Possibilities and problems

It’s becoming increasingly easier to study and travel to different countries, see the sights, explore the history, etc. Simultaneously, it’s becoming increasingly harder to work and live in different countries, see the sights, explore the history, etc.

I’ve had my share of world explorations. I studied abroad while studying abroad, from Brent to Linfield to Beida and back, and I’ve been a tourist in more countries than I can remember. But studying in a different country and touring a different country is not the same as making a living in a different country.

I looked into studying wine in New Zealand (University of Canterbury), and marketing in London (University of Westminster), but I’m at a point in my life when I want to take a break from school and work, while immersing myself in a new country and culture.

The problem is my passport. I am finding it quite difficult to go to work in other countries as a Philippine citizen. Although I understand that there is no reliable way to distinguish which citizens have a low risk of overstaying their visas, all these legal/immigration hoops are a pain in the butt!

A friend and I were talking about going to New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa, but the Philippines isn’t an eligible partner country for this program (see the list of eligible countries here). By the way, if you are eligible for a working holiday visa from New Zealand (Australia and other countries have them too, depending on which passport you have), DO IT!

As a side note to people who aren’t eligible for a working holiday visa at their desired destination but still have the travel bug, try going around the world instead with a round-the-world ticket. Booking your trip with that sort of ticket can save you thousands of dollars and give you a hundred more opportunities. There are various airline alliances such as SkyTeam that offer this service, just go to your favorite airline and search around the world tickets or airline alliance. 🙂 You can also check out companies that offer/specialize in this service, such as OneWorld (you can plan and book online) and AirTreks (which also has a fun and interactive create your route online function–the maps are helpful). Need ideas for where to go? Here are 100 trip ideas from Business Insider. Just note that you’ll need a lot of luck in addition to a plane ticket to hike “The Wave” in Arizona, since being allowed to enter is like winning a lottery (kind of like some immigration systems).

While I was digging around about working holiday visas for Filipinos, however, I did find a list of countries that Filipino citizens can visit (but not work in) without a visa. Also, Japan just recently allowed visitors from ASEAN countries to visit for short periods of time without a visa. It’s a start, at least.

The working holiday visa program was established with partner countries that had good “track records,” so I can only assume that there have been a few too many Filipino citizens who overstayed their visas in recent history. I hope that in a few years, people worldwide will become, as a species, more educated, better raised, more well mannered and generally more pleasant so that we will all be welcomed in different countries. Actually, while I’m hoping for things, I hope that in the future all countries will have equal living standards, so that no one overstays visas because they don’t want to go home to inferior accommodations.

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