Gosh where do I even begin? Three of my close friends and I decided to make this venture for OZ--with the "help" of AAG. We interviewed with our first coordinator together, stating we wanted to do the 6 month program, and do it all together--we wanted to go at the same time (around November for 6 months) and we all planned on living together--all requirements AAG were fully aware of in order for us to give them the enrollment fee from EACH of us. We ended up being placed in Sydney because "it was the easiest place for them to place all four of us"--per AAG.
First mistake AAG made was the fact they didn't get all of us jobs simultaneously, then also were trying to send us at all different times--some months apart (Myself in September, two friends in October, and one in November). We made due with the timing, negotiated with the different jobs and made it work-- three of us arrived Mid October and our one friend came out to OZ three weeks later since they couldn't get her a job immediately like us--even though we all have a lot of Hospitality work experiences, and applied at the same time. In the whole process of getting the job, AAG makes it seem like they're assisting you by providing you 'To Do Lists' and links and tasks you need to complete--all things you're essentially capable of doing yourself with the assistance of Google. Obtaining a Working Holiday Visa for Australia as an American is as easy as filling out a shopping survey online. Any 20-something-year-old can figure this out on their own, it's not difficult. AAG made it seemed like you NEEDED them in order to pull of something like this--without them you'd be overwhelmed--not the case at all.
Another big mistake that AAG made was the fact that they made it seem like you'll find housing super easy as soon as you arrive to OZ. NO! IT’S VERY DIFFICULT. AAG suggests you to stay in the hostel they provide info for for 3-5 nights while you search for housing--we met some people that had lived in the hostel for weeks when we had arrived, some even months, while still searching for housing! Housing is also not cheap at all. Given our situation, AAG was fully aware that 4 of us were planning on living together--we had zero stipulations, as long as it was safe, a 6 month lease, and a furnished property that could comfortably house 4 of us. This was like looking for a needle in a haystack! The worst part was that AAG made it seemed like we would find something almost immediately--not the case one bit. After over 30 viewings of properties, extreme exhaustion from jet lag and time constraints with our work contracts nearly beginning, and fear of being homeless in another country, we found a place in Glebe--a two bedroom, 1.5 bathroom and paid over $1,200 per week to live there. The ideal living situation came crashing to a halt as we had no other choice but to take this option. What I find the biggest problem with this situation was that AAG didn't help ONE BIT, even when we called them and begged them to help us find something--and all they ever came back was with different website links to look for housing. Like, uhhhhh HELLO WE'RE ALREADY DOING THAT! AAG didn't forewarn us about where we should look for appropriate housing for 4 people, how to go about finding places and perhaps looking at different companies that assist with finding housing (which is what we ended up finding through another Study Abroad Program--a program that didn't ask for a dime from us and just voluntarily helped us.), how much certain areas would cost us, etc. Nothing! AAG literally did NOTHING.
Another problem, my company I worked for was told the wrong start date by AAG--and called me when I hadn't shown up. I explained that they had the wrong date, and apparently AAG told them the wrong date--not the day that I was supposed to work as per my contract I signed. Like could AAG get ANYTHING right during this process?
A few months into our experience here, the AAG contact I was working with apparently left the company--no one ever informed us this was happening and we were assigned a new director that we've never even communicated with prior. Honestly, not one person at this company was helpful--except the initial person you speak with upon signing up. Even then, they makes this experience seem like it's going to be the most amazing thing in the whole world, and AAG will be there if you need them, or feel lost, or have questions, etc. They have not done one thing to assist us--and upon asking for a refund of our money, or a partial refund they basically scoffed and said that we signed ourselves away after that contract is signed for our job. My lawyer said the same thing after presenting it to her. I even told AAG that I was getting my lawyer involved, and the director said in a condescending demeanor, and I quote, "Good, I love when this happens..."
Listen, my goal here isn't to just bash AAG and that's it. Australia was an awesome time, I learned a lot in so many different aspects--but going through AAG was not the way to go AT ALL. If you want to feel used, waste money, and basically waste countless hours dealing with useless people--then by all means, AAG would be perfect for you. If you want to move across the world and work in Australia--go on Google and look up what you need to get a visa, save your money, plus some, so when you come here you can enjoy time while finding a job (which is super easy to do by the way--hospitality has heaps of open positions over here) and finding housing, meet as many Aussies as you can and they'll direct you where to live, where to eat, where to avoid, etc. It's jaunting at first but totally doable on your own. AAG provides this false veil of security because you gave them a lot of money and time--but I felt quite alone in the beginning even being here with three friends. We all felt stranded and used once we arrived in OZ. My friends also had horrible experiences, one wasn't even guaranteed his job when he went to meet with them upon arrival--the other was bounced around through many venues all over the place--commuting up to 4hrs per day, everyday, to get to one venue, the other friend was forced to work ridiculous overnight hours, then work the next afternoon, multiple times, even after presenting this issue to HR-- it completely screwed with her body's normal schedule and she either had to do it or quit. I could go on, and on and on--but my main goal with this review is to tell you, yes you, the skeptical person not sure if signing up for this is a good idea or not, STOP. DON'T DO IT! You have been warned now--it is a complete waste of money! All of this has been expressed to AAG and they have done NOTHING to fix the situation--they've offered apologies and that's about it. Thanks for nothing!