Seriously, how awesome was New Zealand?
Michelle: It is unbelievable. New Zealand is by far the most stunning country I've ever been to and I have travelled a lot. Everything is more chilled here, people are too polite to believe... It was a 180 from home. You will never find a country with so much untouched nature. There are so many different landscapes from ski slopes to golden beach. Gosh, I loved it!
Describe what Working Holiday Starter does.
Michelle: It is an organisation that offers personalised support for all aspects of your trip. It helps you in many ways to make your work and travel experience in New Zealand your own. I really want to emphasise the personal service side of it: having one supportive contact that knows you and would help you with anything made my trip incredibly less stressful.
So what do you think about Working Holiday Starter services?
Michelle: It helped me a lot overall and made my first steps much easier. It set me up the right way quickly and I was prepared to find the right way to travel transportation wise, right way to find a job, I knew where to stay, and I met other travellers.
I did not have any doubt or feel lonely for an instant. I shared experience with somebody super experienced in traveling. It reassured me and gave me confidence to get on with this trip. I was feeling super prepared.
Job wise, the IRD application helped heaps but preparing for the job interview, although it was tough, helped a lot as it was very different from home. It got me on track to get a job when I decided to. I followed your advice and found a job in my first day of job hunting!
What was the best thing that we did for you?
Michelle: I can't think about specific. You were here no matter what, for whatever reason I needed you, and that was great.
Can you pick the best moment of your trip?
Michelle: IIt sounds cheesy, but one day when I was working in Nelson I had to wake up really early after going out quite late. I was on my way to work and looked around me and I realised that even if I was very hungover and exhausted, I was happy. I was looking forward spending time with my coworkers and I was overlooking beautiful mountains and sea. This feeling of happiness beat any other feelings.
What was the best dollar you spent in New Zealand?
Michelle: I went kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park with five friends from my hostel and we had the best time!
What kind of jobs did you do here in New Zealand?
Michelle: I had three jobs, actually:
I was a waitress in Nelson. I liked because it was an easy way to meet Kiwis and it built up my confidence, as I was talking a lot.
I was also a shuttle driver taking backpackers around the city and back to the hostel. It was fun job!
I also worked in a farm where animals were rented to parties like kids' birthdays. I was in charge of taking care of the animals. At first, I thought that the concept was weird but it was a beautiful farm away from the city and I loved working with animals. In fact, I would not even call it work.
Did you like staying in hostels in New Zealand?
Michelle: I can't imagine sleeping in my single bedroom anymore. There is no easier way to meet people and never feeling lonely on the road. Cooking with others and spending time with different people definitively beats having your own shower.
Tell me about one person that you met and was memorable?
Michelle: There is a guy that I met randomly three times around New Zealand. His name was Casper, he was super tall (2.15m), 25 years old, and never studied. He just travelled. He made me feel comfortable about my travel and life choices. We went cliff jumping in the Pelorus River and he made me jump, even if I was scared – another confidence boost for me!
What advice would you give to someone that is about to go in New Zealand on a working holiday visa?
Michelle: Ask people who have already done this kind of trip in New Zealand about what to consider for this trip. Also, get an open return ticket so you can choose when you go back. Never set a return date when you travel, you never know what will happen.
And lastly, don't worry too much about your self-confidence, because it is a guarantee that you will get more confident and learn to live on your own.
In what way did this trip change you?
Michelle: I got confidence and a great tan, haha. Seriously, I feel more confident. My life plan changed too, my career path is not set anymore, and I want to live life first and figure out the rest later. I learned a lot about myself too.
Last question, would you recommend us to your friends?
Michelle: Yes, of course, because I think it is the best support you could get.