"The support that SWAP was monumental in helping me with my transition overseas. Upon arrival they introduced me to some of the most interesting and open people I have ever met, the community that they has been able to develop is truly something special and it cannot be understated how key that is to a successful transition. On top of the community aspect, the coordination from SWAP to have all logistics obstacles (setting up bank accounts, resources for jobs, housing leads, etc.) was a significant boost in the right direction. There are so many normal stresses with a move of any kind, let alone overseas. I cannot understate the importance for an organization like SWAP to have these questions sorted out for you so you can focus on the real reason you’re travelling, to meet new people, visit exciting places and grow as a person."
"When I arrived here shaking, terrified and somewhat delusional from a long flight, SWAP were the light at the end of the tunnel. As soon as I dropped my bag off at the hostel, I went to the [hosting centre] to sign-in and was given an introduction to everything. I got all of my silly questions answered and met others who were in the same boat. It was so nice to have support that first week in the country. I think my transition to Sydney would have been so much more painful had I not gone through SWAP." (pictured on far left)
"USIT was really amazing and for anyone thinking of which country to go to, I recommend Ireland for a myriad of reasons, USIT being a major one. They really smoothed my way into Ireland. And of course the office was a great place to hang out and use the free computers and internet, the staff were lovely, they had up to date job offers and room rentals always on hand.
I first saw a SWAP booth when I was a 20 year old University student, but I was too scared to do it. I thought I would never find work, or I'd run out of money, or it would be too scary. But the support of the SWAP and USIT office made a huge amount of difference. I wish I hadn't waited 10 years before I had the courage to go for it (the realisation that I had run out of many countries I could visit now that I was past 30 was a real motivator!!)"
"Hello/Konnichiwa! こんにちは！I'm Sabrina, from Toronto, Canada. Currently, Fukuoka city on Japan's most southern island of Kyushu is my home for the next year. I am absolutely loving it here! A few highlights of my working holiday experience so far in Japan are learning about the Japanese culture, making new friends, and discovering that I really enjoy teaching English as a foreign/second language. "
"I forced myself to move on and MY GOODNESS what a world of difference. I found a home more homey than actual home. I found friends that instantly felt like family. I found a surf school, and without surfing a day in my life I started working there. Now I have a newfound passion.
Right on Queen St in Auckland, there was the [members' resource centres]. These ladies were a life saver. Especially Ritchell. They listening to me change my mind 8 times a day, they helped me map out where to go, they printed out page after page of job postings."
"There are so many things that could potentially be considered "best [part of a working holiday]." In the end, I'll have to say the best part about this working holiday experience would be making connections and meeting people. It’s still great being able to meet other travelers and learning about their homes and culture. Some of the people I've met during this working holiday experience have become close friends and have already started making plans to visit my home city already.
At the start of my trip, I stayed in Tokyo for about 2 weeks and attended the school GenkiJACS located in Shinjuku. (pictured on the far left)
"I don't think I would have stood a chance in the big, bad city of London without SWAP. They've thought of everything from setting up your bank account, finding a place to live, getting you temp and permanent work, and boosting your social life with their events calendar. Their info session covered everything from navigating London transport to the cheapest place to buy groceries. I really owe my whole experience to them."
"I am working in Dublin city center as a chef. There really was no issue with finding a job in this career. It took me about a week to secure a job and I had multiple offers. It was nice I decided which one I preferred. I've been fortunate enough that I have stayed at the same job the entire time. I love my job here, I get to pursue my passion while enjoying it. I've gotten the opportunity to do a few extra pastry courses where my work has sent me to Belgium and France, which is something that wouldn't likely happen back home. I learn something every day and I've already been offered to stay on longer after this visa is done. I couldn't be more delighted to stay in Ireland.
I just want to thank SWAP, I wanted to do this for years and followed fellow swappers. You made it so easy and comforting once you do actually move. It was hard but now I feel I can do anything. The adventures and opportunities make it all so worth it. I wouldn't change anything. Thank you." (pictured on right)
"I’ve worked in the most amazing places, met tons of people... and I found an opportunity and environment that suited both my work aspirations and the lifestyle I envisioned for my time in London.
You’ve just made a huge life-altering decision to move across the world and start fresh in a new country and you’re terrified and exhilarated in equal measure. The last thing that your whirling mind can/wants to focus on are the breadth of logistical details that go into visa applications. Enter SWAP. SWAP made one of the most overwhelming decisions of my life into the smoothest process imaginable."
"I have had the honour of doing not one, or two but three SWAP working visas over the last six years. I first got the chance to spend a year in Ireland back in 2011-2012 seasons and the adventure would not only be a wonderful experience, but change my life and my view on the world and people. The experience would lead me to go and spend two years on a UK visa in London (2013-2015) where I would gain great life and work experience. Now, on my third visa I have come full circle and have gone on to not only return to the country that captured my heart but also was given a second chance to embrace so much more of it. Four years to the day since my first experience on a work visa I would return to Ireland on a two year work holiday."
"SWAP relieved any worries while planning my trip and organizing my visa. There are so many things to get in order when you move your life abroad, and connecting with a knowledgeable agency that took care of the details and had my well organized was exactly what I needed to have the confidence to go through with my plans.
I also did the one-week tour when I arrived in Sydney. I made so many friends in that first week that I continued to meet up with all over Australia for the rest of the year! It was a fantastic way to get my bearings and make connections upon arrival."
"There's too many good things [about living in England]! Probably the very best is all the people I've met. I have made friends from all over the world and even met a few fellow Vancouverites. I also met my boyfriend and the plan is to bring him to Canada on a working holiday when my time is up. It's honestly so easy to meet people because London is filled with foreigners who also want to meet new people. I also love all the travelling I'm able to do. All of Europe is so close!
SWAP helped so much! I literally didn't have to think of anything with my application. They sent me all the steps and I just handed over the info. Super quick and easy. [They're] there to answer any questions for the entirety of the visa. They host arrival parties which are great to find out about London and the UK. They help set up your bank account and sim card. Not to mention I met my London best friend at the arrival party. They post loads of jobs and they even got me [my current job]."
"SWAP have been exceedingly helpful. They know exactly what needs to be done and when, which made the whole application process relatively painless. And everyone was friendly and could answer all my questions. SWAP also does mighty work trying to give Swappers an envious social life.... But the staff are still great and willing to communicate at any time. It's fun sharing stories with them :)"
"SWAP helped us by answering every question I peppered them with to help me prepare for the holiday. It's quite a process to move overseas, especially if you don't know anyone there. They did most of the heavylifting for us and helped us ensure we had every loose end tied up such as healthcare, insurance, bank accounts, phone plans, etc. They set up our amazing trip with a very reputable company. We later found out they booked us on one of the best and cheapest known tours on comparison to hundreds of tourist trap companies here selling subpar packages. We met other backpackers who weren't as fortunate. It's also great peace of mind knowing we have a company in both counties for support should we need it."
"I'm so excited to share my experience as I had one the most amazing times ever while doing SWAP program. It's honestly worth it.
It was one of the most memorable part of my life. I enjoyed it lots, the different culture, mixing with new people and culture, making new friends.
I did get a good long-term job after couple of months. It was a very good position as Associate/Secretarial Assistant with a very prestigious multi-national company too (PwC UK). I loved the work environment and culture..."
"Before I left, I pondered back and forth the potential value of signing up to come to Ireland with the help of SWAP. I figured I could save a few dollars if I just did it myself… In the end, my mom convinced me to sign up and I have not regretted a single penny that went into this decision. I really decided to join the program and SWAP verified that all my documents were correct and complete before sending them off to the Irish embassy.
Since my arrival in Ireland, I have been thanking SWAP for their help navigating some of the particularities of the Irish working and housing market. The staff in the office have been absolutely wonderful to chat with and lean on when situations got to be a little tricky. Their continued efforts to ensure that participants in the Working in Ireland program have a positive experience are not unnoticed, and the care and time they take to check in from time to time is very reassuring."
"I’ve now done TWO working holidays through SWAP – I loved my experience in Dublin, Ireland so much that I applied for the UK visa only days after my return flight landed in Canada. This time around I’m living and working in London, and already planning SWAP #3.
Within a month I had a full time role as Finance Coordinator in a large international engineering company – with a very diverse workforce and plenty of socializing, this was a great intro to the London work world... I have since moved in to a more career-minded role at a Development Bank that is headquartered in London and has many other offices across Europe. My job as an Analyst in the Granting department has already offered amazing opportunities to travel, work with international consultants, and gain an exposure to the wider world of international organisations. Living in London has been so beneficial to my career and has given me access to a really broad range of interesting local and global companies that you can’t find just anywhere."
"The time that was spent in Ireland was a year that we will never forget and something that we truly needed to do for us. Long story short, we were a young couple living in Alberta at the time-but something was always missing. We decided one day to quit our jobs, sell everything, and get a working holiday visa to Ireland!
VIKINGS is our favourite show on TV and we were so fortunate to have been able to get the opportunity to be casted as extras during our time in Ireland! We had little acting experience before this but it was just so amazing to be apart of the whole experience. Here is a picture of me at the Ashford Studio in Wicklow. Due to laws I can’t sent any pictures from the experience but maybe you will see me in Season 5!!!"
"[The team] in Auckland were fantastic. Orientation was fun, informative and well-organized. I felt so welcome there. I attended a pizza and movie night at the office which was a great way to meet people. The staff was so friendly."
"I worked as an English-speaking Assistant in an after school program. I also worked as a Nanny. It was fairly easy to find employment as a Nanny. Within a week and a half I was hearing many responses from my posts online.
During my work holiday SWAP and the Austrian Partner helped me to establish connections with other participants in Austria in order to gain further support, mentoring, and advice. I was also provided additional resources regarding language classes and finding work." (pictured on the far right)
"They also put on an amazing orientation week, where I met so many fun fellow travellers. They are also how I found out about the surf camp and an amazing East Coast tour, which have been two highlights of my trip. The staff looked over my resume for me, set up my RSA course, helped me get a tax file number and also signed me up with [the exclusive job database] (which is how I found my amazing job)!!!" (pictured 3rd from the left)
"I was working as a development intern at a new film production company in Los Angeles, so I not only learned a great deal about the how development works, but also the entertainment industry as a whole. The job was a great balance of creative and administrative work, allowing me to learn everything from creating research packets for projects and creating casting suggestion lists to what it's like to cover a Creative Executive's desk. I couldn't have asked for a better internship."
"Moving abroad has been the best experience; it expands your mind and knowledge while allowing you to have some of the most cherished memories. Just go for it! It can seem a bit scary, but you've got a support system through SWAP to help you along the way. I moved with no job, no home, no prospects and things fell into place - as they do. Say yes to new experiences and try as many things as you can - food, experiences, etc. This risk was so worth taking, and I am still loving every minute of it!"
"Japan has immense natural wonders, which I was not aware of prior to arriving here. Within 1-2 hours of Tokyo you can surf, hike mountains, and visit pleasant rural villages. I guess my favourite area to visit would be Ichinomiya, Chiba. This is located just outside of Tokyo and has world class surfing. This small town is very relaxed and provides a very chilled out beach atmosphere where you can unwind after a long week in the city."