I've had this post saved as a draft for a couple of months, and now I FINALLY get to publish it. And I. Am. So. Excited.
I am officially a graduate! I am now prepared to be a useful and productive human in society (although not-quite-so prepared to relinquish my student discount). The world is my oyster, and I am the shiny new pearl born of it. It's really very surreal, that this is truly the end of a wonderful chapter in my life. But now I'm beginning a new one, and I have never been so excited/anxious about anything in my life.
It all started when a recruiter named Yasmeen from LogicMonitor told me about something called a "working holiday visa," or a temporary visa that allows you to work or study while you're abroad in order to fund your travels.
From Global Goose:
Most working holiday visas schemes are under reciprocal agreements between two countries, because these countries want to encourage travel and the exchange of culture between their citizens ... Working holiday visas are usually limited to visitors between the ages of 18-30, although some will accept applicants as old as 35.
There's a time limit on these as well. Some working holiday visas are six months and some are up to a year, but once it expires you can never do it again. It's quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That, coupled with the frustration of agency job-hunting as a new graduate and an unwillingness to sell my soul to the corporate world just yet, made the idea of living abroad that much more appealing. So I started Googling.
The countries that offer Americans working holiday visas are Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea. I decided do Singapore for six months. I was interested in Singapore because I've heard it's very culturally diverse and technologically advanced, not to mention that it's kind of the "transition country" (actually technically a "city-state")—it's fairly westernized and they speak English there, so big companies frequently use it as the first step in their globalization efforts in Asia. And the infamous chewing gum law is nothing if not intriguing.
The prospect of moving to a place where you know absolutely no one is terrifying, much more so when you're a born-and-raised Californian who's never lived more than five hours away from home. But Yasmeen completely sold me on it. She told me how it had changed her life, how it was this amazing experience that completely shaped her as as person, how much influence it had on her career and her perspective on life/work. I thought, Wow, I'd love to do something like that. And then I realized that if I was going to do it, this would be the best possible time, while I'm still young and eligible for this opportunity, while I have nothing to lose and little to no obligations.
Now I'm about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime—living in Singapore for half a year—and I'm honestly very nervous. I've never lived completely on my own, let alone in another country. I'm scared. I know I'll be lonely at times, but I'm also pretty excited to see what's in store for me there. I'm ready for a fresh start. I know that I am not going there seeking comfort or reassurance. I'm going for the adventure, to explore a different way of life, to be out of my element.
And I am so, so lucky for the opportunity to do so.
And however far away I am, I know I'll have people back home waiting for me. I'll miss all of them dearly, my family and friends, all of whom have been amazingly supportive of me. I love you all so much. And I hope you'll follow my adventures (you can subscribe in the box below!), so you know how much I appreciate all of you who still read this, from all the way across the world.
It was a good 22 years, but I'm ready for the next chapter and a fresh start. Cheers to the next great adventure, and I'll see you soon, America.
P.S. If anyone has questions about doing a working holiday visa, let me know! It's such a great experience, and I'd love to see more people take advantage of it. Or you can check out my how-to guide for US residents here.
JAYEMSEY X SINGAPORE
writer/creator. problem-solver. curious cat.