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Sylvia: Oh Sunny Mornings!

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 Sydney 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 Sydney, etc.

Born to a Singaporean dad and Indonesian mom, I grew up in the beautiful garden city of Singapore and left for glittery Tokyo, where I spent the last 7 years studying Japanese and working in Finance. In late 2010, I uprooted myself again to pursue an MBA in France and late last year the whirlwind of life brought me back to the sunny island where everything began. The adventure did not stop here however. I journeyed on to Malaysia for a work assignment early this year and a month ago found my way down under to Sydney, where I would embark a new chapter of my life. I speak fluently English, Mandarin, Japanese and French and basic Indonesian. Mad about traveling and exploring new worlds, I've been to over 20 different countries in Asia and Europe and still can't get enough! I'm also an avid reader and I enjoy cooking and trying out recipes of different cuisines and sharing them on my blog

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

I first started blogging 2-3 years back in Tokyo because I needed an outlet from my work, which revolved around a lot of numbers and days where I basically analyzed each number till I "paralyzed". It began with a few posts of my life in Japan, my favorite food/books/music/movies/poems, little things that made me happy and the more than occasional random thoughts. Over the course of several posts here and there, I got connected to a whole community of amazing bloggers and readers, who share similar interests and schools of thoughts. They are one of my biggest cheerleaders in keeping me writing and my blog going.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

I’m a big fan of traveling and cooking and couldn’t resist sharing my experiences here below:

I also enjoy writing about my life in Japan and here are some of my favorite posts on this ever-fascinating country:

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?

In many ways, my new life in Sydney is similar yet different to my life back in Tokyo, Singapore and France. Like Tokyo, the city is modern and buzzling with cultural and fun activities and events all the time. There’s rarely a boring weekend or weekday night in this city! Like in France, I get to enjoy great work life balance in here and I really appreciate it. Having lived in different countries before coming here, I found Sydney extremely easy to settle in and I’ve only had positive culture “shocks” to date. The people I met here so far have all been incredibly friendly, down-to-earth and kind. It’s hard not to feel at home already!

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 was definitely not fully prepared for my new life chapter here. In fact, I believe that it’s impossible to be completely ready until one is here and embracing firsthand the experiences that await him/her here. I’ve met many great people who gave me lots of advice and tips on settling in. While it would help to know certain information beforehand, I don’t think there’s anything major I wish I could change.

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

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I have not lived in Sydney long enough to experience funny incidents. I’ll certainly share it on my blog when I encounter any in the future

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

The very first tip would definitely be to check out the forum, guide and activities on Internations. It’s a great starting point to get acquainted with the city and meet other expats and Australians. Another good thing to do would be to make as many Australian friends as possible. Nothing beats local advice, insights, tips and recommendations on settling in, traveling and exploring the country, dining out and partying in Sydney and more. With the help of your local friends, you would develop a good understanding of the local culture and assimilate seamlessly into your new environment. Lastly, embrace and experience the great outdoor life here in Australia! Many Australians are into outdoor sports. If you’re not a sporty person, now is the perfect time to try surfing, sailing, cricket, bushwalking and more. :)

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

I found the expat community in Sydney extremely supportive and friendly. It was definitely not hard to find like-minded people, who share similar interests and international experiences.

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

There’s everything for everyone here in Sydney – the Opera House, incredible beaches at Bondi, Coogee and Manly, great cafes and restaurants in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills, cool art galleries at The Rocks, George Street with every brand there is under the sun, Blue Mountains, Botanic Gardens, Centennial Park and Hyde Park for nature lovers and of course, amazing weather almost all year round!

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."

Global Expat Guide