Alumni Spotlight: Alexis Chem


After a big turn over in my life, I really needed to see something else. Exploring the world would be the best option and it led me to this wonderful country of adventures : Australia.

Why did you choose this program?

I have chosen this program for few personal reasons. I had to leave France as soon as possible because I really needed change. As I needed to go ASAP, I wanted first some security before going on the other side of the world. Having help on the administrative procedures and a work contract was very appreciated. I didn't know exactly what to do with my life so the 6 months contract appeared to be the best option to me, not too short, not too long (in case I didn't like the country, lifestyle etc..)

So the main reason of choosing this program would be the security. But keep in my mind I was keen for adventures and it was like the best way for me to chase my dreams.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

They assisted me about everything I could ask for. The Visa process, the Tax File Number, the interviews to get a job/contract before landing to Australia, the booking of my first 2 nights with instructions and a map to know exactly from the airport where I had to go (best thing ever, you already have a place to go, no need to stress out after this long trip!).

Then they could have assisted me with the flight, the medical insurance or even the accommodation, but it was my personal choice to do it on my own.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

If you're looking for a big change in your life, it will be a huge one, indeed. But keep in mind it's still another culture, and a different country so you will need a little bit of time to get use to it.

I'm gonna use my own example. When I arrived in Sydney I felt directly at home, I was so surprised to have such a reaction! But after 1 month, I became homesick! It always happens when you don't expect it. The only way to get better is to experience as much different things you can.

The main advice I will give would be to keep aiming as high as you can. Everything's possible in Australia!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average week will start with work of course! I had the chance to work for a very famous wax museum which was very entertaining. The thing is you always feel like you are on holiday with a Working Holiday Visa, and Australia has a lot to offer when speaking about holidays. So after work, sometimes, you can escape to some happy hours with friends, and also have a beer on the harbor watching the sunset!

But in a city like Sydney, you have so much to explore. And as you're working you have enough money to enjoy the must-to-see of the city (museums, monuments, hikes, etc) and also to plan longer trips. (A weekend in Melbourne, Canberra etc).

Every single week was different to be honest. No time to waste, no time to get bored!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I don't think there's one particular fear. It's more like I had several small fears. I mean, the language barrier for example, but now we're talking about the biggest fear I would say, to not succeed in my new position at work, or not being capable or get used to the rhythm of life.

I was thinking, "What if you don't understand what are they talking about? What if they don't like the way you work Alex?" Whatever could come in my mind back at this time could become a fear to be honest.

Now after 6 months here I can tell you something: it's that no matter what fears you have, with a little bit of time they will be replaced by self confidence. The key is : no pressure, keep focusing in what really matters, and LIVE THE DAY.

Is there something more you would like to share about your experience abroad ?

I would like to say that every city was a gift. This experience taught me how to believe in myself. It made me stronger than I was in a way I didn't expect. I professionally grew up more in 6 months here than in 4 years in the tourism industry.

Moreover, I'd like to share that every single person that I met was part of this wonderful experience and nothing would have been the same without them. I came here for only 6 months, but look where I am now, in a camper-van, travelling the whole east coast of Australia. All of these new adventures, I owe them thanks to this experience. This kind of overseas program opens your eyes on the world and I truly believe it changes you forever.