Here’s the funny thing about this interview: Kristin and I don’t know each other. At all! I stumbled upon her blog and left a comment, and then she came to visit mine. Hooray for making friends through the internet! I noticed on her site that she had been to Australia, and with no arm-twisting on my part she volunteered to share her experiences with me!
So, without further ado, let’s hear from Kristin!
Tell us how you ended up in Australia.
I first went to Australia to study abroad. That’s when I found out about the work-holiday visa. Throughout my last year of college, I was dead-set on going. I recruited a girlfriend from Tulane to go with me. We were both nervous, of course, but tried not to let each other know how scared we really were.
Was it very difficult to find work once you arrived? I admit I’m a bit nervous about going with no specific job prospects lined up.
Aussies claim that their recession is over. Things ARE better there in terms of jobs. Especially on the West Coast near Perth. The high season is around Christmas. Best time to get a job in hospitality is September-October-November; restaurants and bars are always looking for extra hands around then, especially in tourist destinations. I was there in 2008-2009 and had three restaurant jobs lined up within the first four days. I just walked around with my resume, handing it out. Granted, I’d been waiting tables for quite some time!
What did you do about housing?
It took about a month to find and secure an apartment, but that’s because we were picky. We lived in a hostel ’til we found a place, and that was cool because we made lots of friends. Do your research on what you need to take for securing an apartment; I had to get reference from a landlord and print out all my bank statements.
So what did you think of the Aussies? What’s their culture like as compared to Americans?
Aussies are different, but it’s hard to say why. They’re more carefree. No worries, mate. Americans get made fun of a lot; they call our country “the cesspool.” I wonder why. But there are interesting differences, in all seriousness. Their population is 1/4 non-Australian born, but the culture is overwhelmingly “white”. It’s boring but fascinating at the same time. Treatment of Aboriginals is another interesting historical and cultural aspect.
Did you get to meet Crocodile Dundee? 🙂
No, but I served his son at my bar all the time. He drank double-vodka & Redbull.
Ha ha, I didn’t really expect an answer to that question. How funny!
Well, what do you think of my crazy idea?
I love it. Do it. The best part about going somewhere new, I think, is meeting the like-minded people who are also there, searching for something. It’s sort of like your first semester of college – being thrown into a hostel with people who don’t know each other but are all there for the experience. Backpackers are so welcoming and quick to bond with others. And being an outsider is cool; people are always wanting to help you and know about why you’re there and what you’re doing. People usually think that they lives are boring, and they’re somehow flattered by the fact that you have come around the world to live like they do.
And summarize your current project so I can share it with my readers!
I’m quitting my job and starting a fair-trade fashion business with a girl I met (incidentally) in Australia. She was doing the exact same thing as I was there – except bartending at another bar! Anyway, we’re blogging about the process of researching and designing a clothing line and hoping it helps other young entrepreneurs as well. We’re hoping to manufacture in Guatemala, so I’m headed there this week for some first-stage research!
Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and experiences, Kristin! You’ve got me lamenting my own lack of restaurant experience (I doubt movie theaters count) if you were able to find employment so easily. I’m excited to continue follow your adventure as I attempt to embark on my own!