Looking to get your 2nd year Working Holiday Visa?
If you’ve been following my adventures and tips from my working holiday in Australia then you’ll already know that working in rural area is a great way to save money and you can even qualify for a 2nd year working holiday visa. This week I’m talking to Melissa about her job on a dairy farm in Australia that allowed her to gain her 2nd year visa.
How to get a 2nd year working holiday visa by working as a Dairy Farmer in Australia – an Interview with Melissa from a Broken Backpack
Melissa Giroux, originally from Quebec in Canada, is a full time backpacker since June 2014 and a travel blogger at night at abrokenbackpack.com. She left everything behind to travel to Western Canada and the States. Melissa is currently in Australia on a working holiday visa, completely out of her comfort and her language zone but she found a way to get a regional paid job as a dairy farmer.
So you came to Australia on a working holiday visa? How easy/ difficult was it to find a job?
Yes, I flew to Australia last November! It can be easy to find a job if your desire is to get a low pay cheque as there are a lot of places that aren`t following the rules. As it is not really my desire, it has been hard to find a long term job which offers a good wage.
And now you are working on a dairy farm in the Tablelands around Cairns? What’s that like and how did you get the job?
I had my first experience as a dairy farmer in Victoria and as soon as it started to get colder, my partner and I decided to go on a road trip up north. Our car became «exhausted» and our expenses for the fuel were a lot more than what we anticipated. We arrived in Cairns almost broke and we found a volunteer job on a beef cattle farm in the Tablelands so we could find a paid job during that time. The specific town where we are is such a small place and everybody knows everybody. We got a contact for a dairy farm and as we already had some experience, it was really easy to get the job.
Being a dairy farmer means obviously milking cows. In my case, it means milking 600 cows twice a day. I work for a renowned company in the region where I am.
What do you like the best about working on a dairy farm?
In Canada, I used to be a social worker and a travel agent. So far, in Australia, I have challenged myself with different jobs that I have had and being a dairy farmer is the biggest challenge yet. It is my very first experience working with animals. If at the beginning it was hard, now I enjoy it. I also like the fact that there are plenty of hours available on a farm, meaning it`s easy to save money.
But nothings perfect right? Are there any downsides?
Of course! The morning shifts are far too early. If I start at 4:00AM, it means that I need to wake up at 3:00AM. Believe me, it is hard. It is also a physical job, which I was not used to back home, and I discovered a lot of new muscles!
And what has been the greatest challenge?
I don’t want to sound rude, but it is definitely the «crap» part. On my very first shift as a dairy farmer, my boss was cleaning the crap off the safety rail with her bare hand. I was in shock and I could not imagine myself doing that kind of job. In that same shift, I received what they call «digested grass» all over my neck and then I thought, I can`t do this anymore. Today, when I am thinking about it, I laugh. Now, I can say that I am used to it and I can predict when it will happen, so I can also avoid it!
Yuk! So does this job qualify you for that all important 2nd year working holiday visa?
Yes! It was the main idea at the start but, now, I am well ahead of the 88 days required. As it is hard to find a good job that qualifys for the 2nd year working holiday visa in Australia, I prefer to stay here so I can save lots of money.
Awesome, so what tips would you give to others who are trying to get their 2nd year working holiday visa?
I think it is better to get a regional job at the beginning of the visa, so you have the time to choose the job that you want, rather than rushing into it . I definitely recommend working on a dairy farm as it is a good way to get some money for the rest of your trip and once you get the experience, it is so easy to find a job. As it is hourly paid, it is also more attractive than to be paid by the piece as a lot of farm jobs out here do. Plus, you can normally have cheap accommodation on the farm. 88 days could appear a long time, but what are 3 months in your life of trying something you never did before?
To apply for the 2nd year working holiday visa, you lodge it online, which is easy! (I’ve got mine in 30 minutes!)
What do you wish you had known before you came to Australia for a working holiday?
I wish I knew how hard it was to get a great job, but also, that if you persist; it is possible to do so. I think it is so easy to be broke and you have to take the first job that comes up, which I did at the start and it is not always a good thing.
There are also a lot of scams and it is important to be aware of them and to know your rights.
(I talk a bit about the scams to be aware of in my honest guide to finding a job in Australia or for all the tips download my ebook – A backpacker’s guide to a working holiday in Australia)
So, what about the future? What’s next?
As I have a promising future as a dairy farmer (laughs), my plan is to save money for a few more months and then hit the road again. I will probably travel to New Zealand as it is close to here and then come back to Australia for my 2nd year working holiday. This country is HUGE and there are so many places to see.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what tips would you give for people wanting to follow in your footsteps and work in Australia?
Tip #1: Be prepared!
The Australian government recommends that you have enough money to survive down here, although they rarely check, BUT… Don’t forget that everything is expensive here! I did not have that much money when I arrived and it is easy to spend it really quickly with accommodation, food and activities. You need to be prepared to work when you run out of money (do you have any great traveller clothes for an interview? Is your resume ready, can you print it out?).
Tip #2: Save for your next adventure!
While working, if you make the choice to go far away from a city, it is going to be easier to save money for your next trip. In a big city, you will spend crazy money on rent and it is hard to save as you have a lot of opportunities. If you are rich, you are lucky. If you are like me, it is better to travel across Australia with money saved in your bank account. You will need savings to enjoy your adventures!
Tip #3: Enjoy!
The country is big and full of diversity. Don’t forget to enjoy the holiday part of your visa. It is not all about work, we are still here to travel, remember?
Thanks Melissa! Great tips and what an experience although I don’t think I could deal with early mornings!
If you are working abroad and want to be featured and help inspire others to work and travel contact me to be interviewed. If you are heading to Australia download my free ebook!