InterNations Featured Blog
Lauren: The Life That Broke
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Australia, etc.
I grew up at the Jersey Shore before moving to Philadelphia at 18. I lived there for nine years before coming to Australia on a work and holiday visa in January 2010.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started my blog right before I applied for the work and holiday visa to Australia. I was in a very transitory place in my life and I wanted to document it. When I came to Sydney, the focus shifted more to my experiences travelling and adapting to life abroad.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours ?
- Moving Abroad Has Made Me Bitchier
- 3 Things Angry Birds Has Taught Me About Myself
- Notes About Turning 30
- New Zealand: Big Mountains, Tiny Towns
Tell us about the ways your new life in Australia differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I had no culture shock, but I had to get used to different lingo, such as arvo, cheers, mate, no worries, etc. I find people on the whole more pleasant here but also sometimes more aloof. I’m from the East Coast, where people do everything fast; it’s not like that here. Even for a city, I find Sydney so much slower-paced. Shops and restaurants close early and some places aren’t open on weekends. I think having less convenience is a thing I’ve had to get used to.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Australia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
The one thing I was not prepared for was the cost. I moved here as Sydney was becoming one of the Top 10 most expensive cities in the world. I had also just started a full-time freelance writing career, so I had to keep my budget really tight. In reality, I should have saved more before I moved.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I think anything related to showing my American patriotism turns out pretty hilariously. My first year, a bunch of us went to the pub to watch America play England in the soccer world cup. The game didn’t start till 4 a.m. We were decked out in Uncle Sam hats and funny headbands with red stars, wore American flags as capes and put stickers on our faces. We were totally obnoxious, but it was awesome, especially going home as the sun was rising.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Australia?
- Save as much as you can
- Prepare yourself for a slower pace, especially if you’re from America
- Get out there and travel in short bursts when you can -- there’s a lot to see. Don’t get stuck in Sydney or Melbourne drinking your weekends away. Australia is gorgeous -- explore it.
How is the expat community in Australia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Most of my close friends are other expats. I found them through a mix of social groups related to travel and being an expat in addition to my American fiancé, who I met here.
How would you summarize your expat life in Australia in a single, catchy sentence?
It started a bit crazy and chaotic as I discovered the full picture of who I was and evolved into exactly the life I wanted.