Moving from Australia
I have always wanted to come and visit Alaska and have seriously been considering in the last few months, relocating to Alaska for six months - to a year in 2012. I am currently 20 years of age and will shortly be graduating as a commercial pilot. Although it would be ideal to get work as a pilot in Alaska I don't really see it being realistic. So keeping this in mind I have several questions.
Where is the best place for someone my age to live in Alaska? I really like the look of the Aleutian -Island and Unalaska.
What kind of work could I get in Alaska that would be able to sustain my period of relocation? Is there any work I could get there in the field of aviation?
What would be the best time of year to move to Alaska to get the best value out of living over there?
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
There are a lot of aviation jobs up here. The spring (May) is when the big push starts for jobs in all fields. In the summer there are more aviation jobs due to there being more field work and fishing business increases in staffing. By the end of September the field season is drawing to a close and we are preping for winter. Many seasonal business are closing down until May.
Your age has little to do with where to live. If you love girls and parties you should consider......Vegas?....not a huge night life up here even in Anchorage. But if you need some club action you would look at Anchorage since it is the population center of the state.
If you like the small town life then there are many options from Bethel to Juneau (heli pilots from NZ hang out there) to Talkeetna. For aviation lots of people head to Bethel to cut their teeth on bush flying - the Cessna 206/207 is the station wagon of Alaska.
My first two years in Alaska were in the Aleutian Islands 30 years ago. It is not a place I recommend for their first place to live in Alaska. I had no choice thanks to the governement and my dad's job. However, the region grows on you and if you can handle it in the winter you can handle anywhere on this planet. Well, maybe not Miami. No aviation jobs that there are not already several local people lined up for. It is not the nicest place to fly in a small plane. Other jobs are fish packing...or fish catching...with lots of non resident aliens like yourself showing up to work since most Alaskans don't enjoy the "quality" of those jobs - low pay, high taxes, and brutal hours.
The US is currently changing its cultural exchange student visa program to keep the exploitation in check. This will make it harder for young foreign people to get seasonal jobs. But you can get in through other visa programs that are for work. Do some googling and you will learn about the issues and the proposed solutions.
I myself am not from a big place, I spent most of my life in a small community in the remote Northern Territory, so moving to somewhere remote is not a problem for me. If I come across in 2013, I was looking at coming over in May to possibly the end of the year so I can experience most of the very short good seasons in Alaska. I will be a low time pilot when I do head up there so a job flying in aviation is probably very unlikely. I was hoping to live somewhere where I might be able to get to see more of Alaska's natural beauty. I.e. lakes, mountains, wildlife. Obviously the big thing that will limit me, will be the kind of work I can get. I love hunting, fishing and camping (not sure how much of the latter you can do in Alaska). I basically want to be able to experience as much of the place as I can whilst I am staying there.
We have an opening for a Wwoofer in May. Would get your feet on the ground with something to do anyhow. http://www.wwoof.org/
Good luck and let us know if your interested!
Also I have been up to Alaska before but only for several days, which is why I want to go back. I went through Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. I loved every moment up there.