Making Such A Big Life Change And Doing It On My Own Has Been A Great Accomplishment.
Work and Travel Australia Participant Leah Shares her Story (Continued)
It’s been five months since I arrived in Australia. I honestly couldn’t be happier with my decision to join the Work Experience Australia program. Some people back home think I’m crazy for moving across the world, and others have told me they wish they could do the same. As soon as I got here, I started my job and also started looking for housing. I ended up staying in a hostel for a month while waiting to move into my apartment. I met amazing friends in the hostel from all over the world and am still great friends with some of those people today. Finding housing was a bit difficult, but there are sites like Gumtree, and realtor agents in the city that can assist you. I was very fortunate and was able to find an apartment on the busiest street of downtown Sydney; go figure dreams can come true! I quickly settled into the way of life here in Sydney, and honestly couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. I work 5-6 days a week, and still have plenty of time to explore the city, frequent the beaches, hang out with friends, and travel. Everything is more expensive in Sydney than other parts of the world, but the minimum wage for servers is much higher than the minimum wage in the United States, so it all evens out. The great thing about working in Australia is you are paid a lot more for working on Saturdays and Sundays! I am able to save some money while still having a great time!
Many people that I’ve met here did not go through any program and they managed to find a job and housing once they arrived. However, most of them were incredibly stressed because their bank accounts were consistently decreasing since moving here, whereas I was making money a couple days after arriving. Personally, not having housing figured out when I moved here stressed me out enough, I couldn’t imagine not having a job to financially support myself, in addition. Everyone seemed to manage though, taking their resumes/CV’s to different employers and hoping for the best. I guess it comes down to knowing your personality and what suits you best. I went through the 12-month program, so soon I’m going to start interviewing for my second job, which I will also have secured before moving to a new part of Australia! Since it will be Australia’s winter time then, I’m thinking about moving more northward toward the equator (can’t get enough of this warm weather), maybe somewhere like the Gold Coast! We will have to wait and see!
There’s just something about this place that is amazing. Everyone is friendly and nice, and there’s an overwhelming sense of security here. When the Sydney siege occurred, numerous AAG workers who live and work in Australia contacted me to make sure I was safe. It was great knowing that this program really cares about me. The best part about living in Sydney is meeting new people. I’ve become friends with people from England, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Canada, and many other places. At my job, I work with folks from Malaysia, China, South Africa, the Philippines, New Zealand, and of course Australia. Another great thing about being here is that there is such a backpacker and working holiday culture. By that I mean so many people are aged 18-30, doing the exact same thing as me! Everyone here is eager to make friends and have a great time in a brand new place. Every day I learn new lingo and I try to use it as much as possible. I’m trying to embrace everything here and appreciate it all every day because I know these next seven months are going to go by way too quickly.
If you are thinking even a little bit about moving abroad for 6-12 months, honestly you just need to do it. This was the best decision of my entire life (besides choosing UD for where to go to college) and I could not be happier. I did not know a single person in Australia when I moved here. It was absolutely terrifying, but also thrilling. Making such a big life change and doing it on my own has been a great accomplishment. I learn more and more about myself each day, and I am constantly being presented with little challenges that I manage to overcome. I would compare living in the United States to living in a little bubble (a wonderful little bubble, don’t get me wrong, I love my country). Being here has opened my eyes to many different cultural ways. It’s made me question basic things, such as why the United States doesn’t use the metric system when it seems to be the system that everyone else in the world uses. I’m proud to say I’ve officially adapted to using Celsius instead of Fahrenheit (another little achievement since moving over here). Knowing people from around the world and hearing how they grew up has really opened my eyes to how different and similar we all are as humans. It’s been such an enlightening experience and I am constantly learning new things by being here.
Alliance Abroad gave me that extra push to make my dreams a reality. With their assistance, I was able to land the job, book my flight, and move across the world. I am happier than ever and could not recommend this experience enough to anyone and everyone. Cheers!