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SWAP Working Holidays is a Canadian-owned organization that has been working for over 45 years to promote cultural exchange opportunities to Canadians. We started in 1975 and have been going strong ever since.

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Things Parents Should Know About Working Holidays

So, your child has mentioned that they want to go on a working holiday and all you can think is “What exactly is a working holiday and why do you want to do that?!”, “Should those two words even exist side-by-side?” Working holiday, what?” Well, yes they do and thousands of Canadians take part in these programs every year.

Let’s start at the beginning – what is a working holiday? A working holiday is a one to two-year work visa category offered to Canadian youth (aged 18-35) by several countries across the globe. A working holiday visa is a great opportunity for your child to live abroad and immerse themselves in a new culture and community, all while gaining some valuable work experience.

Now that you know the ‘what’, let’s tackle the ‘why’! Why should your child go on a working holiday? As working holiday experts, we can tell you many reasons why.

First, whether your child wants to take a gap year (year off between high school and post-secondary school), or they’ve finished school altogether, they need work experience to get their professional life off to a great start. By working abroad, they will gain valuable and unique experience to set their resumes apart from other candidates when they return to the Canadian job market. Not only does international work experience look great on a resume, but it also shows an employer how mature and adaptable your child is. It takes a very special, driven, strong young person to take initiative and say yes to an international opportunity like a working holiday. Your child will stand out, and their resume will wow.

After a year or two abroad, you’ll notice that your child has gained a strong sense of independence and responsibility. They all need to spread their wings at some point and although it might feel terrifying, you’ll watch as they make huge strides forward in becoming an adult. During their working holiday, they’ll be navigating challenges with newfound independence – finding work, a place to live, making new friends and networks, travelling, and exploring new places – your child will be growing right in front of your eyes.

Of course, they’ll have the helping hand of SWAP to get through the basics such as resumes, finding work and securing housing, but they’ll take the steps they need to set themselves up and you’ll see all your hard work raising them, paying off.

We know that it seems scary to let them out into the world – of course they can gain independence and find relevant work opportunities here in Canada, but the level of maturity, adaptability, and insight they will gain by going abroad is immeasurable. An incredible international adventure awaits them – new experiences, memories and friends that will stay with them for a lifetime.

The best part is that if you can, you’ll be able to visit you child while they’re living abroad – see where they’re living and working, meet their friends and have your life changed too, as you explore a new place and make incredible memories to take home with you. The experience of living and working abroad has no downsides. It will only help to further develop your child’s life skills and will be the experience of a lifetime for them. Maybe for you too.

If you have any questions about our programs or want to discuss anything about this experience, we’re here for parents just as much as we’re here for the youth on our programs. We support everyone involved in our programs and parents are just as important to us!

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