Hope your all well.
Right then, I am hoping to take out a gap/career break for a year. I'm currently a school teacher, so would be hoping to go in September.
After looking around, I came across BUNAC. Even though some people have said you can get things cheaper, the reason why i sway towards that (as a first time traveller) is due to the support you receive, and someone to fall back onto in times of need.
As i would be going on a working holiday, I would be willing to work in most areas, not just education. I am under the impression that jobs are fairly easy to come by, except during the Aussie summer.
As with most working programmes, flights do not seem to be included. I can imagine that although BUNAC do offer these, i could get them cheaper elsewhere. Currently BUNACs latest London-Sydney (one way) flights are until August, and as I would be going in September, would it be worth waiting for them, or making a booking with a different flight company? Also how much would it roughly cost for the return flights?
Has anyone been on a BUNAC or any other working holiday programme, that could please help me?
Sorry for all the questions, I just want to make sure that i get honest advice off the good people like yourselves, rather than some salesman on the end of the phone.
I went through BUNAC a few years ago and I wouldn't have a bad thing to say about them. But, as an American, BUNAC is pretty much the only option for getting a working holiday visa (barring being exceptionally skilled in odd professions, which I am not).
I can tell you this, BUNAC makes things pretty easy and they are there as a support system if something goes to hell.
That said, if I were from the UK and could get a working holiday on my own, I'd definitely go that route, knowing what I know now. Basically, BUNAC was a nice saftey blanket in planning what was my first trip abroad on my own. But once I actually arrived in New Zealand and started going about my business, I didn't give them a second thought. They didn't help me get a job, I never attended any of their group get-to-togethers and other than using their office to ship a bunch of ski equipment down I can't say they were much of a benefit other than being the keeper of the golden key for my work visa.
I also didn't use them for booking flights, which I found cheaper through another source.
Shoot, I really didn't mean to be negative about them. In the end, they are not that expensive, so if it is peace of mind you're looking for, it couldn't hurt.
But like I said, if you can do it on your own and find a cheaper option, finding a job shouldn't be a problem and there will be tons of other travellers down there to meet up with and figure things out.
BUNAC, or rather IEP in Australia, provide services which can be really useful on a working holiday (e.g. airport pickup, jobs/accommodation help, mail holding/forwarding, social nights) and have staff that can help in other ways too (ideas of where to travel etc). For flights, I would recommend buying your own if you want a cheaper option.
When I was on a working holiday in Australia, I used the services of Travellers Contact Point (mail holding/forwarding, jobs/accommodation boards, airport pickup), but as I already had experience of BUNAC in the UK I was able to get a job with IEP for a few months, so I have experience of both. Normally I recommend Travellers Contact Point first, however BUNAC can have its advantages for those who are new and unsure about travelling to Australia.
If you called the BUNAC office in London I wouldn't have thought you would get a "salesman" on the end of the line, or email them to their Work Australia email address.
Firstly, thanks very much to both of you for your replies. It really does mean a lot.
From what I've understood BUNAC does seem a good option. After pricing the whole package up (inc. flights) through BUNAC it would roughly cost me £1400 (excl. insurance) whic I don't think is too bad for the year.
However, does everyone get accepted on the BUNAC programme? If not would i get my money back?
Also could you recommend some cheap flight companies. I have looked at a few, but none seem to do a year long return. I could leave in Sept 07, but it doesnt go as far as Aug/Sept 08.
A bit of a daft question here but, how much money do you think i should take (minus the AUS $5000)
Thanks Very Much
You know, I think BUNAC has a limited number of openings, I think related to the number of working holiday visas they are allotted. Again, coming from an American, I think that number was relatively small. There might be a lot more available to the UK, Ireland, etc. I'm not sure. Either way, I can't imagine there would be anyway they could keep your money if they did not accept you. Maybe an application fee or something, but surely you would not have to pay for the program if you are not accepted.
As for booking the trip, I used a company called Air Treks. You can find them pretty easily on the Internet. What I liked about them was that I was able to book my trip in sections. Meaning that when I moved down to New Zealand, I had no idea what I was going to do from there. In order to get the working holiday visa, I had to have an exiting ticket booked, so I booked a ticket out of New Zealand to Sydney at a "made-up" date. Because that company allows you to change the dates on your tickets, when I had it figured out down there, I then changed the date to when I was actually going to be leaving. As I was kicking around New Zealand, I decided that I really liked the whole travelling gig, so decided from down there that I was going to go to South America after Australia. So with Air Treks, I was able to book all of that from down there and didn't have to be locked into a RTW prior. But that's just one option.
I'm not sure I can recommend how much money to take. I was down there a few years ago and the dollar has since fallen to pieces. I'd imagine that with a few pounds, and what you make working down there, you'll be just fine.
BUNAC's Australia program is a different kettle of fish for Americans than it is for British. The visa for Americans is not a standard working holiday visa - whereas for British (and other nationalities that IEP host, e.g. Canadian, Dutch) the visa is the standard working holidaymaker visa, therefore the amount of visas available is down to all the working holiday visas made available by Australian immigration for that particular nationality (in this case British), and not what BUNAC have allotted.
Being British, if you meet the eligibility requirements for an Australian working holidaymaker visa then you will be accepted. The only possibility you wouldn't is if all of BUNAC's flight places have been filled, and then there's usually a different flight available, or if a lot of people are applying they often get more flights. If you fly independently (booking your own flight) then there should be no other reason you wouldn't get accepted.