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Sarah Husselmann, Sydney

I’m Sarah Husselmann, a British freelance writer, who moved from London to Sydney in January 2010. I relocated with my husband and two preschool children. Whilst settling the children into their new home, I’ve created a blog and website providing help for mums moving to Australia- Mum’s gone 2 Aus. I’ve been thrilled with the following it’s received and I’m happy to be helping families from all over the world with their relocation or visit to Australia.

Our decision to move to Australia took some time. My husband and I obtained permanent residency shortly after getting married but I got cold feet and didn’t want to leave the UK. I was concerned about missing my family.We had our children in London and as they got older felt we wanted to offer them a more outdoor lifestyle. We also didn’t want to keep wondering about Australia, and look back in years to come and wish we’d made the move.

What challenges did you face during the move?

We moved to Australia with two children, no jobs, and little support in Australia (we didn’t know many people). We arrived in January, which we now believe isn’t the best time. We don’t think businesses get back to normal until February, after the Christmas break and long school holidays.

My husband was immediately looking for work and the job market was slow. We had to stretch our savings to the limit. My husband only started work at the beginning of April. I felt helpless, as the children needed all my attention, but I wanted to help financially.

How did you find somewhere to live?

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We stayed in a short-term let (holiday-type apartment) for the first six weeks; it was fairly expensive ($1,000 per week) but worked out well. When we needed to move into a long term rental property we researched areas and prices online. We looked around 30+ properties before finding one we liked. We compromised on area to get more property for our money but we now prefer the area we’re in, in Sydney’s South-Eastern Suburbs.

Are there many other expats in your area?

Our area is very cosmopolitan. Many of our friends arrived in Australia or Sydney within the past few years.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

We live on a very neighbourly street. People are friendly, supportive and welcoming. Away from our immediate street and surrounding area we find most people understand the challenges of our move. At the moment, we have more expat friends than local but I can see that changing over time, and I think it’s quite typical in Sydney.

What do you like about life where you are?

I enjoy the slower, more laid back approach to life. I can’t believe I’m saying that as it’s taken me a while to adjust, and the slower pace frustrated me when we arrived from London. As a family, we love all the time we spend outdoors; at the beach, park, and playgrounds. Our days seem longer here because there’s so much to explore, and the weather usually allows us to stay out later.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

Being so far away from friends and family is the only thing I don’t like about living in Australia, although the time difference works much better than I expected. When we wake up, we speak to family in the UK before they go to bed. When friends in the UK wake up, they chat to us once our children are in bed.

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

I often read expat forum posts from people who are having cold feet about the move to Australia, and I can completely understand why. Moving overseas is a big thing. For people getting cold feet, I’d encourage them to go for it. It’s far better to get on with it and work through the challenges rather than imagine the worse.

I’d also suggest that people who move to Australia see it as a short term experiment. We said we were moving to Australia to see what it’s like and would decide after a few years whether we want to stay. Looking at things this way relieves some of the pressure for us, and friends and family. In the back of our minds we hope it’s going to work out and that we decide to stay, but it won’t be a disaster if we leave.

What are your plans for the future?

We like the suburb we’re living in and the way of life, so hope to stay here. We’d like to buy property and explore the rest of NSW and Australia. I’d like to develop and expand my blog, and continue to help mums moving to Australia!

Mum’s gone 2 Aus is a blog providing help for mums moving to Australia. The aim of the site is to inspire, support, and entertain mums who would like to, or do already, live in Australia. Articles cover topics such as health, education and childcare, buying nappies and baby food, Australian customs and traditions, and some of the more quirky aspects of life down under.

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