In the age of travel blogs, Tripadvisor and budget airlines, solo travel has never been easier. Advice on how to take your first trip abroad is now just a mouse or a swipe away. You no longer have to spend time in bookstores trying to memorize pages from the Lonely Planet guidebooks or hunt down that elusive family member for a chat, just because that uncle or aunt once backpacked Europe in the 70’s. Traveling tips and hacks are longer rare. Brick-and-mortar travel agencies are slowly becoming irrelevant in the digital age.
When one thinks of a beach holiday in Southeast Asia, the usual suspects come to mind: Phuket, Bali, Koh Samui, or for those who stick to the regular backpacking circuit, Koh Phangan. Beaches in Malaysia usually come as an afterthought.
And when one finally does think about Malaysia, just about every other tourist ends up in Perhentian Islands, Langkawi or Sipadan in East Malaysia. As a local, I knew better but despite that fact, and having escaped to many islands on the east of Malaysia (not just the ones mentioned), Pulau Kapas was strangely never on my radar.
I’ve already explained most of it in detail in the initial post that I’ve written up here: An Epic Guide to German Language Visa Application. However, some of you still have questions so it’s probably time to update the FAQ. I’ve put together the questions that I’ve been getting below and have answered them in-depth.
For the life of me, if I don’t know why you’d want to learn German in the first place. It’s difficult (trust me, it is), it takes forever to master and it’ll take you a lifetime before you could pass off as a German native speaker. However, if you’re doing it out of love, for a university programme, or if you’re just plain masochistic, well then, where else would you rather learn German but in Germany? I don’t need to extol here the benefits of learning the language at the country of its origin and embracing the experience of living abroad so I’ll just get on right to how to go about applying for the German Language Visa.
First of all, if you find a programme that could be completed in three months, you could just sign up and learn it on a regular “tourist visa”. For Malaysians, we could enter and stay within the EU/Schengen zone for 90 days within 180 days without a visa. Which means, you have 90 days to remain and travel freely within the Schengen area.
Did you imagine the start of your travels to be somewhat like this?
A regular family is eating dinner quietly, when all of a sudden, the youngest of the family, the mousiest of the lot, suddenly drops her fork with a clatter, announces to her parents that she’s going to globetrot, her parents cheer and then, the next thing you know, she’s wandering into the heart of Patagonia, with a backpack and saucepans clanging on the side.
Yes, you did and worse of all, you truly believed in that little story that you’d made up. You haven’t started your travels because you’re waiting for that one-size-fit-all-sure-fire-formula that will turn you from an ordinary being into an extraordinary adventurer. While waiting for this formula to drop from the sky, you thought perhaps it’ll be just be easier to travel vicariously through your favourite travel blogs.
I bet you’re about to hate me.
You’re huddling in your cramped office cubicle, wishing that you were anywhere else but there.
You wince as you scroll through the page. One after another, photos of sparkling turquoise waters revealing itself slowly and almost mockingly. You can almost breathe the balmy air; taste salt on your lips.
Reading about someone else’s vacation on the Maldives is like smashing salt into your gaping wound, and yet, you can’t seem to tear yourself away from the page.
Because I’m about to tell you how you can do the same without having to sell your first-born. Or that shiny new gadget of yours.
One of the most frequently-asked-questions on my blog is: How did I find jobs in Australia? Was it easy for me to find one? Did it pay well?
There are a thousand ways to land a job in Down Under but I can only share with you whatever I know from job hunting in Melbourne. My knowledge can be limited and the lessons that I’ve gathered from my experiences may not apply to everyone but let me tell you that it was an easy and painless process: I got a job in 4 days.
UPDATE AS OF 23 JUNE 2016:
It seems that the Australian High Commission of Kuala Lumpur has recently updated their website and it is imperative and utterly important that you visit that website and read about everything you need to know in order to successfully apply for the Australian Work and Holiday visa (Subclass 462). Please do not ask me (or the other helpful readers) questions pertaining to the application if the answers are already provided on the website or in the comments below. For goodness sake, don’t be lazy and spend some time reading the website thoroughly! If you can’t even take the initiative to even do that, then I’m sorry, we really can’t help you out. And do bear in mind that I’m not an agent nor am I working for the Australian High Commission. I’m merely an ex-Australian Work and Holiday visa applicant and can only share with you my experiences. Nothing more. If you need clarification on certain things like exemptions, translations, certifications, etc., I suggest that you email the High Commission.
On the 2nd of July at 1.05 am, I am playing cards on the dirty pavement outside the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur with two other fellow CouchSurfers Marcus and Stefano while waiting and sitting in line.
There are about 38 other Malaysians ahead of us, starting with the first girl sitting on a foldable chair, closest to the iron wrung entrance of the High Commission. While we may look like refugees to a passerby, huddling in front of an institution that may promise sanctuary and asylum, we are actually more like a bandwagon of bedraggled aspiring travellers, camping out so that we can secure ourselves a spot of opportunity: our only chance to apply for the Australian Work and Holiday visa for the year 2012.