I interviewed a friend of mine, Dawn, to find out how her life has changed since moving from the states to Australia where she has been living for years.
1) Did you make your initial move to Australia to attend The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology?
Kind of, but only due to the fact that I met an Aussie boy in the States, and we wanted to move to Australia. I was needing to finish my degree, and decided to do it in Australia. It was a great way to try out a new country, without making the permanent move straight away.
2) Did you plan on staying there for a few years and then moving back to the states?
I think I always knew that I would end up staying in Australia, but was really just taking it year by year here.
3) Did you plan on making this a more permanent move?
Once I got my two degrees, and knew that my relationship was going to be permanent, I went for residency and then citizenship.
4) Did you have any concerns before making the big move from the states to Australia?
Not really, it never really mattered where I lived, so long as I was happy and enjoying myself. I like living in more rural settings, not really being a city girl. So where ever there was hills, trees and the possibility of skiing, I was pretty happy. The hardest part is being so far away from friends and family in the States. And I do miss Lake Tahoe and Yosemite very much.
5) Would you consider yourself a local now that you have lived in Victoria for years?
Yep, I really feel that I tried to learn as much as I could about Victoria and Australia, even more than some of the native Aussies at times. I can get around very easily, having traveled a lot for my job, I know how all of the systems work, and I have accepted my new way of life.
6) Are you still immersing yourself into the different culture that it has to offer?
Absolutely! Australia is the country of the long weekend. There are soooo many holidays here, and I love this! We do things like Australia Day BBQs, long weekend camping trips, and comparing cultures with everyone to see who has the best things to offer.
7) Are you still learning new things and finding new adventures around the corner of the place you now call home?
Yep, there is so much of Australia to see and so much to get your head around, that it is a constant learning experience for me I think. There are still lots of the popular tourist attractions that I haven’t been to after nearly 15 years in the country, that are still on the list to do. I usually wait for a visiting family member or friend from back home to come over, as an excuse to do these activities.
8 ) What hidden gems of the country you have adopted as your own could you share with someone who has never been there?
Don’t take life too seriously, and be ok in laughing at yourself. Aussies like to laugh at themselves and others, not in an offensive way, but in a down to earth way. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things, just because you haven’t done something back in your home country, or it is different, give it a try. Life is too short not to experience everything, and to see how other people live. Sometimes you have to get down and dirty with something to fully understand it. Don’t be too proper or worry about what others may think, you won’t have as much fun!
9) Any places you would recommend that visitors may not find in a guidebook?
There are so many beautiful places in Victoria. You will read about the wine country and the Great Ocean Road, and these are beautiful places; but there are so many more in the small gold field towns, and in the Victorian Alps that you can get lost in. Melbourne and the typical tourist hits are great, but get yourself a bit further out and really enjoy the Australian way, and the REAL Australian way of life.
10) Any advice you can give someone who is considering moving from one country to another?
Remember that in moving to another country, you will need to be ready for things not to be as you have been used to, and you have to accept that there will be a new way of doing things, finding things and in what is available to you. The last thing you want to do, especially as an American in a new country, is say “but that is not how it is in the US”.
It is not to say that you can’t enjoy the comforts of the mother country, as there are so many things that are similar in Australia to the US; but just be ready to do things and look at things a bit differently.
I have the best of both worlds in being a citizen of the USA and Australia!