Working Holiday

Dear Debby,

Please help me with a tough decision. I’m considering taking a break from study so that I can do a working holiday abroad. I’ve always wanted to travel the world, and I think working in another country would be a great experience. I’m looking at Australia or Canada - either country would give me the opportunity to practice my English. My parents are quite supportive. However, my father is a little worried that missing a year of university means that I will graduate late. I’m already a year behind other students because I changed my school and major after one year. If I miss another year, then I could be two years older than some of my classmates when I eventually graduate. Dad thinks this might make it harder for me to find employment. I don’t know much about getting a job, but I think he could be right. Then again, if I start working, will I ever get the chance to work in another country? Debby, what do you think I should do?

Considering - SEOUL, KOREA.

Dear Considering,

I don’t envy you having to make this tough decision… wait a second, scratch that, I absolutely DO envy you! You have the chance to live in another culture! That’s fantastic! The real question is… where are you going to go?! You can’t go wrong with Australia or Canada. I think I’d go for Canada (fewer dangerous animals), but if you prefer warm weather, go to Australia.

As for your father’s concerns, I think graduating two years later isn’t a big deal. Missing more time, such as four years, could cause a problem. You should also consider how good it will look on your résumé to have international work experience.

Considering how much you want to travel, I really think you ought to grab this opportunity. As you said, you might not get the chance again.

Debby Dupont

Silhouette of Debby Dupont

Worksheet with activities

Useful Language

  • Working holiday (n) - a trip to another country where you spend some of the time working
  • Look at (phr. v) - to think about, consider
  • Supportive (adj) - helpful, encouraging
  • Eventually (adv) - in the end, after a long time
  • Scratch (v) - to delete, cancel
  • You can’t go wrong - you will succeed
  • Not a big deal - not a serious problem
  • Résumé (n) - a document describing your work experience, skills, and so on that you give to an employer when you want a job


Discuss the following questions with your partner(s).

  1. What do you think of Debby’s advice? Would you give different advice to Considering?
  2. Do people from your country do working holidays in other countries? Have you done one? If so, talk about it. If not, would you if you got the chance?
  3. You win a two-week, all-expenses-paid trip to anywhere in the world. Where do you choose to go?
  4. Would you rather go to a country as a tourist for a short time or work abroad for a longer period?
  5. Is it better to travel when we are young or when we are old?
  6. Do you think international work experience is a valuable thing to have?
  7. Is getting a job difficult in your country? How important is age when applying for a job?
  8. Have your parents given you a lot of advice? How much of it was good, and how much did you ignore?
  9. Why should a person visit Australia? Why should a person visit Canada? Which would you choose?
  10. Is working in an English-speaking country a good way to practice English? What are some other good ways to get speaking practice?