11 Dec Expat Life in Australia.
I’m fast approaching my 5th year in Australia since moving out from the UK. And honestly, I have never once looked back. I still love England (dearly), but for now I’m settled in Australia and more than happy to trade under the name; Expat.
So, why do I stay in Australia?
A lot of people, especially friends at home, ask me what drives me to stay in Australia? At first it was the sun. But then I got burnt. It didn’t take long to realise it was the lifestyle that had gripped me.
- Endless beaches (I went to 84 beaches in my first year)
- Great people
- Weekends away in paradise
- Great job opportunities
- One of the best work/life balance countries in the world
- Amazing activities
- Not to mention a super strong $AU.
At the time of my arrival in 2008, the world was in a financial crisis and yet Australia felt safe. Today I see a long term bright future for Australia, with its plentiful resources, space and growing economy. It is with these points in-mind that I would love to have kids here.
Is there anything I don’t like?
There are a few things. But they are more so little annoyances (#1stWorldProblems) than anything else. I have the up-most respect for this country and all who live here. I’d like to think I’m not the stereotypical whinging POME, so here are my gripes and how I currently get around them.
- Transferring money home. It can be very expensive at times to transfer AUD$ to the UK with the terrible bank exchange rates and transaction charges on top. At times the banking can be a little primitive, but I guess the size the country and its low population can potentially justify the charges.
A tip for expat newbies, Western Union is currently running a promotion that allows you to send money to the UK with no transfer fee. I recently tried the service to send my spending money back to the UK ahead of my upcoming Christmas trip home. It was fast and certainly the cheapest way I found to send money home this season. Below are summary of the Western union rates versus the big 4 banks:
Exchange rate to send $100 to UK (all rates correct as at 11am, 19th Nov 2012)
WU = 0.6248
Westpac = 0.6203
ANZ = 0.6189
CBA = 0.6191
NAB = 0.6202
- Flight Taxes.It cost on average 30% more to book a flight to London to Sydney from Australia than it does within England.A tip for expat newbies, check out FlightFox. A concept similar to 99Designs where numerous people compete for your business. It costs $20 and they guarantee to find you the best deal. Alternatively, look at Adioso, a flight search engine which watches for when flights drop
- Driving. I won’t get myself started on this one…
- Private Health insurance.If you are a Brit or any non-permanent resident you will be subject to pay a 50-60% higher premium on your health insurance. It’s unfortunately standard, but I highly recommend you take up health insurance.A tip for expat newbies, shop around. NIB Health insurance and BUPA Health Insurance are pretty good. There are a few comparison sites too.
Well, I’m hopefully starting my application for PR very soon. Which will let me stay here for good. So, fingers crossed & *touch wood* that myself and my lady Morgan get it. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to live Australia.