I think we can all agree that uni’s pretty hectic. It’s a crazy blur of essays, parties and cheap drinks. So when summer hits, and we’re presented with three stretching months of freedom, what do we do? Whilst the thought of so much time off is enough to strike fear into the hearts of students across the country, others seize the opportunity and make as many crazy plans as humanly possible. I, unfortunately, fall into the former category. Three months back in my ridiculously rural hometown is enough to turn anyone into a serial killer. That’s why this time last year I blew my the rest of my loan (and more) on two months in Australia.
It was actually surprising how effortlessly I blew £950 on flights alone, and hardly batted an eyelid when I forked out £120 for my visa (although I’m sure my overdraft did!). Looking back, it was a bit of a harebrained scheme…but oh-so worth it!
The plan was to fly over there, get a job on a vineyard, travel a bit and make every penny back. It was definitely easier said than done!
After a deliriously tiring twenty-three hours, I landed in Perth airport and checked into a hostel. The next day I got on a coach and within five hours I was in the wine region of Margaret River. It was here that the vineyard work began. What can I say about pruning? Perhaps it wasn’t the ideal choice of jobs for a chronic mirror-checking girly girl. It definitely took a while to adjust to the achey hands, makeup-less face and rude awakenings at 6am!
The good thing about seasonal work in Australia is that minimum wage is high. I was getting $18 an hour for essentially chopping at trees. You’re never going to make a killing pruning vines, but it’ll keep you going for a while at least (2 months in my case!).
After abandoning my short-lived pruning career, I travelled back to Perth with some friends that I’d met on my travels. A year later, I can still honestly say it was the best time of my life. The friends I made and the laughs I had there just can’t be matched.
Of course, coming back to England brought me back to earth with a bump. I realised it was time to come back to real life, and jump back into the (amazing but emotional) world of university again. So back to uni it was, and here I am again, faced with another endless summer.
Whether you’re content with getting your chill on (and making the most of the free meals) at home, or flying halfway across the world to make the most of a few months, just remember that these could be the longest holidays you’ll have – make the most of them!
So where will I be going this summer? China, New Zealand, Nepal? Not quite. I’ll be staying put, saving for next summer…
Written by Sarah, Manchester Uni