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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How I Got My First Retail Job in Australia

Hey guys,

It’s been a while since last time I wrote here. In case you’re wondering, my WHV ended on 31 January, so right now I am already back in Jakarta. And I am also back to the last company I worked at before leaving for working holiday in Australia.

A lot of people have been texting me through FB and IG message. I answered quite a few of them. Sorry for those whose messages I didn’t answer. So, now I’m here to answer all your FAQ about how I actually got my first retail job in AU 🙂

  1. Kak/Sis, sebelumnya pernah kerja di retail?

Nope! Back in Indonesia and Taiwan, just like most of you guys, I have always worked in the office. Eh, tapi aku selalu kerja di sales function sih. Either B2B or B2C, aku jd selalu banyak kontak dgn customer and work to achieve sales target 😀 So, maybe that helps a bit?!

2. Sis gimana awalnya koq bisa kerja di Myer/David Jones?

Nah ini jawabannya agak panjang. Karena banyak yang tanya soal proses detailnya jadi saya jelasin step by step nya yah. So, saya apply ke agency yg menyalurkan SPG/SPB, atau kalau di AU nama kerennya itu adalah Brand Ambassador. Nama agency nya adalah Marc Edward Agency (MEA). Nah, si MEA ini ada di seantero negara bagian di AU, terutama di kota2 besarnya spt Sydney, Brisbane dan Melbourne. Untuk lebih jelasnya silakan google sendiri yah guys, soalnya si MEA ini punya website juga dan sering pasang iklan di Gumtree & Seek juga koq.

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Waktu itu MEA pasang iklan di Gumtree. Mereka lagi rekrut orang2 baru untuk jadi brand ambassador new launch fragrance. Tapi mereka juga tidak menutup opportunity utk orang2 yg punya pengalaman atau passion diluar perfumes, misalnya makeup dan skin care. Requirement nya cukup simple: have good communication skills, bubbly, confident, well-groomed, beauty enthusiast, ability to speak Chinese (Mandarin or even Cantonese) is an advantage.

Thus, I sent my resume along with a cover letter. Untuk contoh cover letter nya ga perlu saya tampilin di sini lah ya, silakan kreasikan sesuai dgn pengalaman kalian aja. Tapi yang jelas, saya nggak pake bohong dengan bilang saya punya pengalaman retail bla bla bla. Saya hanya bilang kalau saya sudah biasa kerja dengan target, punya passion di beauty terutama skin care dan perfumes. Saya juga bilang kalau saya bisa bahasa Mandarin dan Indonesia, selain Inggris. Soalnya saya dulu pernah tinggal di Taiwan selama 2 tahun (harus banget ini saya sebut supaya lebih meyakinkan :p ) . Untuk resume, saya buat hanya 1 halaman persis spt resume saya utk melamar kerja sbg waitress. Cuma saya tambahkan dengan pengalaman kerja kantoran juga supaya lebih keren aja sih.. Hehehe..

Within 2 weeks upon sending my application letter, I got an email inviting me for a first round interview.

MEA email 1

So, the golden ticket has arrived. Now is your time to show ’em what you got! Dress to impress! Follow the dress code and do your makeup nicely! Show up on time!

3. Terus kalau udah di-invite utk interview, apa donk yang harus disiapin? Apa aja sih yg ditanyakan di interview?

The interview is very short and simple. Ini cuma group interview aja koq. Jadi nanti kita hanya diminta memperkenalkan diri: nama, tempat tinggal, kuliah/kerja, status visa, pengalaman di bidang beauty/sales, apakah kamu punya sertifikat beauty therapist atau MUA? Apakah kamu punya pengalaman MUA? Apakah kamu tertarik dgn job jualan fragrance? What languages do you speak? What days can you work?

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Self-makeup class from Honey Beauty ❤

So, my best advice is to prepare what you want to talk about yourself! Kamu harus kelihatan PD utk speak up dan pastinya ramah! Waktu saya interview, seperti biasa saya banyak ketemu orang2 Mainlanders, selain Brazilians. Kalau yg Brazilians ato bule2 lain biasanya punya pengalaman MUA/beauty therapists, sedangkan yg Mainlanders biasanya bermodalkan bahasa Mandarin utk “jualan”. So, it would probably be a good idea if you have at least either: makeup artist or Mandarin speaking skill. Kalau kamu nggak bisa Mandarin, coba deh kursus makeup dulu sama MUA Indo yg ada di AU. Kalau saya dulu pernah kursus self-makeup di Honey Beauty . Kenapa Honey Beauty? Soalnya sahabat saya yang satu ini udah terbukti dan berpengalaman jadi BA dan MUA nya Shu Uemura di David Jones Elizabeth Street 🙂

4. Terus, habis interview kapan dikabarin lagi sis?

Di hari yang sama, hasil interview akan diemail oleh team MEA. Kadang kamu akan langsung di-invite untuk second interview. Tapi bisa juga kamu harus menunggu utk jadwal interview berikutnya.

MEA email 2

Actually, if you’re already invited to the second interview, you basically have passed! In the so-called second interview, sebenarnya mereka sudah memberikan induction on how everything works in the agency: mulai dari grooming guidelines, cara mengisi form ini-itu, sampai mekanisme penggajian (yayyy!!!).

5. Oh begitu.. Jadi kalau sudah keterima, kapan kita bisa mulai kerja sis?

Nah, yg ini beda2 sih, tergantung amal dan perbuatan juga :p Hehehe.. Gini, pertama kamu harus isi online form dulu yg isinya biodata, foto dan dokumen2 kamu. Kemudian kita akan tunggu panggilan job. YES! Panggilan job! Sama seperti agency lainnya, kita baru akan dapat job kalau ada brand yg butuh casual staff. Kadang kita dipanggil utk cover shift SPG full-timer di brand/toko tertentu. Kadang kita juga dipanggil utk promosi new product launch/event misalnya di depan Westfield Pitt Street.

Cepat atau lambatnya kita dapat job juga tergantung dari pengalaman kita di beauty. Contohnya: teman saya, MUA Honey Beauty, dapat shift pertamanya dari MEA hanya dalam waktu less than a week sejak dia interview. Sedangkan saya join MEA di Maret, tapi baru dapat shift pertama di Juni. Btw, shift pertama saya malah cuma bagi2 flyer di dalam Myer Sydney city selama one full day. Untungnya rate utk semua jenis pekerjaan dari MEA sama aja, jadi saya happy2 aja sih 😀

Jadi, walaupun kamu udah sign kontrak kerja dengan MEA, please jangan quit dulu dari kerjaan di resto/kafe yang sekarang. Karena kerja di retail itu walaupun santai dan rate nya bagus tapi bener2 musiman, guys. Kalo pas deket2 Christmas pastinya banyak shift, tapi kalau udah lewat tahun baru yah udah sepi lagi deh 😦

6. Jadi kalau kerja di MEA, 1 minggu bisa dapat shift berapa jam yah, Sis?

Ini juga beda2 sih ya, tergantung amal dan perbuatan juga 😀 Kalo aku sendiri dapatnya sekitar 15-30an jam per-week (5 hour/shift). Biasanya hari kerjanya sekitar Rabu sampai Sabtu. Sunday shift is very rare soalnya rate nya kan super mahal yah. However, my suggestion is to keep your Thursday and Saturday free, since most retail jobs will need you to work on those 2 days.

By the time I’m writing this post, some of you and my friends have been invited or even worked with MEA or even in retails. I am very happy to learn that since I wrote my retail experience in AU, there are more Indonesians coming out to try working in this industry as well 🙂 Please write your comment or story if you are also working in retail in AU. I’d be excited to know if my stories have helped you landing an exciting job in this industry 😀

Happy weekend and cheers!

Ariesa

Working in Retail as a Casual in Australia

Hey guys,

Merry Christmas and happy new year! 2017 has finally passed and I can’t be more than excited to welcome 2018! ^_^ By the time I’m writing this post, I still have a mixed feeling towards 2017. I feel like last year was such the toughest period of my life so far. I went through a lot of difficult, yet invaluable experiences throughout my working holiday journey in Australia. Even though it was difficult, I was blessed that I finally secured my so-called temporary career in retail. I absolutely love what I’m doing since I’m always surrounded by makeups, perfumes and now clothing plus handbags ❤

Kalau kalian pernah baca postingan saya sebelumnya, mungkin kalian ingat kalau saya mulai masuk ke dunia retail lewat agency yg provide brand ambassadors (atau biasa kita sebut SPG/SPB) ke David Jones, Myer, Sephora, Priceline bahkan Woolworths dan Coles di seluruh Australia. Kalau belum baca, coba dibaca dan di-like dulu donk postingan saya sebelumnya 😀 . Setelah saya join di agency ini selama 6 bulan, akhirnya di pertengahan Desember kemarin saya harus lepas dari agency ini 😦 Nama agency nya adalah Marc Edward Agency (MEA). Untuk info lebih lanjut silakan Google atau search di Seek/Indeed. Mereka sering recruit new hire utk brand ambassadors utk promote new product launch di dept stores di seluruh Australia (sesuai lokasi preference kita).

Setelah punya cukup pengalaman di David Jones (DJ) & Myer, bisa dibilang perjalan saya mencari pekerjaan berikutnya di retail termasuk lancar. Karena saya sudah memperhitungkan kalau saya harus lepas dari MEA di mid-December sedangkan visa saya baru akan selesai di akhir Januari, di bulan September saya mulai aktif mencari Christmas Casual job di retail, mulai dari beauty sampai ke fashion. Sampai pada akhirnya, saya cukup beruntung bisa dapat 2 Christmas Casual jobs di Hugo Boss dan Coach.

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Banyak orang mengira, kerja di retail gajinya super tinggi dsb. Sigh! 😦 So, in order to manage your expectations on working in retail, here I’d like to share with you that there are also some pros and cons or loves and hates of working in retail AS a CASUAL.

Loves ❤ :

  1. Pastinya hourly rate! Antara rate weekdays, sabtu dan minggu angkanya beda. Apalagi public holiday! Tapi jangan lupa dipotong pajak yah 😛 (disclaimer: tidak menjawab pertanyaan berapa gaji di retail perjamnya kak? Tanya aja sama temen kamu atau om Google 😀 )
  2. Karena kita CUMA casual, biasanya sales target nggak akan terlalu strict dipush ke kita. Karena mereka jg mostly cuma expect kita utk tau product knowledge secara general aja, tapi yang penting adalah kita harus bisa serve customer dengan ramah dan professional.
  3. Staff discount! Biasanya retail memberlakukan discount khusus karyawan utk produk2 di tokonya. Policy staff discount bisa beda2 tergantung retail itu sendiri. Tapi gak usah berpikir utk menyalah gunakan staff discount kalian utk keuntungan pribadi yah, karena selain kemungkinan besar akan ketahuan, kalian jg bisa mencoreng nama bangsa dan negara Endonesah!
  4. Karena saya emang CINTAAAA sama kosmetik, parfum, baju dan aksesoris, pastinya kalau lagi sepi saya suka colekin warna2 makeup atau skin care di tangan saya, semprotin parfum yg wangi2 di baju, atau megang2 dan icip2in tas kulit di toko ❤
  5. Friendly coworkers. Sekitar 95% staff di DJ & Myer tempat saya kerja termasuk friendly & helpful, terutama di toko2 yg letaknya di pelosok2 Sydney. The only thing you need to remember is to politely introduce yourself on your first day, they will gladly help you as much as they can.
  6. You get to speak a few languages. Well, at least for me, that’s what I love about working in retail here. I get coworkers and of course customers from different backgrounds, so I get to speak in any language I can speak (mostly English and Mandarin Chinese).
  7. You learn how to actually communicate with customers: listen to what they want/need and like first before you recommend and persuade/convince customers to buy a product.
  8. Dan yang seperti yg mungkin sudah kalian duga, kerjanya ga sesibuk dan seberat hospitality 😀

But of course, there are some challenges that come along with those perks I mentioned above. Here’s some downsides or the things I dislike about it:

  1. If your job contract writes: CASUAL, that means they don’t guarantee how many hours you work in a week. For one shift, they only have to give you at least 3 hour work. Some weeks when it’s too quiet, they might not give you any shift, AT ALL! Karena alasan inilah makanya saya ambil 2 Christmas Casual positions di 2 brand yg berbeda. This can be a little tricky especially during busy period like Christmas, but with a good time management, you should be able to sort it out. Or you can also keep another part-time job in cafe, just in case!
  2. I don’t actually hate this part at all, but working as a brand ambassador from an agency means you get to work for multi brands. For some people who don’t have passion in beauty, this can be a bit challenging. Misalkan hari ini kita dapat shift di brand A kosmetik, besok kemungkinan kita dapat shift utk brand B fragrance. For the sake of professionalism, seringkali kita harus belajar tentang brand dan product knowledge secara otodidak dari internet. Karena nggak lucu aja kalau customernya nanya bedanya moisturiser sama serum terus kitanya gelagapan saking nggak paham fungsi produknya.
  3. Selain itu, kalau kita join dengan agency seperti MEA, kita harus siap dialokasikan utk kerja di seantero Sydney. Saya tinggal di Chatswood dan so far saya udah pernah traveling sampai ke Liverpool, Bankstown dan Miranda. It’s not something to hate, but sometimes it can be a bit tiring if you have to travel for more than an hour (for a single trip) just to work for 5 hour shift.
  4. Sebagai casual, biasanya kita dapat shift lebih pendek daripada permanent staff (mostly during 11AM to 4PM). Dan kita bakal jarang dapat shift hari Minggu, jadi jangan over excited dulu sama Sunday rate :p
  5.  Of course, you don’t get free meals and coffee 😦

Screenshot_20171228-004849

I realise that my point of view in this job can be a little subjective, that’s just because I’m happy doing this kind of job. I’m pretty confident in my ability in selling and also I love beauty and fashion. I feel like I’ve learned a few things in higher end fashion brands and also some basic things about fabrics and of course market and retail conditions in Australia. I would also say that this is NOT the best job for people who want to focus their working holiday objective in earning and saving as much money as possible, since working in retail requires you to always maintain your appearance and you usually get to spend some every now and then.

I hope you guys find this post helpful and last but not least, wish you an amazing 2018! 🙂

Cheers,

Ariesa

 

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

Taiwan-Money-and-Coin

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

How to Get a Decent Job in Sydney – Tips & Tricks

Hi guys,

Sebenernya saya bukan WHV warrior yg punya pengalaman paling bagus soal mencari dan bekerja di bidang hospitality di Sydney. Seperti yang sudah saya tulis di postingan sebelumnya, saya punya beberapa pengalaman pahit dalam pekerjaan2 saya sebelumnya disini. It takes me a lot of courage to share my bitter experience from my jobs here. It’s such a shame that I couldn’t do the things that, I thought were simple and easy jobs, well enough. I’ve also read some other Indonesian WHV warriors’s amazing experience telling how fast they could learn to do their jobs in such a short period of time and even finally became a supervisor. Tapi biar bagaimanapun juga, saya tetap ingin berbagi tentang apa yang sudah saya pelajari dari pengalaman2 pahit saya disini. Somehow I believe bad experience is actually a better teacher, right?

Disclaimer:

These tips & tricks will be most relevant for female WHV warriors who are looking for hospitality jobs as wait staff, customer service or any customer facing positions. Not applicable for kitchen hand/chef/cleaner etc. Lol :p

Jadi, kita mulai aja dengan kisah saya di restoran Itali kemarin. Long story short, I was again, kicked out! Anyway, in the last few weeks saya juga sudah tidak happy kerja disana karena chef2 Itali yang ganteng dan suka ajak saya ngobrol juga sudah dipecat oleh head chef nya. Jadi saya tidak punya teman ngobrol lagi karena yang lain cuma suka ngobrol dengan bahasa mereka sendiri. Saya pun sudah beberapa minggu kepikiran ingin quit dari resto ini, namun saya agak santai dan picky dalam mencari pekerjaan baru karena biar bagaimanapun juga, pekerjaan di resto Italy ini lumayan simple dan gajinya juga cukup OK. Dan karena supervisor nya juga baik, saya jadi agak bingung bagaimana caranya saya mau ngomong quit. Tapi ternyata Tuhan memang punya rencana baik buat saya. Seperti gayung bersambut, akhirnya saya dan salah seorang waitress Itali lainnya ter-eliminasi dan digantikan oleh orang yang akan dijadikan supervisor baru di restoran ini. Saya tidak perlu bilang quit dan somehow saya merasa lega keluar dari restoran ini 🙂

Terus, kenapa koq saya sekarang PD banget mau sharing tips & trick getting a decent job in Sydney? Karena job hunting saya kali ini agak lumayan, guys. I was jobless for 10 days but this time, being jobless was not as bad as before. I got a lot of interviews and trials almost everyday and I actually became more picky in choosing which one I want to do. And the most memorable experience in job hunting this time was getting an interview and trial with Merivale group! Merivale is one of the most prestigious companies that owns various restaurants, bars and clubs across Sydney. Walaupun akhirnya saya tidak berhasil mendapat job di Merivale group, saya merasa belajar banyak dari interview & trial selama 2 jam di salah satu restoran mereka. Saat ini saya sudah bekerja sebagai waitress di sebuah cafe yang sangat cosy dengan gaji $22/hour nett.

How did I look and apply for jobs this time?

  1. Apply online/SMS

I have to admit that 99% of the job interviews and trials I got in Sydney (including in hospitality) is from applying online. I use either email or SMS/MMS to send my resume. Seperti yang sudah diceritakan oleh teman2 WHV lain, website2 yang kita gunakan untuk mencari pekerjaan di Sydney adalah: Gumtree, Seek dan Indeed. For casual jobs in hospitality, you can always rely on Gumtree. There are also hospitality job ads on Seek and Indeed and usually they would offer better salary since the ads are paid so the companies that post the ads are bonafide. I think I only got one trial from Seek for a Cafe All-rounder position at Bourke Street Bakery. The other ones I got, including the one with Merivale, are from Gumtree.

2. Walk-in/drop resume

I would say this method does not work well in Sydney, unless they tell you to do so in the job ads. I only got one call from drop in resume which was from the Italian restaurant I worked at before.

How does my resume look like?

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Write a short headline to describe about your strengths, qualities and visa status. Write what most employers want to look at, i.e.: friendly, strong customer service skill, good English (and any other languages), etc.

How to land a trial from the interview:

From my experience doing interviews with some potential employers and especially Merivale, these are some of the characteristics they look for in wait staff:

  1. Confidence

Speak clear English with lots of confidence. Work on your intonation to create friendly and happy voice. You have to at least look like an outgoing person who’s not afraid to chit-chat a bit with customers. This is what the Merivale & my current cafe managers told me when they interviewed me.

When I was going through a group interview with Merivale, I was with 20 other interviewees from many nationalities. There were only 2 Asians, but the other Asian girl was actually a New Zealander. So, basically I was the only one that comes from Asian country. They asked us to introduce ourselves: name, age, nationalities, hospitality experiences and if we were a drink (alcoholic drink), what we would be and why? I said I would be a red Sangria because of its daring colour, its sweet and refreshing taste and it’s made of mixed of fruits which represents lots of passion in life. I believe I gave a good answer since the interviewers responded me with enthusiasm and of course, invited me for a trial at one of their prestigious restaurants, Mr. Wong 🙂

2. Be happy and friendly

SMILE A LOT! Like, really a lot when you talk with and serve customers. No matter how grumpy the customers may seem. You still have to put on that happy smile on your face whenever you interact with customers. When my current manager interviewed me, he asked what my strengths were. One of the strengths I mentioned was that I am friendly and he was happy to hear that. He said, most people would say they are hard working and diligent. So, he was glad that I mentioned something different and thus he invited me to do trial on the next day 🙂

3. Flexible availability

Most of the time, the employers want to hear that you are available during any day of the week and ready to start immediately. Unless they already state in the job ads that they only need you on certain days and time of the week. But still, ready to go ASAP is crucial.

Trial Time

Based on Australian law, the maximum period for unpaid trial is 2 hours. If trial takes longer than that, you actually have the rights to get hourly pay. I usually will be flexible if the trial is 3 hours but won’t take it more than that. My trial at Mr. Wong took 2 hours + 30 minutes training and they paid me $50 🙂 Sedangkan di cafe tempat saya bekerja sekarang, trial nya 2 jam unpaid. If the trial takes you 30 minutes or even less, most likely you don’t get the job.

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Formal outfit for trial at Mr. Wong

When you’re on a trial, of course you just need to listen well to directions. Ask lots of questions whenever you forget or unsure about something. Ini yang saya suka dari pengalaman saya bekerja dengan Westerners. Mereka mau sering ditanya dan maklum kalau kita masih agak lupa2 kalau baru 1-2x mengerjakan. Mereka selalu bilang: never assume, just ask clearly. Ask me or anyone else in the team. Ask a lot even though you think it’s a stupid question!

In some trials, directions will be clear and you just need to do whatever the senior/manager trains you to do. Some other are not that clear. I personally don’t like it when I’m not given a clear direction of what to do. So, I will just do whatever I can and not care about the outcome.

After the trial, if you get the job most likely they will ask you to come and start working the next day or the next few days. They have you on schedule right away! If they tell you they would send you the roster tomorrow or call you back, it’s a strong sign that you don’t get the job.

After my trial at Mr. Wong, I really liked that they gave me evaluations and feedbacks. They are really professional. They told me that I already had the confidence and style they looked for. Unfortunately, it seems that I didn’t have enough experience as a floor waitress, because I previously focused on handling the till and only took orders for takeaways. And Mr. Wong is a big deal, guys! Restoran mereka punya 2 lantai dan di masing2 lantai ada sekitar 100 meja. Di hari-hari sepi seperti Senin, rata2 mereka kedatangan 500 customer. Waktu melihat ukuran restoran dan mendengar load pekerjaannya, terus terang saya sudah agak menciut dan nggak yakin saya akan sanggup kerja disana. Yah, saya memang punya tekad setiap saya berganti pekerjaan disini, saya mau pekerjaan saya makin mudah dan gajinya makin tinggi. Karena saya takut visa saya judulnya berubah jadi Working too Hard Visa 😀

Dalam hati saya yakin, pekerjaan itu juga jodoh2an. Pada waktu saya datang untuk interview di cafe tempat saya bekerja sekarang, saya suka sekali dengan tampilan cafe ini yang luas, terang dan cozy. Di saat saya masuk ke dalam cafe, saya sudah memantapkan tekad saya untuk bisa mendapat pekerjaan disana. Et voila! Yes, I got the job just right after the 2-hour trial. They put me on the roster straight away and asked me to start working the next day.

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The cafe layout

Jadi kira2 begitu tips & trik buat kamu yang pengin keluar dari jeratan Asian employers atau underpaid jobs. Communication skills and confidence are the keys to open the door to a better opportunity. Jangan selalu mengeluh western employers itu rasis karena sebenernya kita semua memang pada dasarnya rasis. Just try to think and act like them, maksudnya dalam hal outgoing, friendly dan polite nya yah. Supaya mereka merasa kita akan bisa beradaptasi dengan team member lainnya. Keep trying and good luck!

Cheers,

Ariesa Lie

Things People Don’t Tell You about Working Holiday in Australia

Hey guys,

It’s been a while since my last post, hasn’t it? 🙂 I have been wanting to write another post SO DARN BADLY! But I was quite busy trying to find a new job (YES, you got it right! A NEW JOB!) So, what happened with the Italian restaurant I worked before? Well, I will tell you about this in the next post since it’s not very relevant with the topic I’m going to talk in this post.

Recently, I have noticed that there are actually loads of positive experiences and reviews from working holiday makers about Working Holiday in Australia (WHV). It seems like 99.9% of them talk about how much money you can earn and save when working in Australia, and also how easy it is to get jobs here, and so on and so forth. I don’t think it’s healthy to only give sweets and candies to kids, as it is not fair to only give sweet dreams to all WHV prospects (people who are interested in WHV Australia) without letting you guys know the downside of WHV. Guys, believe me, EVERYTHING comes with PRICE! By writing this post, I don’t mean to discourage any of you to come for working holiday here. I just hope you will be more prepared (mentally and of course physically!) than I was before. Here we go!

  1. That so-called “accommodation”

Most working holiday makers, especially Asians, want to live in the city. And of course as the result of high demand, accommodation in the city center is very expensive. If you want to have a private room in the city, you have to spend around AU$300-400/week. Can you calculate how many hours you have to work only to afford your accommodation? For the sake of saving money, many of us (including me right now), must be willing to live in a shared room. And most of us usually have to share a room with 3 to 4 other people. Sometimes even 5! Trust me guys, it’s not the most comfortable accommodation we live here. Here’s the picture of my current room.

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For just a triple room, we pay AU$190/week. However the price may vary. For a triple room, it usually costs around $150 to $190 pp/pw depends on the building and location. Those accommodation that costs AU$120-140/week are usually shared between 4-5 people with bunk bed.

I currently live in the master room of a 2 bedroom apartment. FYI, there are 9 people living in our unit! So yeah, some people live in the living room. Here’s how it looks like.

20170717_175210 Yes, you got it right! Those people live just inside those curtains! Even living inside the curtain can cost you around AU$150/week, guys! Sometimes the landlord also rents out the sunroom in the apartment. It’s the small place with glass walls and ceiling where you can hang your laundry to dry it. Even this sunroom costs about $200 a week! (T_T”)

Now I believe you can start imagining how ‘clean’ you can keep an over-crowded house. Personal space is so damn expensive in Australia, guys! We have sold all our privacy and personal space in exchange for a few bucks.

2. Hourly wage in Sydney: EXPECTATION vs REALITY

From the rules set by the Australian government, standard hourly wage in Australia is about AU$18 before tax. OK then approximately we can earn about $15.3/hour after tax or maybe even $16. The former working holiday makers might have shared that they earned around $20 an hour and well, this actually made lots of people (including me), think that getting $20 an hour job is soooo easy peasy!

In reality, we never really know what kind of jobs they had been through before getting that decent-paid job. Right now there are just TOO MANY backpackers and also foreigners coming on student visa competing in Australian job market. Lots of our working holiday friends from Indonesia (and even from other Asian countries) work for $11-14 /hour cash jobs. If we don’t take the job, there are still many other job applicants willing to do it just for the sake of not being jobless.

It is even more challenging for us, girls. Our friends who claim they earn $20/hour mostly work as a kitchen hand. At least as far as I know, in Australia, employers prefer male workers to do this kind of jobs since it is SUPER exhausting! Selain itu, kalau menurut temen2 saya yang kitchen hand juga, biasa orang bule gak mau kerja jadi kitchen hand karena capek dan berat banget gilak! Jadi otomatis di kategori pekerjaan ini kompetisi nya lebih sedikit karena cewek2 dan bule2 gak ada yang mau atau mampu kerja sebagai kitchen hand.

At the end, jobs that are available for us, girls, are waitress and cafe all-rounder. I’m not saying this is the only job we can do, I’m just saying that this is the kind of job that is mostly done by female working holiday makers or students. And also the most common job advertised on Gumtree.

Nah, kalau ngomongin gaji sebagai waitress atau all-rounder cafe itu tergantung employer. Kalau boss nya orang Asia, kisaran gaji sekitar $11-15/jam. Walaupun pasti ada aja yang beruntung dapetin boss Asian yang baik dan murah hati dan dapat gaji sesuai minimum salary yaitu $18/jam. Sedangkan untuk western employers, biasanya sih sudah sesuai standard minimum salary, bahkan di atasnya. Buktinya, temen2 waitress saya waktu di restoran Itali kemarin bilang kalau gaji kita yang $19/jam di restoran itu tergolong kecil. Karena menurut pengalaman mereka, masih banyak restoran, kafe dan bar disini yang menggaji lebih dari itu.

Untuk job di bidang lain saya nggak bahas yah guys. Maklum pengalaman kerja saya disini terbatas cuma sebagai all-rounder dan waitress aja. Saya bukannya gak mau eksplorasi, tapi memang saya suka dengan bidang pekerjaan yang mengharuskan saya ketemu customer (salesman alert!). Saya happy bisa belajar ilmu barista, dan mau banget belajar bikin cocktail. Tapi saya gak bisa kerja di dapur dan cuma ketemu si kentang, bawang dan tomat tiap hari. Ughh, gak rela banget saya kalo gak bisa liat customer bule2 ganteng satu hari aja! :p

3. A casual job in hospitality actually requires 2 years of experience!

Or at least, that’s what is commonly written in job ads on Gumtree. At first, I was shocked and couldn’t stop thinking WHY do I need years of experience just to apply for a job as a waitress or cafe all-rounder (atau bahasa kerennya: babu serabutan kafe!). But after working in the industry for a few months, now I understand why. Hospitality is a very fast paced industry in Sydney. Customers only have a few minutes to get their takeaway coffee and an hour for lunch break. This is why rush hour in Sydney cafes and restaurants is very crucial for the business. Every cafes and restaurants want to get as much as possible and so they push their staff to the limit during these peak hours. And they really can’t bother to give extensive trainings to new staff for a very good reason too! Because most backpackers (including working holiday makers), won’t stay long term with them. Most backpackers don’t really care about doing the job well, and working holiday makers can only stay for 6 months to a year. So, why risk losing customers only for the sake of training inexperienced staff?

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Sample of common job ads on Gumtree

4. That never-ending working hours

To compensate the low salary, most employers would give long working hours to the staff. Many of our friends are also very happy to take a second and even a third job to earn more money. You may have heard these friends can earn up to AU$1000 a week in Australia. But, have you ever wondered how many hours and how many jobs do they actually work? What time do they get up to work and when do they come back home from work? Time is money in Australia, the more hours you work, the more $$$ you make.

Once again guys, I’m writing this post NOT to DISCOURAGE you to come for a working holiday in Australia. I just want to give you another perspective on this and hope you to be better prepared than I was. I mean, I was of course prepared to do a waitress job in here. But I just wasn’t prepared to do a long hour work and save money by sharing my room.

Thanks for reading, guys. If you want more article on working holiday in Australia, please leave comments and tell me what you want to know. Hopefully I would be able to answer in my next post. Ciao! (^-^)v