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Gap Year Jobs To Consider During Your Year Abroad

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So, you’re thinking of heading out for a year abroad on a gap year but you’re not sure what types of jobs you could get.

The truth is, that many people are scared of taking the plunge of leaving home because they worry about finances. And yes, it is a perfectly understandable concern as without money there isn’t much you can do.

With any job change, there are always advantages and disadvantages that should be considered.

However, there are so many ways you can earn money during your year overseas. For starters, the most common way people set themselves up for success on a gap year is by applying for working holiday visas.

These visas typically let you live in a destination for 1 or 2 years while working to earn money to allow you to continue exploring the country. But if you’re smart about it, you can save and even come home with money at the end of your year and may not need to dip into your savings much at all!

If you have a specific degree or are working in a specialised industry, you may even be able to get industry-specific visas (unrelated to working holiday visas) that allow you to live and work somewhere while gaining experience.

There are many different options depending on each individual situation.

So let’s dive in to see what some of the most common gap year jobs are around the world.

British citizens can get 1-2 year working holiday visas in multiple countries and if you’re a recent graduate, you can get a similar visa also to the USA.

Before you set out on your gap year adventures, make sure you have suitable travel insurance. It only takes a few minutes to get a quote from Safety Wing and once you find a plan that suits your needs, you’ll be able to enjoy your trip knowing that you’re covered for unforeseen circumstances.

In order to stay connected during your trips, it’s beneficial to have a local SIM card. Airalo offers eSIMS that can be downloaded directly to your device which saves a lot of time and effort. You can get an eSIM for individual countries or entire regions, depending on your needs.


Are You Ready For Your Own Gap Year?

Unless you already have already picked the jobs you’d like to apply for overseas, you’ll likely need to first get some ideas on how to spend your gap year.

Is one of your goals to get specific industry experience, are you looking to do any job that’s a little “different” to what you would do at home, or perhaps you’re happy to do any job if it means you can support your travels?

Hopefully, this post will help you decide what type of job or destination you want to experience before embarking on your trip.

Plus, if you’ve never had the experience of living overseas or being on a gap year, then you may not know what to expect. That’s why I have tried to create a few posts that give people the truth about these experiences.

Two of my most popular posts talk about the disadvantages of a gap year and the benefits of gap years and they’re definitely worth a read if you want to see the experience from both sides.

Need help planning your trip?

Check out how to plan a trip abroad & see my travel resources for more.

WayAway – Great for booking flights. They even have a cashback feature for those who fly frequently.
Skyscanner – A comprehensive comparison website showing where to purchase flights.
HostelWorld – The biggest selection of hostels & sociable accommodations.
Booking.com – The largest collection of accommodations worldwide.

Safety Wing – A travel insurance brand for long-term travellers and nomads.

Airalo – An eSIM card company that lets you stay connected during your trip.
Wise – Perfect for transferring foreign currencies.
iVisa – For applying for tourist and visitor visas.

Viator – Great for finding tours and activities worldwide.
Get Your Guide – Another company for finding activities.
Klook – Have some of the best activity deals in Asia.


A ski resort with low clouds and lots of snow. One of the main gap year jobs backpackers take on
Photo by Lara Puscas

Gap Year Jobs: In a Ski Resort

Of course, any destination that has an abundance of snow has the chance to be a ski destination, but there are definitely a few places that are the highest on people’s visit list! Whether you’re already an experienced athlete who enjoys snowsports or this will be your first experience, it’s always going to be a unique experience being surrounded by snow and mountains.

Other than those listed below, other popular skiing destinations include: France, Switzerland, Austria and New Zealand

Canada

Canada is known as one of the coldest countries worldwide. So when people think of winter sports it’s often one of the top destinations people think of.

Regardless of where in Canada you might want to go, there is always a way to enjoy the snow and cold weather during the winter months- something that Canadians do best!

You have countless options to choose from. With some of the largest and most famous ski resorts being located in the western provinces along the Rocky Mountains.

Plus some enjoyable but smaller-scale resorts are scattered throughout the eastern provinces. You’ll often get staff accommodation included with most resort positions. You can find these roles directly by visiting the resort websites and also on general job sites.

Jobs you might consider include:

  • Ski-lift operator in Whistler, BC
  • Waitress/bar staff in Blue Mountains Resort, ON
  • Snowboarding instructor in Banff, AB
  • Housekeeping in Mont-Tremblant Resort, QC

Where to find these jobs:

Ski Industry Jobs

Whistler Blackcomb careers

SkiBanff

Japan

Japan is another top working holiday destination that offers great winter sports. Working in ski resorts across the country is actually one of the most popular jobs that travellers do in Japan.

This is mostly due to the fact that the majority of the tourism industry requires at least a basic level of English.

So, many visitors who don’t yet have the ability to communicate well in Japanese, who might otherwise struggle to find work elsewhere, can at least find work where they communicate with tourists regularly in the universal language.

Typically you’ll get staff accommodation and will live in the resort for the full season. Some popular ski resorts in Japan include:

  • Shiga Kogen (Japan’s largest) in Yamanouchi
  • Hakuba in the Japanese Alps near Nagano
  • Niseko (the world’s “snowiest” resort) in Hokkaido

Where to find these jobs:

BooBooSki (apply from outside Japan)

Sancon JP (apply from within Japan)

JapanSki

Ski Japan


Gaining Industry Experience

Gaining industry experience isn’t necessarily connected to a specific country as it would depend on the industry you already work in or are trying to get experience in.

For example, if you have qualifications from a specific degree then you would likely try to get a job that helps you progress in that same field.

The same goes for if you want to learn a specific language, you’d be best heading to a country that has native speakers of that language.

If this is something you want to consider, there isn’t one place to find these opportunities. You would need to do a little bit of research into your field of choice and see what countries have great work opportunities in that field, as well as straightforward visa applications for you to apply for.

Use Google and LinkedIn to find opportunities and research. Also try networking with others in the same field to get some leads.


boxes of strawberries that have been picked on a farm - fruit picking is another one of the main gap year jobs travellers choose to do
Photo by Farsai Chaikulngamdee

Gap Year Jobs: in Agriculture

Every single country in the world has some kind of agriculture so you can find these types of jobs anywhere.

However, when it comes to gap years and long-term travels, there are a few destinations that rank the highest when it comes to foreign workers looking for these positions. Below I will list two of the most common countries, but don’t think this is an extensive list.

You can easily find farming and agricultural jobs for each country in their equivalent to yellow pages, and online.

Australia

It’s no secret that most backpackers who head out to Australia end up working on at least one farm. The common farm work positions are normally filled by travellers who are desperate to get their second working holiday visa in this beautiful country.

Spending so much time in the direct sunlight during the Australian sun can give you a fantastic tan – just be careful not to get the dreaded “farmer” tan where your arm is a drastically different shade to your shoulders. (I’ve been there and it took about a year to even out).

For most nationalities, you need to complete 3 months (or 88 days) of farm work in a rural postcode (ie. not near a city) in order to qualify for your second or 3rd-year visa.

There are also some people who choose to work on farms simply because it’s so different to anything they would have done at home.

  • Pick bananas in northern Queensland
  • Be a ranch hand in the outback
  • Pick apples in the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
  • Package green beans in Bucca, Queensland

Where to find these jobs:

SEEK (fruit-picking jobs)

Fruit Picking Jobs

Backpacker Job Board (AUS)

New Zealand

New Zealand is a beautiful country with the very landscapes that made us fall in love with the LOTR. So if you get the opportunity to work outdoors, there are not many countries where you’d enjoy doing so like you would here.

They have some particular fruits and vegetables that thrive in the New Zealand climate, so you’ll have the pick of the litter when it comes to choosing where to work.

Most of these jobs are seasonal so you’ll have the opportunity to work for a few months before taking some time off to travel! There is so much to see and do here.

  • Pick kiwifruit near Tauranga or Te Puke
  • Pick avocados in Tapora
  • Work in a winery on Waiheke Island
  • Sweet Potato packing in Dargaville

Where to find these jobs:

PickNZ

Backpacker Job Board (NZ)


Hospitality

Hospitality jobs are available in every country, whether in restaurants, hotels or bars. So it’s not surprising that gap year holidaymakers take on these types of positions during their time overseas as well.

The skills you’ll need to have are transferrable around the world so once you know how to wait on tables, take orders or pour beers correctly, you can use them almost anywhere.

They’re an easy type of role to do on a full-time basis as well as part-time and in some instances you can even do it as a contractor where you just pick up the occasional shifts around your other commitments.

Please note: Some countries require you to do a test in order to legally sell alcohol.

These jobs are often listed on regular job sites for each country and are often found within the destination.

If there is a particular hotel or restaurant chain you’d love to work for you can either ask about vacancies in person or head directly to their independent website.


a notebook with english basic phrases types inside

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Any country that doesn’t speak English as a primary or first language is a possible option to find English teaching positions. With so many countries this applies to, you really are inundated with choices.

Below I have listed some of the most common destinations that British people head to when teaching English but they’re not the only destinations!

Japan

In Japan, most of the jobs taken on by foreign workers are either in ski resorts (see above) or teaching English.

With so few people speaking English from the older generations in Japan, it’s becoming more common to see their children being put through English lessons from a younger age. This means there are more jobs available for foreign expats like you and me.

These jobs can be found both in the major cities as well as smaller towns throughout the country. Japan is also one of the highest paying countries for native English speakers to teach locals so you’ll easily be able to live comfortably if you get one of these positions.

You will need a bachelor’s degree and an English teaching certificate.

  • Full-time positions in elementary and high schools
  • Mum, baby and toddler groups in English
  • Teaching workers business English in the cities

Where to find these jobs:

GaijinPot (Education category)

Teaching Jobs Japan

TEFL Jobs (Japan Category)

South Korea

In South Korea, teaching English is THE number one job that native English expats will do. Although you cannot teach on certain visa types, it is relatively straightforward to get the appropriate work visa that allows you to teach English during your stay.

Most of these visas will be connected to a school or workplace which means they are much less flexible than say, a working holiday visa (H1). However, you get many of the benefits and a better salary than the temporary roles an H1 visa holder would get.

These jobs normally require a teaching qualification (such as TEFL or ESL) and a bachelor’s degree at the bare minimum and are typically arranged before you arrive in the country. Some English job examples include:

  • Private kindergarten classes
  • One-on-one conversation practice with university students
  • Full-time at an elementary or high school
  • Board game cafes
  • Online “business-English” tutoring classes with adults

Where to find these jobs:

TEFL Jobs (South Korea category)

Dave’s ESL Cafe

Craigslist Korea

Xpat Jobs

Taiwan

Taiwan is another popular country where native English speakers can teach English and earn a good salary. A relatively small nation but with a bustling community of expats, you’ll find many of them are teaching the next generation how to speak English.

With the majority of the English teaching roles being found in Taipei, you’d get to enjoy the multicultural city and see all it has to offer.

If you are planning to visit Taiwan during your gap year to work, this is certainly one of the most common jobs available to gap trippers. Similar to the other destinations listed above, you will be required to have a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate.

Where to find these jobs:

TEFL Jobs (Taiwan category)

Teast

TeachAway

Some other popular countries for teaching English include China, Thailand, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and more.


lego poured out on the floor, childcare and nannying are common jobs for gap year travellers
Photo by Markus Spiske

Gap Year Jobs: Childcare & Nannying

When you think about it, people are creating families and having children worldwide so as you can imagine there is always the opportunity to work as an Au Pair, nanny or in childcare.

Many of these roles are advertised through Facebook groups, through word of mouth and sometimes through official childcare agencies.

Although you don’t always need qualifications for these roles such as a degree, experience with children and a background check are often required.

Australia

In Australia, it is really easy to find nannying jobs and many of these are taken on by backpackers. Since families are found all across the country, there’s no way to determine if you’ll stay in a busy city like Melbourne or Sydney or if you’ll end up working for a family in a tiny country town.

Many of these positions for backpackers are live-in but there are some opportunities to just be a live-out nanny on a set schedule. It really just depends on the requirements of your host family.

If you have a driving license from your home country you have a higher chance of being hired as then you can drive the children to where they need to be (think after-school clubs etc.).

Where to find these jobs:

SEEK (Aus)

GoOverseas (Nanny category)

United States

In the USA it is quite common to see backpackers working as nannies and au pairs. Usually, these are live-in positions arranged from overseas, where the worker lives on the same property with the family that they work for.

This is a way to save a lot of money on accommodation fees – especially if you are working in an expensive city like LA, New York or San Francisco.

These positions are usually for a full year and at the end of their contract they have 4-6 weeks off to be allowed to travel and see other parts of the country if they wish to.

Due to the nature of the visa, these jobs are normally only for those who have recently graduated.

Where to find these jobs:

Gap 360

GoOverseas (Nanny category)

If you’d like to work in childcare but neither of the destinations above appeal to you, network with locals when you arrive overseas and see if they have any leads for babysitting or nanny positions. Childcare is needed everywhere around the world.


Photo by Leon Contreras

Working at Summer Camps

United States

If you’re a recent graduate (or still part way through your studies) there is the opportunity to go and work at a USA summer camp with children for a few months. This is one of the best short-term gap year jobs available as it is typically for 8-9 weeks.

It requires a specific visa and allows you to do a number of positions at the camp for the duration of the summer season. These roles include camp counsellor, creative staff, sports instructor and more.

Unfortunately, these positions do not last an entire year so you would need to find other positions for the duration of your gap year but it’s certainly a fun way to make some money spending time outside in the sun! There are positions all across the country too!

Where to find these jobs:

BUNAC

Camp Leaders


Final Thoughts on These Common Gap Year Jobs

Don’t forget to check out:

If you need to transfer any money ready for your trip, consider using Wise (formerly Transferwise). They have better rates than my home bank and I’ve been using them since 2015!

Although there are some common jobs that people do during their gap years, it doesn’t mean these are the only options.

The various jobs I’ve written about above are just a handful of the choices that many backpackers and gap trippers choose to take on.

There are options in Europe to work in ski resorts or with children. You can do fruit picking in Central America. You can even work as a language teacher in South America too, it all just depends on what you’re looking for and where your nationality can easily get a visa.

What was your favourite job during your gap year?

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