Let’s be real, organising a working holiday is a hectic process. In some cases you need a sponsor for particular visas, in most cases you at least need assistance with your visa application as it can be a confusing process. This is why working holiday programs exist, to guide would-be travellers through the paperwork and planning involved in a gap year so you can get overseas faster and easier. There is a wide range of working holiday providers, the programs they offer differ greatly from where they go to what support they provide.
What is important in a good working holiday program provider and the way they operate? It can be overwhelming trying to decide who to go with, and why.
10 things to keep in mind when shopping around for a working holiday program provider:
1. Getting more information:
How easy is it to find information on their programs? How easy is their website to use? Can you get more information without having to commit to anything or feel pressured? Are the costs listed on the site?
2. Programs and options:
Do they offer what you are looking for? Is it easy to figure that out? Are there job placement options?
3. Personal touch:
Can you get in touch with a real person to talk through your options with and to answer your questions? Are you able to take some time to think about it and get back in touch. There should be no reason you would need to sign up right then or you ‘miss out.’
How do past and present participants rate them? Check reviews of the company on Facebook and Google. Avoid checking reviews through 3rd party sites, these may not be reliable and sometimes reviews are purchased from a third party company.
5. Visa applications:
Do they provide assistance through your visa application process? How comprehensive is their assistance? Do you need visa sponsorship and is that provided? If they tell you that only have one visa left or have your visa, but you need to apply today – walk away. For countries like Canada & the UK working holiday companies do NOT get exclusive visas for their participants.
6. Job placements:
How do their job placements work? Can you get more information on employers and jobs on offer? Do they guarantee a job placement? Are the interviews over skype or face to face?
7. In-country support:
What resources will you have access to when you’re overseas? Will you have support and guidance for the duration of your trip? Will you be able to meet other people on the same program while you’re overseas? How long do they provide the in-country support for?
How easy is it to get information on the Terms and Conditions of the different programs? What are their refund policies like? Do they have any guarantees, and how do those work? If you cannot find the Terms & Conditions, do NOT sign up.
9. Money, money, money:
Do they clearly state the cost of their programs? Are their costs competitive? Do they provide upfront information on any additional costs that you will also need to pay for? Do they try and package everything up ie flights, insurance, visas, program fees ect.
Are there any bonuses/discounts/promotions you get for signing up with them like freebies, flight deals etc.
At IEP we know first-hand how daunting planning a gap year can be. We’ve all been there and done that so we strive to make sure we provide programs and services that are rewarding and worthwhile. Take your time and do your research. If you feel pressured – walk away. If you the costs aren’t outlined on the website – walk away.
A great way to learn more about our programs is to come to a FREE information session. We regularly host these around Australia. Check to see when we are visiting your city here. If you have any questions in the meantime feel free to contact us here or give us a call on 1300 797 702.