Are you itching to get out of your country for a while but still need to support yourself financially? If your answer is, “YES!” then you will enjoy today’s interview with Diane Boyer, an American citizen who took advantage of a year abroad in New Zealand on a Work Holiday Visa.
WCIL: Where did you first learn about a Working Holiday Visa?
Diane: I heard about the working holiday visa from friends of friends who were about to embark on one in England the same time I was about to travel to New Zealand.
WCIL: What made you want to sign up for one?
Diane: Candidly, on my own, I don’t know if I ever would have done this. I’m from a small farm town in Idaho and had never been out of the United States previously. I’m a Type A, to-do list, “what’s next to accomplish” kind of girl. However, one of my friends, had the urge to go and after reading about it, I knew that before starting work full-time was when I should go. I knew that if I didn’t go then, I would never go.
WCIL: What made you choose New Zealand?
Diane: The length of the work visa. New Zealand allowed for a year. The other countries through the company I received my work visa from either were six months or countries I didn’t have an interest in living.
WCIL: How long was your visa for?
Diane: One year but I stayed for 10 months.
WCIL: What did it feel like once you received your visa?
Diane: At the time, I was finishing up university and while it helped cement my future abroad, I had so much on my mind that it was kind of like just another check off of the to-do list. I know, typing this, and looking back at this exciting time, that sounds terrible. But, I had tunnel vision to finish school!
WCIL: Can you describe the moment when you officially bought your tickets for NZ?
Diane: Yes, as an almost-graduating, broke college student, my first thought was “this is so much money!” After that, I was excited, it really started to feel as if it was about to happen.
WCIL: What did it feel like when you first arrived?
Diane: I felt exhausted after the brutal flight. It was a nonstop from LAX, so about 14 hours of flying time.
WCIL: What kind of job(s) did you have while there?
Diane: The entire time I worked for a restaurant and pub.
WCIL: Were you limited to only certain jobs or did the visa allow you to work any job you could get hired for?
Diane: While I can’t say for certain, I believe so. And it’s pretty hard to hide the American accent and I was candid that this wasn’t a long-term situation.
WCIL: How was the experience of looking for accommodation?
Diane: I went to New Zealand with a friend and luckily, it was very easy finding accommodation. I think it was the timing of when we arrived, as well as Nelson seemed to have a lot of people like myself, visiting for holiday or etc.
WCIL: How was the experience meeting locals?
Diane: For the most part, the locals were not that friendly. There, I said it. The locals were polite, but they weren’t friendly. I understand that it was a combination of a lot of things, the current US political climate, New Zealand was receiving a lot of tourism due to Lord of the Rings and lots of people were moving to New Zealand. Yes, it was partly what I represented and partly because I have a polarizing personality. However, those that were not originally from New Zealand were friendly and I was able to better connect to them.
WCIL: Tell us about some cool memories you have from your time there?
- The first time seeing the Abel Tasman National Park is still one of my top five most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I had never been in anything tropical before that.
- Going to the Wild Foods Festival in Hokitika and eating truly weird food that I would never eat again. Twenty-something Diane was a lot more adventurous, or maybe naïve.
- Hiking the Routeburn track. I’m not a big outdoorsy girl, but to do that for five days was among some of the greatest things I’ve ever done.
- The fantastic weather, but since there was a hole in the ozone, getting burnt the first time.
- The fresh produce was incredible and I was able to try things I had never had before such as kumara and feijoa.
WCIL: Is there anything else you would like to share about your time there?
Diane: I would recommend everyone to do this. Each person, good or bad, has different experiences, but I think it’s good for everyone to do a working holiday or live in a different country. It opens your view of the world, humbles you or really makes you appreciate where you live now.
WCIL: . What advice would you give anyone considering a work holiday visa?
Diane: I would 100% encourage anyone to do it.
Why not Teach English as a Second Language whist on your working holiday?
Complete the International TEFL Academy Course and make your dream a reality.
Use our Discount Code of WHERECANI.LIVE to receive $50 off your Online, Barcelona, Chicago and Nicaragua TEFL course tuition.