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Adam and Sharon: The View Down Under

Expanding on the idea of the “classical” expat blog with its anecdotes and thoughts on expat life and incorporating useful tools such as a guide on moving to Sydney, The View Down Under, run by Adam and Sharon, should be on the reading list of anyone interested in going to Sydney as an expat.

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

I’m originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Sharon grew up in Tampa, Florida. We met in New York City about six years ago. She worked for a number of fashion companies like Calvin Klein and Escada and I was working for a technology consulting firm owned by Accenture. A colleague from Accenture relocated to Sydney about two years ago and sent me a message one night saying “Do you want to come live and work in Australia?” Sharon and I had never been to Australia, but living abroad was on our to-do list, and since everyone always raves about the country, we decided to move sight unseen. We’ve been here for about a year and a half now and got married on New Year’s Eve.

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

As soon as we decided to move to Australia, we knew we wanted to blog about it as a way to keep friends and family back home updated on our adventures and to help others who might move or travel to Australia.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours (please insert URL as well)?

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

We didn’t experience much of a culture shock – we always say Australia is like the love child of England and America, culturally speaking. We see the DNA of both cultures here. So, coming from the States, things are familiar, but just different enough to throw you off occasionally. It’s the little things that we weren’t used to, like shops shutting down at 5 or 6 PM, except on Thursdays. Or figuring out the metric system.

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

I think we were as prepared as we could be. And fortunately we had some friends of friends over here that we could connect with when we landed. I think moving abroad is one of those things that you can never fully prepare for; you just have to jump in.

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

Our first Thanksgiving here, we were tasked with finding pumpkin pie to bring to a friend’s house. This is what happened.

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

  • This place is seriously expensive (#7 in the world according to the Economist) so make sure you do your homework on what you’ll need to live comfortably here.
  • Rent is listed by week, so to get the full month’s rent you need to multiply by 52 and then divide by 12 – that caught us off guard.
  • If you don’t live along a train route or major bus route and work in the city, get a car. It will make life so much easier and there are a lot of great day trips from Sydney that require some wheels. We broke down and got a car a couple months ago and wish we did it when we first got here.

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

There is a huge and vibrant community of expats here for all nationalities. I’ve got some French friends who are always attending French cinema events, music events, etc. together. Even tiny Netherlands has 30,000 expats in the Sydney area alone.

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

More beer than is healthy, more beaches than you can possibly visit, and–unfortunately—no kangaroos hopping around.

Serhat Ahmed

"Without experience of having lived abroad, I thought it would be hard to get to know other expats. But not with InterNations."

Lotta Koskinen

"When I first attended the Sydney Bar night I was really nervous. But everyone welcomed me and I quickly felt as part of the community."

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