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Kerstin Höfner, Manly

Who are you?

I am a traveler, explorer, a true seeker, always searching for the bigger, better and more fulfilling in life. I am lucky enough to call the Northern Beaches my home and the ocean my backyard. I have found my true home in Manly, this is where I belong.Where, when and why did you move abroad?

After living in Berlin for about six years, I felt I was ready for a new challenge. I quit my job, rented out my apartment and looked for where to go. Having traveled Australia a few years before, I was lucky enough to be eligible for the second holiday visa, which made the decision to come back very easy. I moved to Australia November 2013 and never been happier about a decision. 🙂

What challenges did you face during the move?

I was very lucky. I had organized a job via Skype prior to my move and found friends through work and the expat community in Manly very quickly. The things I found most challenging were the paperwork around corporate life (how does super work, how much tax do I pay, what is the leave process in my new company) as well as “life admin” as I call it (where do I get my parking permit, how can I apply for an Australian driver’s license) and getting accustomed to different rules and law – ie. no drinks in the park? Lockout hours?

Are there many other expats in your area?

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I have met a lot of expats in Manly. Mainly English people, but my group of friends is very multicultural (German, English, American, Brazilian, Mexican, and Swedish). I found meetups very helpful as it brought together people in the same situation. I met a lot of my closest friends through a volleyball event on meetups and although we all don’t go anymore, we are very thankful for this initiative which brought us together.

What do you like about life where you are?

I love the sound of the ocean, the peaceful and quiet beaches, good coffee shops and friendly people around. My life has become quieter and more relaxed since I moved to Australia – and I quite like it! I am very thankful and grateful for where I am as I know I am lucky, I have got a job and live where other people go for a holiday.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

The only bit that I am not happy about is the distance – home is far away and I miss my friends and family a lot.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

People in Australia are generally more relaxed and seem to care a bit more about work-life balance. The drinking habits are quite different (in Australia, people don’t eat with drinks, they go out for drinks whereas in Germany, drinking is done with food. Booze is an accompaniment, not an objective). In OZ, people go shopping in their gym clothes and wear thongs on their way to work – I love that, in Germany people think too much about what other people might think or how you look like in that moment.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Follow your heart, not what people say, think or try to make you want.

What are your plans for the future?

Let’s see how things are going with the PR application…

You can keep up to date with Kerstin's adventures on her website, My Manly Blog.

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