InterNations Featured Blog
Sarah: Mum's Gone 2 aus
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Australia, etc.
Sarah Husselmann – I am a freelance writer who moved from London to Sydney in January 2010 with my husband and two children. We have a permanent resident visa to live and work in Australia. By husband is originally from South Africa and I am British.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging because I am a freelance writer and I wanted to keep writing whilst I built up contacts and tried to find work in Australia. I was surprised by how much information I needed when we first arrived in Australia and how tricky it was to find some of the baby and family related information such as baby formula and nappy brand information. I wanted a central place to go to get all the information I needed. Because I couldn’t find this central resource for myself I decided to set something up and decided a blog was the best way to do it. It meant I could write, share valuable information and make some money on the side.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours (please insert URL as well)?
Top five Mum’s gone 2 Aus blog entries:
- Relocating as a stay at home mum (SAHM) is tough – I like this one because so many mums commented to say they feel the same as I did \ do
- What did you give up to move to Australia? – I also like this one because others empathized with what I was going through. I also think it’s important to share this type of information as I didn’t appreciate I would feel like this when we were planning our move
- Opening a bank account in Australia – which bank and when to open your account – I’m proud of this article because it demonstrates all the reasons why I wanted to set up the blog – to provide information, share our experiences, create discussion and make me a little money!
- A Smooth Switch to Australian Schooling – as well as the blog posts I have co-authored two ebooks. I am particularly pleased with our Australian education ebook which has received very positive feedback. Invaluable if you’re relocating to Australia with school age children.
- Australian cost of living figures: can you afford to live in Australia? – a very recent article that covers a critical question for families relocating to Australia. I think this is another article that demonstrates the unique value of Mum’s gone 2 Aus: information, experience and discussion.
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 was surprised by how much there was to get used to about life in Australia; coming from the UK you assume the transition is going to be easy but it isn’t. Language and vocabulary used in Australia is quite different to the UK so you often end up with misunderstanding. I found shopping a major challenge when we first arrive because everything seemed so expensive and I didn’t know the best value brands to buy.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Australia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
We weren’t very prepared about the finer details of life in Australia. We arrived in January without work and found the job market very slow. I now realize that January is the worst time to be looking for work (school holidays, Christmas break, Australia Day); it picks up in March so we would have been better arriving then.
We kept our hire car for six weeks because we couldn’t decide what car to buy; that wasted a lot of money. We should have bought a cheap run around as soon as we arrived and upgraded later.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
When we arrived in Sydney we were staying at Unit 1, Number 15 Dundas Street. The Australian address format represents this as 1/15 Dundas Street. I didn’t know this and the computer printout I had removed the “/”. We arrived at 7am looking for 115 Dundas Street and managed to wake the entire neighborhood before finding our short term rental property. We got there in the end because we’d caused such a commotion that the agent meeting us came out to find out what was going on!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Australia?
- If you’re arriving in Australia without work the best time to arrive is March – May. Don’t arrive in Dec /Jan unless you have loads of savings to keep you going!
- Unless it’s only for a few weeks, don’t waste money on car hire; buy a cheap second hand car.
- Put a few treats and familiar items (toiletries, new clothes) in your shipping, once it catches up with you you’ll have forgotten you did it and really enjoy them!
How is the expat community in Australia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I don’t necessarily consider myself an expat because that makes my life in Australia sound temporary. I’m a new Australian resident. That said, I meet people from all over the world who are also making Australia their new home. I love how multicultural Sydney is and how open people are to talk and share stories about their relocation. I also find that Aussies are well-travelled and have often spent time overseas so they’re sympathetic about the challenges of settling in a new country and city and always very helpful and understanding.
How would you summarize your expat life in Australia in a single, catchy sentence?
If you enjoy the buzz of the city and a beach lifestyle Sydney ticks all the boxes.