Working in Asia: A life-changing experience

Article Posted: 03.10.2017
AHC Editorial Team

With its thriving economies and colourful cultures, Asia has always been a popular destination for people from around the world, whether they are looking to broaden their horizons, step out of their comfort zone, or just to create impressive CVs with alternative experiences.

The range from modern big cities such as
Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan to exotic tropical destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia offer a wide variety of options. With the relatively low cost of living in the region, this is particularly true for young people and recent graduates who are interested in internships or working holidays that offer experiences that are unlike anything they have had back home. It is also a great opportunity to pick up an Eastern language which is both fun and useful – the Chinese language is proving increasingly important in the international business arena.

For those looking for short-term work opportunities in this part of the world, hospitality, which is in constantly need of manpower, is a terrific option whether or not you have your mind set on pursuing a career in the field. 

Travel and tourism are among the largest industries in the world. According to the economic impact 2016 annual update summary published by the World Travel & Tourism Council, the sector represented 9.8% of global GDP and supported 1 in 11 jobs in the world as of 2015. Over the last decade, Asia has been the fastest-growing world region in terms of its GDP contribution in the sector. China is expected to overtake the US in terms of travel and tourism investment by 2026. This means entry-level temporary jobs are never hard to find, especially for the holiday seasons.

Working in hospitality – be it 
hotelsrestaurants, bars, cafes or tourist sights
– will also likely put you in an international environment where you could learn to deal with people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.

Working Holidays
Working holiday is a wonderful way to experience the everyday life in a foreign country for an extended period of time, build connections and understand the culture beyond touristic offerings. It also allows you to fund your travels through temporary employment.

Most Asian countries offer working holiday visas under reciprocal agreements with another country to encourage exchange between their citizens. Quota, criteria and terms of the agreements vary. For example, New Zealand has working holiday agreements with mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Most of the agreements allow for a stay of 6 to 12 months for applicants aged 18 to 30 or sometimes 35, and require proof of sufficient funds to support their stay. Academic qualifications required and employment restrictions vary.

If you have academic training in hospitality or tourism, an internship in Asia might be a great place to kick off your career. Larger corporations in Asia such as hotel groups, F&B chains, travelling agencies or members clubs offer internship opportunities for university students and graduates, some of them open to international application. Hospitality internships are often arranged through universities or institutions in the field, as they are often course requisites and call for prior knowledge and understanding of the business. Some employers also accept applications from individuals or agencies, which take care of everything from visa application and accommodation to local language classes and social networking.

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