What to Do After Your WHV Ends

Hey guys,

I believe most of you, if not all of you, have ever asked some of your friends about their plans upon completing their working holiday. If you are one of those peeps who are still unsure of what they ought to do after their working holiday visa ends, this post might just be your source of inspiration 🙂

Disclaimer: this article might be most suitable to my Indonesian friends since we usually have the same thoughts and worries about what to do next after our time in Australia has finished. 

So, your WHV almost ends and you have managed to gather quite a decent amount of savings. You love living in Australia because of the nice environment and weather, mostly lovely people, and of course the job that pays you a decent salary (especially if you compare it to the standard salary back in your home country, Indonesia). Your job in Australia might be draining your energy, but after a while you get used to it and think it’s worth the pay. Plus, there is no work you need to bring home after work hour and you can get the most out of your weekend (read: hiking at Blue Mountains, sunbathing at Bondi Beach, etc). Back in Jakarta, shopping mall is all you have all around the city. What good is shopping mall for you if you have barely enough money to spend from salary in Indonesia 😦 You really want to stay in Australia or at least continue living away from your homeland. But, what options do you have if you choose to either stay or leave Australia? You already have some ideas in mind what you can do if you choose to stay. However, what options do you have if you opt to leave? What does your home country have in store for you? What is your opportunity if you want to try your luck in other country? Here’s a few things you can consider:

  1. Traveling!!! 

Whether’s it’s a road trip around Australia and New Zealand, or even going to another country you have always wanted all your life, e.g.: Europe, UK, USA, Japan or Korea, JUST DO IT! You have worked so hard so it’s just as wise to use it to gain even more life experience such as traveling! If you’re going to leave Australia, I would recommend traveling around Australia and New Zealand since it’s probably going to take a while before you’re able to go there again. Let’s face it, traveling to Australia is so darn EXPENSIVE! If you just travel around Australia, you would at least save air tickets. If you have a group of friends to do a road trip, you’re gonna save even more. Woohoo!! 😀

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The Great Ocean Road

  1. Go to College/Uni in Australia

This is probably one of the most common things people do after finishing their working holiday in Australia. Apapun degree, subject atau major yg diambil nggak masalah. Abis gimana donk, udah terlanjur betah sih di Australia 🙂 Untuk option yg ini saya rasa nggak perlu dijelaskan lagi yah. Kita semua udah tau kalau lanjut sekolah di Australia kehidupannya biasanya akan mirip2 seperti waktu masih WHV lah. Cuma bedanya kali ini ditambah sekolah: harus bayar uang sekolah + kerjain assignment plus exams :”)

Kemungkinan utk mendapatkan PR setelah lulus sekolah, saya sendiri nggak gitu paham, guys. Sepertinya tetap harus sesuai occupation list yg ditetapkan oleh pemerintah Australia. Untuk lebih jelasnya, silakan tanya ke teman2 yg ambil sekolah ataupun immigration agency yg tepat yah 🙂

  1. Get a higher degree

Getting a higher degree is one of the best choice to make your hard-earned money in Australia beneficial for your future. I know this is not for everyone. Lots of people think they have had enough of school. Nothing is wrong with your thoughts and decision. Getting a higher degree is not compulsory for everyone and not all occupations need a master’s or doctoral degree. But, if you happen to think about getting it, you can absolutely do it! Be it in your home country or abroad, it really is possible.

If you’re thinking about getting a degree abroad, there are some countries that offer low cost education with high quality, such as: Taiwan and Germany. Here is the list of countries that offer affordable education: https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/studying-abroad/10-most-affordable-places-study-abroad .

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Study in Paris is possible too 🙂

  1. Learn a new language abroad

After living in Australia for a while, I’m sure you’ve come to realise that English is not the only international business language. Yes, that’s right! Mandarin Chinese seems like the second national language in Australia. At least in Sydney. Trust me, there are lots of more opportunities if you speak the second international language, where ever you are!

Now, if you think about learning this second language, I’ve got just a good news for you. The national language in Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese. Do you remember before the KDrama era, Taiwanese dramas were all over our TV stations? If you remember Meteor Garden, F4, Rainie Yang and even Jay Chou, they are all from Taiwan. And as mentioned on the list above, Taiwan is also one of the most affordable places to study. If you think learning Mandarin Chinese in Indonesia would not work for you because you don’t get to use it everyday, then you can surely go to Taiwan and take Mandarin Chinese classes there. Your savings in Australia will most likely be enough for your study and living cost. Be sure to check out my previous article on : Why Taiwan is the Best Place to Learn Mandarin Chinese . If you’re not interested in learning Mandarin Chinese, don’t worry! I’m sure there are also language programs in European countries like France, Spain and Germany. You just need to do some research to find what you want.

  1. Open your own business in your home country

If you have an entrepreneurial mind and spirit, and a bit of money as a capital, you can definitely start your own business! I have a friend who also went to Australia on a working holiday. She always loved doing a barista job, and she started at Starbucks when she was still in college here in Indonesia. Even in Melbourne, she was always doing a barista job. Thus, when she came back she decided to open a small café and run the business on her own.  I also know another friend who has done similar thing upon his return from working holiday. I think that’s quite a bold move and inspiring. No one says running your own business and be the boss would be easy, but hey at least you start and learn from whatever comes in your way 😊

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One of my friend’s snack business

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My friend’s cafe at Pasfes

  1. Start or return to your career

If you’re lucky and you get a job with sponsorship in Australia, that’s awesome! You must be one of the luckiest few people in the world! But most of us don’t. You think you don’t have much choice but to join workforce in our home country, Indonesia. Your head already rejects a million times to accept any job offer because you know the salary must be much lower that what you can earn back in Australia. But well, no director started as a director, unless their parents own the business. The thing you need to keep in mind is that a career in Indonesia doesn’t give you an instant big paycheck as you get in Australia, but if you work smart and hard, it will give you a long term benefit. For instance, if you work as a banker in Indonesia, your starting salary might not be very high. But if you work smart and learn as you do your job, you might become a successful banker who is expert in, let’s say, investment and stock market. After a few years, your salary will adjust as your experience and knowledge increase.

LinkedIn

*image source: Quora.com

Those are all the options I can think of so far. There might more more options out there. If you know anything else, please feel free to add in the comment section 🙂

At the end of the day, you are the person who decides what’s best for you. Do what you want and what you can. I don’t think one option is better than the other since each and every one of us has our own talent, skills, interest, needs and purpose of life. I believe we all want to choose to do things that can lead us to our main purpose of life 😀 Whatever we choose, we just have to be responsible of our choice and work hard to achieve our goals.

 

Cheers,

Ariesa

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Taiwan Trip – Accommodation & Transportation Tips

Ni hao!

I’ve recently been on a trip to Taiwan with one of my high school BFF’s. It was a 9-day trip around the island. Even though it wasn’t quite enough to explore all around the island, at least we got the chance to see some of their famous tourism objects.

In this post, I’d like to share as much information as I can recall: budget, itinerary and special tips.
I didn’t take notes on all the details, but I think this would be enough to give a clear picture of the trip and help you plan your trip.

1. Flight ticket
I booked Tiger Air round-trip flights from Jakarta to Taipei for 5 – 14 May 2016. I booked the ticket in October 2015 for Rp 7.2 mio for 2 persons (appr. US$ 550 with only 1 x 15kg luggage). There was a stopover in Singapore and the price did not include luggage transfer. So, we had to get our luggage after the immigration counter and check-in again at the check-in counter. Since we had to spend a night in Singapore before our early morning flight to Taipei (at 8.45 AM), we decided to sleep at the airport.

Waiting for boarding time

2. Itinerary
May 6 – 7 : Taipei, Energy Inn Hostel in Ximen Ding – US$ 59/ 2 nights/ 4-bed female dorm with private bathroom + breakfast
May 8 : Kaohsiung, Sunwise Hotel Kaohsiung, near  Kaohsiung Main Station (MRT & Train) – NT$ 780/ 1 night/ double room with private bathroom + breakfast
May 9 : Chiayi, Light Hostel Chiayi, near Chiayi Train Station – NT$ 1,300/1 night/ 4-bed female dorm with private bathroom + breakfast
May 10 – 11 : Taichung, Starship Business Hotel, near Taichung Train Station – NT$ 2,200/ 2 nights/ double room with private bathroom + breakfast
May 12 – 13 : Taipei, Backpackers Hostel, in Ximen Ding – NT$ 3,000/2 nights/twin room with private bathroom – no breakfast
May 14 : Singapore, 1-night stay at Bliss Hotel in Chinatown, in front of Chinatown MRT station – S$ 128/ 1 night/ twin room with private bathroom – no breakfast.
Energy Inn, Tapei (dorm beds)
  
Energy Inn, Taipei (bathroom)
Light Hostel, Chiayi (bathroom)
Light Hostel, Chiayi (dorm beds)
Starship Business Hotel, Taichung
3. Transportation within Taiwan
MRT in Taipei & Kaohsiung : NT$ 12 – 30/trip depending on distance. I recommend to buy Easy Card for faster access to MRT & buses and save transportation expense. The card costs NT$ 100, non-refundable.
Taiwan High Speed Railway (THSR) : take HSR for a long trip as far as Taipei to Kaohsiung (Zuo Ying station). I bought the HSR ticket at Backpackers Hostel and got 20% discount (normal price almost NT$ 1,500).
Taiwan Train : No need to book in advance for this. Just buy it at the ticket counter and ask for the earliest schedule to your destination. The train costs me around NT$ 100-200ish/ each trip with reserved seats. Sometimes they sell non-reserved seat tickets for short distance travel.
Bus : I took bus from Chiayi to Alishan and from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake.
Chiayi – Alishan : NT$ … /person/single trip. Bus station located in front of Chiayi train station.
Taichung – Sun Moon Lake : NT$ 189/person/single trip. Bus stop in front of Taichung train station.
Sun Moon Lake – Taichung : NT 500/single trip by taxi.
Taoyuan Airport – Taipei Main Station (city centre) : NT$ 125/person/single trip by airport bus. Buy ticket at a counter near the bus stop at airport exit.
4. Meals & drinks
You will never have to worry about meals in Taiwan. There is either street vendor or convenient store (7-11, Family Mart, Hi-Life) at every inch of Taiwan. At late night or early morning, the convenient stores are still open and provide sandwiches, sushi/onigiri, kuo tie, fried chicken, fish meatball and even bento box. The store assistants always offer to heat it in the oven. The prices are reasonable (around NT$ 20-100).
Snacks and coffee from convenient stores all over Taiwan 😀
By the time I stepped my foot on Taiwan’s ground, I already felt that something awesome was going to happen again. And yes, all the good old memories came back and I suddenly felt terribly happy and I think I fell in love with Taiwan all over again :”)
Cheers,
Ariesa

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Why Taiwan is the Best Place to Learn Mandarin Chinese

I’m sure we all agree that now Mandarin Chinese is one of the important languages in global business environment. However, many people find it very difficult to learn unless you learn it in its country of origin. If you are thinking about learning Mandarin Chinese and still deciding where to go, I hope this article can give you more to consider and help you make your choice.

I happen to be one of the lucky people who have experience living in Taiwan. I spent 2 years in Taipei learning Mandarin Chinese and going to graduate school. Before choosing Taiwan, I actually had thought of going to Mainland China. But after more careful thoughts and research, I finally decided to go to Taiwan.

These are some reasons why I chose Taiwan and never regret my decision 🙂

  1. Good quality of education institutes

If you want to learn Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan with a student visa, you have to apply for a full-time study, which means: Monday to Friday at least 15 hours a week. Most institutions that offer Mandarin Chinese classes for foreign students are public or private universities that are recognised by Taiwan government. The teachers really have degree in teaching Mandarin Chinese and they are experienced. Besides the quality of teachers, most institutions also offer extra curricular activities after class. In these extra classes, you can meet even more friends from other classes and improve your listening or speaking skills, as well as get to know about Chinese culture and traditions.

I used to study Mandarin at 2 institutions in Taipei: the first was Mandarin Learning Center at Chinese Culture University and the second was Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University. All the teachers I met in both institutions had years even decades of experience in teaching Mandarin Chinese to foreigners. They’re just professional, friendly and awesome! 🙂

To give you some ideas on school’s facility in Taiwan, here’s some pictures from my uni in Taiwan. They also provide Mandarin Chinese classes for international students. Most of public universities in Taiwan have the same standard of facility.

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My uni’s open area

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Indoor swimming pool inside my uni

2. Student friendly living cost

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One of the main concerns when we want to study abroad is of course living costs. Even though Taiwan is one of the developed countries in Asia, the living cost there is much lower than in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Japan. Before deciding to go to Taiwan, I was comparing between living costs in China and Taiwan and I found out that student accommodation in China was actually much more expensive than in Taiwan. I was even comparing between a smaller city in China and Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, and it’s still cheaper in Taipei!

3. People are polite and friendly

Unlike people in their neighborhood countries: Mainland and Hong Kong, people in Taiwan are very friendly, even to foreigners. Taiwan was once colonized by Japan so Japanese culture has a bit of influence in there. Here are some phrases commonly used by people in Taiwan:

“Ni hao?” = Hello / how are you?

“Bu hao yisi” = Excuse me/ sorry

“Xie xie” = Thank you

4. Part time jobs for international students

JobSearch

As an international student, you are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week. There are many part-time jobs available in Taiwan in various sectors. The most popular ones are: hospitality (food & beverage), foreign worker agency and English course institutes. Foreign worker agencies are popular for Southeast Asian students as they can be a translator between Southeast Asian caregivers and their Taiwanese employers. Whilst the English teaching jobs are more popular for students from western countries, especially English speaking countries. That being said, I mean that as long as you’re white, it’s pretty easy for you to get a job as an English teacher in Taiwan and you also get twice as high as the local teacher’s salary. You can find jobs through websites like tealit.

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My students in Taiwan

When I was in Taiwan, I worked in a foreign worker agency and English language school. Teaching English is not a common job for an Asian and non-native English speaker like me, but with some luck I managed to get the job.

5. Delicious and cheap local food

This is probably one of the things I loved the most in Taiwan. It seems like everything you can eat in Taiwan is delicious and cheap! When I lived in Taiwan for 2 years, I didn’t have to worry about cooking at home (since most of the rent houses don’t have kitchen anyways, lol!) and could find something to eat very easily everywhere! I usually just went to some bento takeaway restaurant for lunch and for AU$2 – 4, I could get a set of rice with 3 sides (including 1 meat/fish/chicken). There are also plenty of local breakfast cafes around any area that serves local breakfast menu. For coffee, I usually just grabbed from 7-11 or any convenient store. Yes, they do serve decent coffee in convenient stores.

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Local breakfast: egg pancake with bacon

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Coffee from 7-11

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Hot food at convenient store

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Convenient store’s ready to eat food & drink are also good!

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Night market’s food: fried chicken & luwei! *thebest*

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The famous bento box from the train station

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Various dumplings! All GOOD :p

6. Convenient and cheap public transports

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Taiwan bullet train

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MRT station in Kaohsiong

And I mean public transport across the country, not only in Taipei city. Inside Taipei or Kaohsiong city, there are MRT and buses. In other cities, there are only buses. But, if you want to travel intercity, there are intercity lines too and there is also bullet train. You can check timetables and book tickets online for intercity trains. It is fast, cheap and convenient to travel across the country during the weekends.

 

These are some famous tourism objects you can visit by public transports:

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Taiwan Aboriginal Village in Nantou

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Cable car for Sun Moon Lake sightseeing

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Train inside Alishan national park

 7. Security, safety and excellent public service quality

I would say that Taiwan is one of the safest countries in Asia. I used to hangout at the night markets very often and came home around midnight. I never felt insecure as the streets always have enough lighting and I know there are CCTV everywhere. Inside the trains and buses, there is also sticker that writes contact number for sexual harassment case.

I’m a pretty forgetful person that once I left my backpack in an intercity train. When I realised, I immediately went to see the officer in the station office and they helped me to contact the office at the next station to collect and keep my bag in their lost and found. The next day, I went to the next station and collected my bag easily.

I can actually go on and on when talking about my personal experience in Taiwan. But I think, this article should be enough to help you make your mind. If you still have anymore questions, don’t hesitate to write a comment or email me at lie.ariesa@gmail.com 🙂

Cheers,

Ariesa