Moving to a new country can be a daunting prospect. Nevertheless, thousands of people decide to take the plunge and move to Australia every year. With its picture perfect beaches, glorious climate and laid back way of life, it’s no wonder that so many foreigners make the move.
But before you book that flight to Australia in a flurry of excitement, remember that there are lots of things to consider before making that big step. To help you out, we have interviewed some of the most savvy travel bloggers that have made the move to Australia themselves. They have some unique insights into Australian expat life, so if you are thinking about making the move down under, sit up and pay attention…
Yes, the move can be scary, but if it is what you want to do, don’t let your insecurities hold you back. Beverley from Pack Your Passport, who spent two years living and working in Australia, says that taking the plunge is worth it:
“If you’re considering trying out expat life in Australia my piece of advice is GO. Just go. Go on a working holiday visa if you’re under 30. Try and get a job there and go. Go sit on the beach and just be. Go get lost in a new city. Go and live there for as long as you can. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t regret it!”
It’s Not All a Bed of Roses
Of course, as with every good adventure, the move to Australia is bound to come with some challenges. That’s not to say that they can’t be overcome, though. With a little research and clever planning, you can sidestep the pitfalls that can catch out some newcomers.
First, make sure you have enough money to move. As Russell J Ward from insearchofalifelessordinary.com reveals, living in Sydney can be a strain on the wallet:
“It’s expensive here. As the world’s third most expensive city, Sydney’s cost of living is sky-high. I always felt that life in the UK was fairly pricey but, after moving to Sydney, I quickly realised that life here would never be cheap.”
Even though Australia may never be the cheapest place to live, knowledge is power. As Annabel from Get in the Hotspot points out, life will be a lot easier for those who are willing to do their homework:
“There’s no excuse for not doing your research before moving somewhere by visiting real estate sites to find out the cost of renting or buying property and checking supermarket sites to see how much your weekly groceries will cost. Australia is expensive so find out what work you can do and how high your expenses will be. If you do your research before you come and know what to expect then you’ll be able to make it work once you do get here.”
Also make sure that you are prepared to support yourself while you find a job. Gaëlle from My Overseas Discoveries (no longer available) says that finding a job was one of the most difficult aspects of making the move, so be realistic about your expectations of landing a job and prepare financially:
“I had been told that finding a job in Australia is not as easy as it looks on French TV documentaries, and that it can take some time before landing my first job. That is true. But because I believe to be very resourceful, and that is not my first overseas’ experience, I thought I would be quicker and more efficient than everyone else. That was a big mistake.”
Build a Support Group
Despite these difficulties, Gaëlle has made a great group of friends that have made her Australian experience incredibly rewarding. Once you land in Australia, it is really important to get yourself out there in the community and start building of network of friends that will really make your stay worthwhile.
“I love meeting people and networking,” she says. “Once I landed in Melbourne, I started to attend internations events. Internations is an online platform for the expat community. They have gatherings once or twice a month and that is a great way to network. I met most of my friends there. There are also the couchsurfing events. And meetups. With all these events my social life is actually quite busy! I now have a good bunch of friends that makes me feel home here, and I am always willing to meet more people.”
Russell agrees that the best way to settle into Australian life is to meet as many people as you can: “To integrate in Australia, I put myself out there. I join clubs in the area and go out of my way to make an effort with people in the workplace. These are the most likely places where I’ll find and meet people with similar interests. Integrating in my new home means embracing my surroundings – other people pick up on this attitude and will usually strike up conversations with me and welcome me into their world.”
Lauren, who runs sydneymovingguide.com, said that expat meetups were a lifeline when she first arrived in Australia:
“Settling into life as an expat in Australia can be difficult at first. There’s a lot of new things to get used to: new country, new job, new apartment, new lifestyle. It can all be overwhelming. It took months until I felt settled into a “normal” routine. The one thing that made it all easier was reaching out to other expats in Sydney.
“At first it felt awkward, going to an expat meetup, not knowing anyone but soon I realized that everyone was just like me, reaching out trying to make new friends plus just as excited about living in Sydney as I was. In fact, a few of the people I met at my very first expat meetup are now my closest friends.
“I would definitely recommend looking for expat groups from your country, wherever you moved to in Australia. Other expats are also your best resource of information. They have all the same questions you do but, most of the time, they also have the answers. “
Moving to Australia is a big decision, and not one to be taken lightly. It’s an expensive place to live, and finding work may be difficult at first, but if you get out there and meet new people, you will settle into Australian life in no time!