Episode #4 – Reflection Time
Where ever you live, at home or abroad, there will always be things you like and dislike about a place. What it comes down to is whether the good out weights the bad or visa versa. I’d like to share five questions that I ask myself to make sense of this whole experience in an attempt to answer the ultimate question: Was it worth it?
Knowing What I Know Now, Would I do the Working Holiday in New Zealand Again? (Under the Same Circumstances)
No. I don’t want to give a politician type answer, so for my own circumstance, I would not re-do it if I already had the knowledge I have now. To me, the day to day stuff was not worth the highlights here and there. I didn’t get the cultural enrichment I was hoping for, but that’s life. You can’t win em all.
If You Could do it Differently, Would You do it Again?
If I had A LOT more money, then yes. With 20k-30k like some people I met, I would swim with dolphins (few hundred $$$), explore jungle caves ($500+), land on active volcanoes ($200+), and helicopter on a glacier which would definitely make it more worth while. Money would have made moving easier too, but I think deep down, I would definitely rather just travel than live here.
What is the Biggest Factor that Makes you Give the Above Answers?
The number one thing would definitely be money, which I have stated again and again. There is another factor though that I didn’t realize until coming here. I was already VERY SATISFIED with my life.
A lot of the people on the same boat who enjoyed it had a story about being in dead end jobs (French and Germans), hating the day to day of their own culture (Koreans and Chinese), or were right out of high school (English and French). Most had never experienced life in another country. Everything was new and exciting to them.
I had already lived four years in Korea, had a great job in a profession I love, and passed up on other great opportunities to take a 60% pay cut (not even counting the price discrepancy) and work in a relatively boring job. Initially, I thought I missed all the travel and the 7 months I took off of work. I kept telling myself that once the honeymoon feeling was over and I woke up to the reality of things, I would be happy. The problem is, I didn’t miss the travel, I missed living in Asia.
I know I broke up with you Korea, but will you take me back?
Would you recommend the Working Holiday to others?
Yes, but it really depends on your situation. I would say more than half of the people I met were generally happy with their decision. A good chunk of people though would much rather enjoy just traveling for 2-3 months here and heading back (which is what I would have done), but there are definitely types who would never leave once they got a taste of NZ. If you plan ahead by thinking about this, consider the ups pointed out here, are aware of the downsides, and still think you would love it, definitely give it a shot.
Was it Worth it for Me?
If I was 10 or even 5 years younger, I would say the life lessons were totally worth it. Realistically though, I am 29 now and this little adventure pushed back my career and personal goals minimum one year, but probably 2-3 all things considered (especially financially).
My first day on the job, I met a guy named Minkyu. He was showing me the ins and outs of the job (how to throw out the trash) and was at the end of his Working Holiday. I asked him what he thought of his year here as a whole and he said: “[I was an engineer in Samsung. While it might seem bold and cool to leave everything and give it a shot, I was 30 and at the top of my career. Sure, it was hard at times and everyone complains about the work culture in Korea, but if I learned anything from this, is that I had a really good life back home. A good life that was impossible to match here, and sadly, will be difficult to recover when I get home. Now to throw the trash away, push this button…]” Minkyu may have been bitter, but that is kind of how I feel right now in absolute honesty. However, that is a lesson I never would have learned if I hadn’t tried it.
Have you done the Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand or in another country? Tell us what you learned from the experience below on the comments! Yeah, that section is for something.