Some people will have a country that from a young age has for one reason or another fascinated them and they can’t wait to move there to learn more and experience the culture. If this is not you, do some research and see which country piques your interest.
When choosing where to go, you might want to consider the following:
If you don't have a specific country you want to live in, then perhaps there is a specific industry you'd like to work in. Check out the opportunities for each country and let that direct your choice of location.
Some employers/hosts are better than others, so before you sign up to anything, thoroughly research the requirements and conditions, especially if you're going to work or volunteer in Asia.
If you've studied a particular language at school, say Japanese or Chinese, Japan or a country where Chinese is widely spoken, would be an obvious choice of destination.
Or perhaps there is a language you'd like to learn – Mandarin is increasing in popularity as a second language, but going to Indonesia or Malaysia and learning Bahasa would really set you apart.
If the language barrier is a concern to you, then you might want to consider going somewhere where English is widely spoken – Singapore or Hong Kong, for instance. Either way, don’t let the language barrier put you off.
Wherever you go it will be an adventure, but some countries will require a bit more of an adventurous spirit than others. Some people might be drawn to the tranquillity of rural Japan (teaching will likely be your only option) while others might be looking for the hubbub of Bangkok or Mumbai.
If you’re a big fan of getting into nature from time to time, then choosing a country, or more specifically a city/town, where nature is readily accessible might be a good start. Remember, the more rural a location the less likely you are to find English speakers and work.
Before choosing a location, take time to check out the political situation.
How much you want to earn
You are more likely to be able to secure a well-paying job in wealthier countries where wages are higher; however, wealthier countries are usually also more expensive to live in, so consider all factors, such as accommodation, transportation and food costs.
Some large multi-national companies will pay staff a wage that is commensurate with what they would earn in the same role back home.
Visa requirements vary from country to country. Obtaining a visa other than a tourist visa can be a complicated process. You will usually require an employer to sponsor you to get a work visa. It's advisable to get a work visa before you leave home, though some countries allow you to enter on a tourist visa and upgrade to a work visa once you have found work.
If undertaking an internship or volunteer programme, the organisation hosting or facilitating the experience will inform you on visa requirements.
For information about working holiday visas for 18-30 (35) year olds, see the working holidays section of this page. For more information, go to the embassy or consulate website of the country you want to travel to.
Before taking the leap and heading offshore, it's always advisable to talk to people in the know. You may know someone who has lived in Asia or you could search for chat groups for New Zealanders/foreigners living in the country you are thinking about going to.
You could watch some Youtube videos to get an idea of what life in the country is like for foreign workers and perhaps get an idea of wages, job opportunities and living costs.
This article is meant as a guide - to provide advice and sources of information to help you make an informed decision. Situations can change quickly (especially with Covid-19 still impacting the world) so we advise you do further research and speak to people familiar with living and working in Asia before making any decisions.