Two months ago, I joined 8,000 something video applicants with the hopes of obtaining one of Tourism Australia’s Best Jobs in the World as “Wildlife Caretaker” on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Today, I sit in the offices of the South Australia Tourism Commission as the winner of that exact position.
I am atop the world with excitement and am still finding it difficult to grasp the extent of how winning this contest has changed my life forever. One thing I do know for sure is I need a Working Holiday Visa, so where to begin when hoping to work abroad in the Land Down Unda’?
I have always known I would live in Australia at some point. As a traveller and adventurer, I have met a ton of Aussies crisscrossing all parts of the world. Canadians and Aussies have a lot in common, socially, culturally, economically—and even to some extent environmentally, depending on your description of an environment. After countless interactions and incredible stories from Aussie themselves and other travellers who had spent time in Aussieland, it became increasingly clear to me that this is where I need to be and where I should do my one-year working holiday. Luckily for me, the opportunity of obtaining one of the best jobs in the world happened to present itself at the exact same time I was looking to make my move. Fast forward two months and here I am.
The Working Holiday Visa for Canadians looking to live and work in Australia is relatively easy to obtain. The only requirements seemingly being that you’re aged between 18 and 30 and have a valid passport. It is an online application process with a relatively quick turnaround process.
Before obtaining the position of Wildlife Caretaker, I worked as a small group adventure tour leader in the Southern Cone region of South America. My job consisted of managing travel logistics for groups of up to 16 people with ranging ages, hailing from all over the world. I was also required to set up adventure activities and join the groups in as many of these as I could. It was my job to ensure the travellers got the most out of their tour experience, whether it was rock climbing in Bolivia or skiing on active volcanoes in Chile. The role involved a certain understanding of ecosystems and environments, and I’m lucky to be able to easily transfer these skills towards the role of Wildlife Caretaker. As a professional within tourism this was the obvious go to choice for me.
I will be moving to Australia in December 2013 for at least a year. There are a couple things I am especially looking forward to. The summer sun and surf are the first things that come to mind, but also the food and drink, the warm and friendly people (who all seem to think I sound funny), the incredible diversity of landscapes, the new and intriguing wildlife, the definite life changing experiences swimming with dolphins and sea lions, diving with Great Whites, and overall travelling this wonderful state.
There are so many opportunities for fun and interactive work in Aus. It is such a great place to focus a year of grass roots experience before catapulting into the world of the yuppie professional. Travel is an education within itself and having the chance to explore a new country, new location, new culture, will broaden your horizons like you could ever expect.