Yesterday, 21 September 2015, was the exact day I arrived in Sydney, Australia, a year ago. A year that flew like crazy. And every day I am reminding myself how lucky I am to live here.
This is also the opportunity to go back on this year full of adventures, emotions and discovers. Here is a general overview of my feelings after one year and hopefully this will inspire some people to move here or just visit this beautiful country! !
1. I adapted to a different lifestyle
Coming to Australia is adapting to a new life. I was already familiar with the Australian culture, I knew Sydney centre pretty well but I am learning new things every day. Being with my Aussie boyfriend, it sure made it easier. But still, my goal was to really immerse myself into the local culture and avoid speaking French or seeing too much other French people. It is quite crazy how many French people are living in Sydney! I still have few French friends but most of them are international or Australian.
I adapted to a different way of speaking English (aka UK way, not US way), to a new currency, to a new way of eating and even sometimes dressing (yes it gets to that point). Just a different way of living my life where I am still looking for myself (I’m still young eh.)
What’s funny is that Australians absolutely love french people and especially the Parisian style. But for me it is the opposite, I love the Australian way of life. In my opinion, I feel like that the lifestyle in Sydney is a lot closer to the nature and a lot healthier.
And I feel so fine with it.
2. I found work
Ah finding work in Australia! You hear everything and nothing about it as an expat: “this is paradise to find work compared to France,” “the economy is slowing down,” “it is impossible to find work now, too much competition.” And it goes on. There is no secret to find a job here, it can be hard like everywhere. But there are things to know and do.
All depends from what experience you had before and your visa situation. For me, I absolutely wanted to find a job in my field.
Except this amazing opportunity didn't fall from the sky. The first months were not the easiest as I had to apply to a lot of jobs before getting the right fit. I finally got a job in some administration company but it was no great interest. However, I still took it as a positive experience and it also gave me the opportunity and determination to get another job - which was the right one. It has now been seven months I am working in the same company and I am very lucky I got opportunities to progress.
To get there, I showed what Australians employers like: determination, quick, precise and quality work. The market here is very flexible, one can be hired or fired in a few days. You need to be able to show your skills and be bold. I also think that professional experience is more praised than studies (you still need to have at least a bachelor, but not necessarily a master's degree.) Then it also depends of the field.
What I would definitely say is that once you have a foot somewhere and you are motivated, this should be the beginning of a great professional adventure.
3. I embraced the best of Sydney - and the worst
Yes I confirm, Australia is an amazing and beautiful country to live in. To my opinion, Sydney is the perfect mix with the city, the coast with hundreds of stunning beaches, mountains in the west and many national natural parks around. I also think it has a great culture development and is getting more and more interesting with festivals and exhibits.
However few things are not easy. Accommodation in Sydney is very competitive and expensive. And the public transportation in Sydney can be quickly overwhelming and annoying - which is quite worrying for the future.
Trains are ok and usually on time - except in peak hour where you struggle to get in a wagon. But the worst are the buses, on time sometime, stopping sometimes… It depends which line but they are usually really slow. Driving with the traffic is not better but I think having a car here makes life a lot easier.
I really want to get a second-hand car in the next few months because I really don’t want to be dependant of the public transportation anymore. I want to be able to drive anywhere, whenever in the week or on adventures in the weekend. Not take 2 hours or bus when I can do 50 minutes. Even if I have to pay..
Other than that, food in Sydney can be expensive but is really good! The mix of food you can find here is amazing. All countries are represented. There are lots of cool places to go it in the day or at night and have drinks. Australians like to party but unfortunately since the lock-out laws in Sydney CBD, it seems like Sydney nights are not as fun. Australians are also starting their night very early - from 7pm to 2am generally.
4. I travelled - not enough
Travels and adventures are continuous in here. Only in New South Wales, you can find thousands of little and big trips. Even just around Sydney is amazing, there is always something to discover.
It is also for all kind of budget but you do have to know that travelling in Australia decently can be quite expensive. Especially for accommodation and transport. Distances can be impressive compared to other countries but here to drive 5 or 6 hours is not a problem. Even myself, I got used very quickly to it and I won’t mind driving for 6 hours straight - hopefully with someone else!
There is so much to discover around here that even Australians didn’t see half of their country. They love to travel around in Asia, Europe and USA. My next trips should be around NSW, the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne and Tasmania. I am very excited as it is not always easy to take days off from work! I also hope to visit next year New Zealand and more of Asia.
6. I made new friends
Australian people are very welcoming and open. They love French people, I’ve never seen an Aussie complaining about the french community as some would think. But Sydney is a very young and dynamic city, maybe opinions are different in other parts of Australia. Getting new friends is not that hard, as so many young people from all over the world are coming to Australia. We all have common points. But I think lots of internationals and mainly Europeans don’t know enough Australians. The best is to have a great mix of friends from Australia and all over the world. Multiculturalism is amazing, believe me!
6. I’m looking forward to the future
Here we go, one year in Australia gone and I can’t believe it was so fast. And the months are going faster and faster, it is almost scary! As I’ve applied for another visa with my boyfriend, I count on staying in Australia for a long time. No need to ask me “when I plan to go back to France” because I have no plans and I don’t know what will happen. One sure thing, I love it here and I think it is the beginning of a great adventure - professionally and personally. I still have lots to explore and to travel. I really want to continue travelling the world but I can say that I now call Australia and Sydney home.
I never got this weird feeling before of leaving a city but always wanting to come back to it. (Well, I had it since my first visit here in 2007!) I will of course always miss a part of France with my family, friends and GOOD BREAD haha. But I’d rather go back to my country to enjoy it as a tourist!
There is so much to say about this past year, I could make a book about it. This is of course just my general opinion. If you have any questions or need tips on moving to Australia, don’t hesitate to message me.
In the meantime, happy Australian anniversary to me!
The Frenchie - Marine