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I’m Julie from New Jersey in the USA and I’ve been living in Australia for over 8 months on a Working Holiday Visa. As a confused senior in college, I realized I was not ready to join the ranks of nine-to-fivers  and instead, purchased a one-way ticket to Australia. For the first five months of my adventure I worked at a restaurant in Cairns. During the next leg of my journey I travelled down the east coast of Australia before arriving in Melbourne to work again.

Finding a job in another country is all about trying something new and getting out of your element. Why do something you would do back home when the point of a working holiday is to gain new experiences and meet new people? Openness to opportunity is key.

Seeing buskers like this on the street is always a perk.
Seeing buskers like this on the street is always a perk.

I was fortunate enough to be recruited as a street fundraiser in Melbourne by another fundraiser while waiting for friends at the train station. Fundraising is a great job for travellers as it is highly flexible and since you work in different locations everyday, you learn the city and public transport rather quickly. However, it’s not a job that everyone can handle, as you face a great deal of rejection and encounter some incredibly rude people.

On my first day at work I was flipped off by a man who I simply made eye contact with. I wasn’t planning on saying hello to him, as he looked possessed and on his way to murder someone. After receiving his evil death glare, he turned his head away from me and gave me the finger as if I myself was cancer. Who did he think he was? Couldn’t even look me in the face while giving me the finger.

Yet for every person that tells me to “piss off”, there is another that praises me for the hard work I do in order to help a charity. It is rewarding, challenging, and keeps me on my toes, as every day is different than the next. I’ve met people from all over the world and have had many great conversations with complete strangers. For a city as big as Melbourne, it’s surprising that I’ve ran into quite a few friends as well while at work. One of my favourite aspects about this job is that you are always in a good mood. Even if I wake up late in the morning, can’t find my keys, drop my phone and spill coffee on myself, I am going to have an amazing day…or else no one will want to talk to me at work.

If this type of job sounds exciting to you, there are many jobs in sales and fundraising throughout big cities in Australia. If not, the hospitality industry is abound with working holiday makers who began to scout for jobs with just a resume and willingness to work.

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Julie Elkin /

I'm a Jersey girl living out my dream in Australia. I hopped on a plane after finishing my studies in advertising and sociology and haven't looked back since. I'm ambidextrous and like to run and play the ukulele.

One Response to “From the Streets of Melbourne”

  1. Victoria

    Nice advice but it really cant be said enough canvassing is not for everyone. Particular care should also be taken in regards to organizations as well, certain ones in Melbourne will withhold pay for upwards of 40 days should you quit within a two week trail period, 2 weeks for those who hate it is an eternity. I had a hard time in Melbourne personally but loved it, I came in the summer where employment can be hard to find; so many travelers have the same idea! Put together an awesome resume and hit the streets and you’ll find something though and it’ll be a guaranteed great time. Try to be as financially secure as possible and if you can get an apartment asap for long term stayers the hostels aren’t cheap. Also to serve alcohol in the state of Victoria you need an RSA, it requires a class and costs about 45 to 60 dollars most service jobs will ask for this upon application.


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