some key things to consider with a working holiday:

  • Learn the local language. You might be there to teach english but that does not mean you should not practise the local dialect well in advance of your arrival. Doing so should help you feel more confident, comfortable and allow you to connect with locals more easily.
  • Comfortable accommodation and surroundings. Although frequently referred to as a holiday, odds are you will be placed in your chosen location for some time. Make sure you accommodation is quality and comfortable (for example, beds should be high-end and if there is a garden, ideally it should be accompanied by comfortable teak garden furniture). 
  • Get used to the food. For the same reason as above (you might be there for some time), you should try to find some local foods and recipes which you enjoy. It might prove challenging to stick to the same strict diet you might enjoy back home.
  • Set up times to contact those back home. It is good to agree on a contact schedule as you might be on different time zones. You will no doubt be busy in the initial days or weeks but trust us, those regular calls home will be invaluable once the homesickness inevitably kicks in.

Having a working visa does not necessarily mean that you need to earn an income abroad. Performing volunteer work is another self fulfilling option. It is important to ensure you are financially stable and able to provide for yourself if you choose to volunteer. Also, make sure you perform background research on the organization you wish to volunteer for. Make sure you and the organization share the same values and goals, and find out if they over a living stipend which could help offset your cost of living while abroad.