Volunteer Work in Australia
If you’re tired of the rat race and its nine-to-five grind, consider taking some time out in Australia. It doesn’t need to be a fantasy; Australia.com outlines the Work and Holiday visa which allows young travelers to live and work in Australia for 12 months.
A year enjoying Australia’s laid back lifestyle should be enough to recharge your batteries, providing you take full advantage of the opportunity. Many visa holders spend their time Down Under chasing the mighty dollar, but you could do that at home. If you want to make a real change, consider taking a more altruistic route and giving back with a volunteer job.
There are many reasons to consider volunteering that are often more personally satisfying than a paycheck. It’s a great way to meet likeminded people, both volunteers and members of the Australian community. The new challenges will help you grow as a person and become more confident. And while it may not provide the financial incentives of a paid position, as with any regular job you’ll learn new skills which can bulk up your resume.
If you were inspired by the wildlife warrior work of Australia’s beloved crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, consider following in his footsteps and taking up a conservation post. Organizations like Conservation Volunteers Australia and the Friends of the Earth Australia all accept international volunteers for their projects. The opportunities for volunteers are diverse, but might include planting trees, monitoring endangered wildlife and plants, controlling weeds and erosion, and restoring animal habitat.
If the world of organic farming interests you, a farm stay may be more your speed. Some of the best farm stay experiences for international travelers are offered by farms affiliated with the WWOOF website. This acronym stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. The site sells yearly WWOOF memberships packaged with books listing participating farms. While this membership requires an initial investment, it will help you find farms around Australia which offer volunteer positions in exchange for accommodation and all meals. These added perks quickly make up for the cost of the WWOOF membership. Through your work you’ll learn more about organic farming processes, bio-dynamics, and permaculture. Life on the farm can be tough, but anyone with a sound mind and average fitness should be able to handle it.
Spending time in a rural community is also a wonderful escape from your inner-city existence back home.
For a wider range of volunteering opportunities, consult GoVolunteer, a search engine developed by Volunteering Australia. This website allows potential volunteers to search for community organizations that need them. You could look for the type of organization you’re interested in, such as conservation or human rights, the Australian location you hope to visit, or a specific volunteer position. You can also apply for the advertized jobs online through GoVolunteer, so you can easily organize a position before you leave home.
As volunteer positions are unpaid, you will need to consider your budget more carefully than most Work and Holiday visa holders. Look for work with organizations which provide meals, accommodation, and travel for their volunteers. These details are generally stated in the job description or on the organization’s website, so ensure you read these thoroughly.
If you cannot secure one of these all-expenses paid positions, it’s important to ensure you have the funds to support yourself. Most volunteer positions require a fixed commitment, so you will need enough money to sustain yourself during this time. You might consider staying in a share house, perhaps with other volunteers, to minimize spending when you’re on the job. Car pooling with other volunteers and cooking at your accommodation are also great ways to save cash.
Remember, in accordance with the Work and Holiday visa you can accept any working position during your 12-month stay. It’s therefore possible to balance volunteer work with paid positions to earn extra money if your finances are tight.
To learn more Australia’s Work and Holiday Visa program, and its conditions visit Australia.com.