Working Holiday: What and Why
The Working Holiday Program allows young people to live in a foreign country without undergoing the costly expense of finding work through an agency or through an expensive university exchange program. There are some restrictions such as age restriction (18-30), length of time travelers can be employed (one year). All working holiday visas are provided through reciprocal agreements between the cooperating countries. Korea has an agreement with Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and sends many students to each country every year.
Each country has certain restrictions on accepting people applying for a Working Holiday; but the success rate is high, clearly demonstrating the popularity of Korean young people. Japan's annual number is 3,600 but its government announced that it would try to recruit 7,200 this year. Canada and New Zealand also decided to increase the number of Korean working holiday visas. In Australia's case, there is no limitation in accepting Korean visitors. Unlike other countries, Australia issues visas promptly; thus many young people prefer to go there.
In recent years, the Working Holiday Program has become increasingly popular with many students. Park Sang-woo, a student majoring in Life Science at Korea University, has been living in New Zealand as a student worker. He said he wanted to go abroad to study. "But I couldn't afford it. I need to work, so I decided to get a working holiday visa."
Tips for Working Holiday
If you get a working holiday visa, where would you like to go? And why do you want to go there?
The Post interviewed three students who visited or are now visiting countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan as student workers.
1. How did you collect information?
Son said she got information from an overseas educational institute, while Park said he joined the popular Internet club "The story of New Zealand." "I met many people living in NZ," said Park, "and got information from them by participating in off-line meetings."
2. What made you go?
"I was determined to acquire experience and make the most of being young," Son said. She accomplished this by doing various activities such as studying English, working as a waitress and travelling all across Australia. "I wanted to find more about myself, about my dreams and aspirations." Park said a working holiday in NZ was the experience that allowed him to find his true self. Yun Seok-hyeon, a student majoring in Japanese Lang. & Lit. at DU, worked in Subaru-Korea as a coordinator for a Korean-Japanese production company. It is the first step, he said, to achieve his goal of being an interpreter for NHK, one of the major broadcasting companies in Japan.
3. Could you tell us of any valuable lessons learned during your Working Holiday?
Son and Park said it was hard to live away from home and realized the importance of family. As previously stated, Son was convinced that those with enough courage will have experiences they'll never forget. Park and Yun also said they were able to learn about other cultures. In the case of Yun, he observed that the Japanese were always on time for work and was impressed by their professional attitude. "I did likewise. I did not want to be blamed for Korean-style tardiness," he said. Thanks to these experiences, we have been able to understand more about ourselves and our country, Korea.
Working Holiday: the Latest News
According to a news report, on Dec. 2008, the Korean and French government signed an agreement that allows for cultural exchanges between young Korean and French people, meaning that people from both countries can now travel and work with a working holiday visa. They stated that, from this year, each country will send 2,000 people. This program has been designed by the French Embassy in Korea and is now up and running. "Knowing how to speak French isn't the main criterion in issuing visas," said Oh Jong-min, the third secretary of Global Internship Support Center in MOFAT (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade). He did, however, emphasize that France requires its visitors to be insured. The center was founded last Feb. and aims to help prepare people who are coming to Korea on a working holiday visa. It also endeavors to promote more foreign participation from the 6 Working Holiday nations (Australia, New-Zealand, Canada, Japan, France, and U.S) by creating a range of jobs that suit their needs and revitalizing temple stay. "Whatever the situation is, we're ready to help," Oh added.
And where else can we find help? "We have overseas branches so when you arrive, there will be on-site help available," said Maggie, the section chief for the Working Holiday Association. This association runs its own language institute, which helps people's English skills before departure. "If you wish to work in a high quality position, you should study hard because some jobs require good English skills," he added.
For a Successful Working Holiday
Working Holiday Program allows us to accomplish three things: travel, study and work. It is the reason why Working Holiday has received such a good response from many young Korean people.
Experienced students say that you should study English in Korea, have a clear idea about what you want to do, and start with a definite plan. "Please prepare well in Korea, or you'll waste your time and money," Park advises, and you'll better save enough money just in case of emergency.
"It's ok if you're not fluent in English, but you need to find accommodation, choose the right job and be ready for any emergency," Oh said, adding that the best way to get information is from the people around you and from the Global Internship Support Center. He also urged to make full use of "Foreign national system" when you would stay abroad as a holiday worker.
In order to promote youth exchanges between the two countries, Pres. Lee at this G20 summit expressed his hope of Korea joining Britain's Youth Mobility Scheme in the near future. As we write, the government is concluding agreements on Working Holiday with many European countries, Germany and Ireland are some of the new additions. We hope more people will experience Working Holiday, which is not just for studying, but is a journey to find oneself.
By Jun Ji-min, Cultural Desk Editor
Jun Ji-min, Cultural Desk Edit firstname.lastname@example.org
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