A few weeks ago, I blogged  about a young woman from Bangladesh who is launching her career at a U.S. company. For today’s post, I wanted to share the perspective of some American Millennials working abroad.
Australia has a special place in my heart, because I attended grad school and worked there in the late 1990s. It’s also gaining more attention at the moment, because Australia recently became the first country to enter into a Work and Holiday agreement with the United States . This means that students and young professionals can take advantage of new visas allowing them to easily work full-time, take a working holiday or continue their education Down Under.
Thanks to a consulting project I’m doing with Tourism New South Wales , I had the opportunity to interview Jessica Rubinstein and Tracey Taibe, two twentysomething Americans living and working in Sydney, Australia. Here are some highlights from my e-mail interviews with Jessica and Tracey, who are both working in the marketing field in Sydney. Their comments provide insight into the minds of young Americans choosing to build their early careers overseas.
Q: What made you decide to work or study abroad in Australia, and in Sydney in particular?
Jessica: I went on a working holiday in New Zealand and England. On my way to England, I toured around Sydney. I took the ferry to Manly [a popular suburb of Sydney] and saw the Harbour views, which are lovely. When I made it to Manly, I dropped my bags and said to myself, that is it! I want to live in Australia.
I just love how Sydney is a big international city and there are beaches 20 minutes away from the Central Business District. It’s laid back, has a beautiful landscape, people are friendly, the food is good and life here is just great.
Q: What do you see as the biggest differences between working or studying in Australia and the U.S.?
Tracey: There are so many differences working in Australia than in the U.S. There is better work life balance here, more vacation time and it is acceptable for people to take three to four weeks [vacation] at time. The working hours are shorter than what I experienced in the U.S., and women get longer time off for maternity leave. Everyone here works very hard, but because they are culturally more relaxed, work seems more enjoyable.
Q: How do you think your time working abroad will help your future job prospects/career plans?
Jessica: Since Australia is a smaller country, there are jobs that you can get here that you wouldn't necessarily get in the U.S. without years of work experience. For example, in my job I am the sole marketing person. I know for a fact that I would not have been able to get this job in America. They would have wanted someone with more work experience. The competition is slightly less here because they have a “skilled issue” problem. If I continue to work in my field, then I think I will be able to get any kind of job here.
Saying all this, if you want to climb the corporate ladder and keep on getting more challenging roles and bigger projects, then sometimes Australia can be limited because this is a small country—the scale is much smaller.
Tracey: I have had more opportunity career-wise here than I did in New York. It's far more competitive in New York. I also think having international working experience can boost anyone's resume. I've been told from previous managers that international experience is very valuable to anyone's career.
Q: What would be your best advice to American students and young professionals thinking about working or studying in Sydney?
Tracey: My advice would be to just come and do it. Sydney is a great place to come if you want to have a busy city life, but also have beautiful beaches and a relaxed beach lifestyle. It is also a gateway to travel in Australia and even Asian countries.
Jessica: I think it is a great opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and see the rest of the world. Americans are in a big bubble and don’t get out of America enough. I think it’s a great idea to come to Australia for a semester. It’s a beautiful city with the best beaches and cool people. The only negative is that it’s very far away, but I still think Australia is great opportunity to have fun at work, see a different culture and meet wonderful people. It is a life changing experience.
Interested in learning more about opportunities to work or study in Australia? Visit http://www.myspace.com/mysydney  or post a question below!