The number one question I was asked as a Global Ambassador for TEAN was, “How much money did you spend while abroad?”  This really ranges for everyone.  It ranges due to your interests, your financial situation, the city you are studying in and more. So having a part-time job abroad can be a great way to earn some extra funds. My goal is to give you a better understanding of my experience with job-hunting while studying abroad in Australia.

I studied abroad on the Gold Coast in the Fall of my Junior Year.  I came to Australia with a good amount of money saved up, but knew some extra cash coming in would only help and make my experience even better to replenish my funds as I went along.

Gold Coast (1)
My home for the semester

I arrived at my gorgeous beach apartment at the end of July and began my job search in the beginning of August.  I looked on one of Australia’s main job searching websites called SEEK, to begin my job inquiries.  There were some postings for restaurants, some for babysitting, and the rest required a degree.  After not hearing back from anyone after a few days, I asked my wonderful Resident Director Helen for some help.  She told me that the best way to find a local job was in person and that I should get off my laptop and get out there.

With a stack of resumes in hand, I threw on some nice clothes and headed to the tourist center of the Gold Coast, Surfer’s Paradise.  With retail experience, I figured my best bet was shopping stores.  But, many stores said they would not hire someone for such a short period of time (the duration I was studying abroad). Others simply told me they had hired all that they needed already.  Many shops also took my resume and gave me the dreaded line, “We will call if we have an opening.”  

Shopping Centre (1)
Shopping Centre on the Gold Coast

Feeling a bit discouraged, I went back to SEEK to check what locations were hiring.  I found a Seafood Restaurant in Broadbeach that was hiring for a server.  With no restaurant experience, I knew it was a long shot but I had plenty of customer service experience, so I figured let’s give it a go!  

Walking into the restaurant, I met my soon-to-be manager.  He said that he could not hire me as a server with no experience but said I could have a “trial” as a hostess.  In Australia and more frequently in the restaurant business, a trial is your way of interviewing.  Whether it is as a server or a hostess, you come into the restaurant and work a shift.  At the end of the shift if they like you, you are hired. Much to my elation, I ended my trial the next night with a job that lasted three months.  Not only did this experience challenge me to work with and serve individuals from all over the world, it taught me more about problem solving and dealing with situations on my feet than any other job that I had on my resume. 

The beautiful Whitsundays

When the end of semester and study weeks came around, many of my friends had depleted their funds and could not travel during the coming weeks they had off.  During my last few weeks in Australia, I was able to take a sailing trip to the Whitsundays, my favorite trip while I was abroad – all thanks to the job I had while I was abroad.  So, my advice for you is do not be discouraged if the job-hunting process takes some time.  Whether you are a hostess at a restaurant like myself or a salesperson at a local jewelry store like one of my friends, there is a part-time job Down Under for you.

Whitney Wemett is a TEAN Alum and recent graduate of Stonehill College. She studied abroad with TEAN on the Gold Coast, Australia.