1) Why did you decide to move to Australia?
I had always wanted to live abroad. I’d travelled both domestically and internationally throughout my life so already had the travel bug in me. In 2009, I broke up with a long-term boyfriend and got laid off in the Global Financial Crisis. I decided I had nothing to lose and applied for the work and holiday maker visa in Australia.
2) What were the visa requirements for you to move to Australia?
The US$5,000 in savings, health cover, copy of passport and birth certificate, copy of my degree, evidence that I had enough funds to purchase such a ticket at the end of my visa.
3) What was the moving process like? Did you take all of your stuff or was it minimal?
I only took a book bag and two suitcases. I took mostly clothes, a computer, some mementos, books and a camera.
Wanting to take furniture to Australia? Find out more about the shipping your belongings here.
4) How does Australia compare to your expectations before moving?
Australia is a gorgeous place full of generally friendly people. It is a complex country in some of its challenges with immigration, race and the indigenous population. I was not fully aware of these challenges before I moved there.
5) Do you feel that the cost of living is more in Australia than where you are from?
Absolutely. Even though I lived in one of America’s largest cities, the cost of living was much cheaper in the US. Food, taxis and clothes are especially expensive in Sydney.
6) What 3 things do you wish you could have known before moving to Australia?
How expensive it really was.
A grasp of some of its issues such as immigration and social issues like Ice (Meth Amphetamine) abuse.
That I would actually need some winter clothing! I thought it was hot all year-round so my mom had to send me a box of warm clothing a few months after I got there for winter.
7) What is the best thing about living in Australia?
The lifestyle. It’s laid-back, friendly, with a great climate, loads to do and beautiful natural settings in addition to stunning architecture like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
8) Which aspect did you find most difficult about being a new expat in Australia?
I found getting formal things requiring paperwork done to be difficult. There seemed to be a lot of red tape. The opening hours of things like the post office were also difficult when I was working a 9 to 5 job - I found I couldn’t get a lot of personal things done because things closed early or weren’t open on weekends.
9) What's the biggest cultural difference in Australia compared to where you are from?
There are a few, but in Australia walking barefoot on the sidewalk, rocking up to work closer to 10 than 9, shouting rounds of beers, the drinking culture in general, having barbecues on formal/religious holidays are a few big ones that stood out.
Find out more about what to know before moving to Australia here.
10) If you had to take someone around where you live in Australia for the weekend, what would you do? Where would you take them?
I would definitely take them on a ferry ride. I’d taken to one of the beaches, probably Bondi. I’d generally walk around the CBD and show them Hyde Park, the QVB, Opera House and the Rocks. I’d go somewhere they could get an Aussie staple like a meatpie, kangaroo, lamb or schnitzel.
11) Please list your favourite Australian…
Beach: Shelly Beach near Manly
Place for shopping: David Jones
Restaurant: Din Tai Fung, Fu Man Chu or another good dumpling place; Gelata Messina for dessert.
Bar: I lived in the suburb of Balmain for most of my time there, and they opened up a great place called The Cottage. It had great cocktails and small plates.
12) What one piece of advice would you give to someone moving to Australia?
Embrace the beauty. Get outside, travel, go to the beaches, hike, be in nature. It is an incredible place whose beauty is unmatched.
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