“Why did you move to Australia?”
I get asked this question a lot when I go back home to Seattle for a visit.
The easy answer is “that’s where the job offer was” but what really made us decide to move was everyone we had talked to that had been to Sydney LOVED IT.
Not just a “yeah, Sydney, it’s pretty cool” but more of a “Oh my God, Sydney is awesome! It’s gorgeous there.”
When we asked if they would move to Sydney the response was always “In a heartbeat!”.
Warning: You may never return home.
That might sound extreme, but it’s true.
I’ve met several expats who originally arrived in Australia as backpackers on holiday, now 10 years later they're Australian citizens and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
I have two friends who were originally American expats on Temporary Skill Shortage Visas (TSS Visa). Both went home after 4 years only to return to Sydney a year and a half later.
They missed it that much.
Consider yourself warned. Those who fall in love with Sydney usually fall HARD.
Benefits to living in Australia as an American expat
The truth is Australia is an easy country to move to and live as an expat in, especially if you are from North America or the UK.
Of course one of the main reasons is that you already speak the language even though Australian English is different from American English, you’ll get the swing of it in no time.
There are so many logistical parts to moving to Australia (or just overseas in general) that speaking your native language makes things much easier and less stressful.
I am not saying it will be stress free but just easier.
When you get here you will have to find an apartment or house to rent, settle in at work, open a bank account, get your internet and mobile phones set up and so much more.
Being fluent in English is a definite bonus for newly arriving immigrants and expats.
Large Population of Migrants in Australia
The Australian government continually encourages people to immigrate to Australia for work or school.
Part of this encouragement means that you won't be alone. In fact the migrant population in Australia continually rises by an impressive percentage every year.
In 2011, ABC News reported that there were 6 million migrants living in Australia. That number has only grown since then.
Majority of newly arriving migrants settle in New South Wales, mostly in Sydney. It is not uncommon to hear Italian, French, Portuguese or German spoken when walking through the city.
The large migrant population gives Sydney a distinct international flair not found in other large cities.
Sydneysiders are usually very welcoming and accommodating to foreigners.
I enjoy watching the evening news in French, even though I don't understand a word it's interesting to see world news from a different perspective, followed by an Austrian TV show about a police dog that solves crimes.
It is not the best cop show on TV but the fact that it’s in German makes it a novelty to me, definitely not something I would see on TV back home in the States.
Expat Support Network
The large population of expats in Australia makes it easy to make new friends and meet others who are also new to the city. I recommend checking out a couple of the expat groups, either the large international groups or one from your home country.
Other expats are a great resource for any questions you may have while living in Australia. Check out our list of expat groups or do a quick Google search to find others.
Also do a search on Facebook for expat groups from your home country.
Ready to Get Started with Your Move to Australia?
Australia Moving Checklist
39 pages, packed full of resources you need to kick start your move to Australia. Plus invite-only access to my Private Facebook Group with over 2,300 members. The group is a great place to get answers to all your questions, from visa applications to moving with pets and schools.
Lock-In Your Exchange Rate
Did you know the Australian dollar is a commodity currency? This means the value of the Australian dollar is linked to the price of iron ore and other Australian exports. It also means that it's HIGHLY VOLATILE! When a good rate comes along, you need to be ready to jump on it and lock-in that exchange rate.
Have You Started Packing Yet?
No, not yet? Still got several months to go? Ok, but have you at least started thinking about what you're taking? Maybe even started a list? The truth is you don’t need to know what's going with you before getting your shipping quote. Why? Scheduling a shipment to Australia can take as long as 6 months.
Open Your Bank Account
In 5 minutes or less, you can open both a checking and savings account BEFORE you move to Australia. There are only 3 things you need to get started.
1. Your passport and visa details.
2. Know where you're going to live.
3. Be arriving within the next 3 months.