6 Ways to Work Aboard in Your Twenties

6 ways to work aboard in your twenties

So you know you don’t want to spend all of your twenties working in the UK but your not sure how to make this happen. Well let me tell you, there are plenty of options available for you! You even have a lot of choice as to where you can go. The main thing you’ll need to know about is the paper work and timing of some of the below options.

Not sure your cut out for work aboard for a long time? Than maybe combine a little working aboard on your gap year. You can see all my gap year posts here.

Please note all of the below is written from the point of view of a British passport holder. Some opportunities will still be available for other passport holders though.

6 ways to work aboard in your twenties 6 ways to work aboard in your twenties

6 Ways to Work Aboard in Your Twenties

Working holiday visa

This is probably one of the best ways to work aboard. Working holiday visas available in various countries according to a Google search but the main three countries are Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The working holiday visa is available for different lengths of time for each country and they come with their own entry requirements including age.


The working holiday visa in Australia is one I have done myself, it is open to participating countries for people age 18-31. Initially you are given a one year visa but you are able to extend this by taking part in 3 months rural farm work and then applying for a second year visa. On this visa you are able to work for a company for up to six months, leave and re-enter the country during any time in that year and even study for up to four months.

The visa itself cost around £260 through the Australia Government website although if you prefer to have some help (which is what I did) STA Travel can help arrange the visa and more for £349. You’ll also need $5000 AUD in your bank as part of the entry requirement (this was not actually checked by anyone when we entered though).

Guide to Working in Australia

Working Holiday Questions Answered 

New Zealand

The working holiday visa in New Zealand is a bit of a cheaper affair, it only costs £175 and will allow you to stay in the country for 23 months. However, you are only actually able to work for 12 of those months on that visa. This may require some clever planning of working and travelling to make the most of the 23 months. You can also study for up to 6 months.

Like Australia there are requirements for the visa, the first being age, between 18-30 and the second being enough funds in your bank account, which is worked out at $350 NZD for every month you plan on staying in the country.


The Canadian working holiday visa is better in some senses but also trickier to obtain as they only ‘give out’ so many each year. Again you need to be between 18-30 to take advantage of this and if you are lucky enough to receive one then you can stay for up to two years with no job restrictions.

The visa comes out in batches and you need to be aware of what date this will be (it varies for each country) in order to have a chance of apply. The best site to look at is here. The visa itself cost around £150 but there are lots of extra costs too. Kirsten explains the whole process very well in this post.

STA Travel have information on all of the above visas.

6 ways to work aboard in your twenties 6 ways to work aboard in your twenties

Intern/student visa

There are a few options that Bunac offer to work in the USA and help gain career experience meaning this is probably only an option if you are yet to start your career or don’t really know what you want to do. The options vary depending on your situation, let’s discuss them.

J-1 Visa – Camp Counsellor

This is another visa I have taken advantage of, it allowed me to work at a summer camp for two months and then travel around for six weeks after. It’s a relatively easy visa to obtain but you will have to go through an interview process for a camp counsellor position and then as soon as your placed you will get your visa through an appointment at the embassy.

It will allow you to work at your camp and travel for a total of four months in the States. You must be over 18 to apply and you’ll need a bit of experience of working with kids (plus actually like working with kids).

J-1 Visa – Work America

The J-1 visa also allows full time students to work in America across a range of jobs for the summer. This would be a great way to gain experience during your degree, the Bunac team can help you find a job before you leave just like camp. The visa also allows you a total of four months in the USA.

J-1 Sponsored Visa – Internship USA

This is quite a specific opportunity with a fair few entry requirements but if you are really keen to head to the States and get some work experience in your field of work then this is an amazing opportunity. You’ll need to find a placement before you head off (again Bunac can help) as the company will become you J-1 Visa sponsor allowing you to intern for them. The maximum time you could spend in the States is 18 months but this will be determined by your employer. I’d suggest this option if you’ve just graduated.

6 ways to work aboard in your twenties

As an EU citizen

I should probably have started with this one as it is the most straight forward option. As it stands, as an EU citizen you can currently work in other EU country and Switzerland without needing a visa. However, due to Brexit this could change come March 2019…

This opportunity comes with no additional entry requirements or restrictions so is a great opportunity no matter your age or situation.

Get sponsored by a company aboard

This option also comes with a lot less restrictions, however, it is a little bit harder to get in some cases. This opportunity will highly depend on the company you work for and the field you work in. For example my husband works in logistics and is currently on his second sponsored visa to work aboard. This is also the same for the vast majority of his colleagues. The opportunities have come about from having previously worked with these people in the UK. Contacts are everything for these opportunities.

The above example is one where the job was secured before we left the UK, however, it is possible to head to a country where you have a good opportunity of securing a job and get one once arriving. This will make the situation a little trickier with visas etc. but it’s always an option if you can’t wait any longer.

Spouse Visa

If you manage to secure the above then you’ll have the chance with some employers to get a spouse visa for your family (wife/husband and children). This is going to be a different process depending on the country you are working in but many spouse visas allow them to then work in the country too.

6 ways to work aboard in your twenties

Work as a freelancer

I’d say for many this is the ultimate dream. Working in a job that only requires internet access to complete it and has very little time constraints on things like conference calls. You’ll work for yourself, access your work from your laptop which will allow you to be location independent. That means that instead of seeking a work visa you can come and go to countries on a tourist visa as long as you don’t over stay your allowance and don’t seek local work in the country too.

Of course this option comes with a lot of insecurity, you won’t know exactly how much you’ll make each month and you may have bigger costs in some places than others. However, it is certainly an option for getting in as much travel as you want.

Work for a UK company that involves travel

I’ve added this one on as a final idea, this is the option for those who do want to escape the UK but aren’t ready to be based aboard for indefinite. Finding a company that will mean you have to visit their offices aboard or head to other locations for projects will allow you to travel more at work’s expense. Just remember you might not get to see as much of the country as you’d like because your down time may be limited.

Have you worked aboard? How did you do it?


6 ways to work aboard in your twenties - including working holiday visas, sponsorship, freelancing and more 6 ways to work aboard in your twenties - including working holiday visas, sponsorship, freelancing and more 6 ways to work aboard in your twenties - including working holiday visas, sponsorship, freelancing and more

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