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Julie: fivedownunder

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Melbourne makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Melbourne, etc.

I met my Australian husband 17 years ago when I was backpacking through Australia. He followed me to the US where we married and had three kids. After 14 years of living in my hometown of Chicago, we decided we wanted our children to have the experience of living outside of the US for a few years while they were young. We moved to Melbourne in January 2012.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

I started blogging when we were in the final stages of packing up our lives in the US. At first I began blogging as a way to keep friends and family in touch with our experiences, but it has also evolved into a way for me to express myself and provide guidance and information to others.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

Tell us about the ways your new life in Melbourne differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

In some ways, we have just exchanged a suburb of Chicago for a suburb of Melbourne. I also think that I had visited Australia enough before we moved here that I wasn’t so struck by the differences when we did finally move here.  If I am going to experience culture shock, it hasn’t happened yet.

That being said, I am well aware that I am looking at life here through a different lens than someone who has grown up here. I still find the differences novel.

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Melbourne? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

We came without jobs and found the job market much more difficult than we thought it would be. Melbourne is a town with a heavy emphasis on personal connections. If we could have a “do-over”, we would have worked on building our networks much earlier before we moved.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

I can’t think of a specific incident (I probably got a lot of them out of the way long on previous trips here). But I guess I would go back to our car-buying experience (see question #3).

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Melbourne?

  • Clothes are expensive here. Bring plenty of warm layering items as Melbourne’s weather can change in an instant and can be quite cool and rainy.  Layer, layer, layer.
  • Be sure to bring plenty of personal memories. Your new home will feel more like a home if you fill it with photos of friends and family you have left behind.
  • Try not to focus on what you miss from home; many expat stays are temporary- take advantage of your time here. You don’t want to leave wishing you had done more.

How is the expat community in Melbourne? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

I find that there are numerous of groups and ways to locate fellow expats if you want to. I find I try to balance my time with ex-pats (which can be comforting and provide good resources) with getting to know the locals.

How would you summarize your expat life in Melbourne in a single, catchy sentence?

No promises on “catchy”, but…

We love exploring this amazing city as a family and uncovering what it means to live “down under”.

Alain Nguyen

"It was easier getting to know other expatriates in Melbourne with this platform and to share our previous experiences in Australia. "

Samantha Greene

"I love the idea of going out with other expats here in Melbourne and exploring the nightlife this city has to offer. "

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