Ryan and Laura: When in OZ
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Melbourne, etc.
G’day! We’re Ryan and Laura. We’re newlyweds from Iowa in the United States and we’re currently living in Melbourne, Australia.
We came to Melbourne about a year ago when Ryan’s company in the US offered him an assignment in their Melbourne office.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
We started the blog in early June of last year. We wanted to share our experiences with our friends and family and we also wanted to provide a helpful resource to other expats or those considering coming abroad. We think personal experiences and anecdotes can be extremely helpful. If anything, we’re saying to other expats, “We’ve been there.” Or “We’re in this together.”
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I really like our post about Australian coffee since it’s such a way of life in Australia.
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?
Melbourne was a perfect place for us to land because it’s so similar to back home. We’re doing the same types of things we’ve done before; cooking together, going to the gym, movies, traveling, seeing friends, etc.
There wasn’t a ton of culture shock but something we found interesting was that everyone is super positive and effusive. We actually wrote a blog post about this. Everything is always “lovely,” “gorgeous,” and all the positivity was a little strange at the beginning. But it’s a good cultural thing…just took some getting used to.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Melbourne? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I think we were prepared. There are always things that pop up here and there that even planners like ourselves couldn’t anticipate or cover it all. So at risk of sounding cliché, we wouldn’t change a thing. It’s all part of what has made the experience as wonderful as it is.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Melbourne?
- Be realistic about what you want and what you’ll get from the experience.
- Network with other expats for a bit of home and camaraderie but make efforts to make Australian friends. It’s the best way to make it “home” or, at the very least, a close substitute.
- Know that you won’t love everything everyday. You’ll be homesick some days and you’ll think Australia is just about the greatest thing since sliced bread other days.
- Embrace the experience.
How is the expat community in Melbourne? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
The expat community is great. Our blog has been a great way to meet people. We’ve also had some success with Meetup.com. There is a pretty active expat community in Melbourne and it’s all about being open to meeting new people with which you have something in common; expatriation status, love of cooking, reading, whatever!
How would you summarize your expat life in Melbourne in a single, catchy sentence?
Midwest newlyweds travel to the southern half of hemisphere and discover anything from dingoes to domestic bliss in their expat adventure down-under.