What is it like to move to Sydney, Australia? To start a new life in a foreign country?
In the Ask an Expat series I interview people living all over the world but outside of their own country. I hope to help paint an honest picture of the ups and downs of life abroad, share tips for other (future) expats and share information about what to see and do in the city, town or country the expat now calls home.
I visited Sydney myself a few years ago, for about a month, staying with a local family. I loved the vibrant, international atmosphere of the city combined with beautiful beaches and the laid-back Australian attitude. It is still one of the few places I could see myself moving to someday. That is also why I really enjoyed doing this interview to find out more about what life in Sydney is like for an expat.
Expat life in Sydney, Australia
Location: Sydney, Australia
Name: Susi Käufer
Home town: Ludwigshafen, Germany
“On my 30th birthday I didn’t know who I was anymore or what I wanted to do with my life. I only knew a few things. I grabbed a list of old dreams, uncertain if they still belonged to me.
Africa had always been a place I felt I had to go to, so I bought a one-way-ticket to Cape Town. I left Germany in 2014 and have never returned since. I traveled Africa, Asia and decided to stay in Australia and call it my home now. I went through visa applications, paid a lot of money and began a completely new life as an expat. Today I live in Sydney, working as a coach and helping people to achieve the same.”
“I always wanted to live in a world metropolis like Cape Town, San Francisco or Sydney. After traveling for one year in Africa, Asia and Australia I had to get a job to build up some savings again. I loved my new job and life in Sydney and simply got stuck here, almost 3 years ago. 🙂 It’s a great place to live!”
What do you like about Sydney?
“I love the combination of a large city with incredible things to offer, and the beaches, national parks and nature close by. The beach is only a 20 minutes walk from my apartment and the water is refreshing and beautiful. Several bushwalks are close by and the coastal walks along the beaches and cliffs are stunning. I love the awareness for work life balance as well. Compared to my life back in Germany, Australians value their free time much more. At 4pm they leave the office, grab their surfboards and head to the beach.”
What do you dislike about Sydney?
“Rent is really high compared to other places in the world. Our one bedroom apartment costs $650 per week plus bills.
Expect accommodation and cost of living to be pricey.”
What is your favorite thing to do in Sydney?
“I love the Bondi to Coogee walk. It’s a cliff top coastal walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee beach. It extends for six kilometers in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, featuring stunning views, beaches, parks, cliffs, bays and rock pools.”
What is your favorite place to hang out (restaurant, bar, etc) in Sydney?
“Check out the Ampersand Café and Bookstore in Paddington! I love this place for breakfast or lunch – you’ll find several tables and seats spread across the 3 story bookstore. The book café offers wide selection of second-hand books and delicious meals.”
What is the expat community like in Sydney?
“There are so many expats in Sydney and I feel that because of that there tend to be several expat communities, based on nationality.
I work in a very international environment, with colleagues from Colombia, France, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany. They all found a way to stay in this beautiful country and enjoy life in Sydney.
If you are looking to meet other expats there are a lot of Facebook groups and community meet ups around.
As I tend to miss traditional German food, I like to hang out in typically German restaurants with my friends from time to time.”
Any tips for moving to / living in Sydney?
“Bring warm clothes – winters are mild in Sydney, however most places don’t have central heating. So if it’s 10 degrees outside it’s not very cozy inside as insulation isn’t great.
I was slightly confused why there are no heaters in flats. We don’t get any snow, but it’s still COLD when temperatures are dropping to 5 degrees.
In summer you only need thongs/flip flops and a dress though, I’d never imagined to dress that leisurely for an office job.
Be prepared for pricey accommodation and weekly rent as well, but it’s totally worth it!”
Any resources you found useful during the process of moving to and/or building a new life in Sydney?
“To find cheap accommodation and anything from cars, furniture to second hand clothes Australians use gumtree.com.au
The most popular job search engine is seek.com.au and all current information about visas and immigration can be found at australia.gov.au/information-and-services/immigration-and-visas”
Is there something you just have to see or do when you are in Sydney?
“The classics of course: Sydney Opera house and Royal Botanical Garden, the harbor bridge (which you can walk across or climb) and Bondi Beach.
For a nice coastal walk and stunning views take a ferry to Manly and hike up to the North Head sanctuary.”
Susi is a a certified Solution Focused Life Coach and Transformational Coach.
As a Freedom Lifestyle Expert she supports women who have lost their enthusiasm and feel stuck on a path that isn’t their own. She guides them on their journey of self-discovery, so they can unlock their full potential and the creativity on what’s possible.
For more information check out her website: dreamlifedeluxe.com
Sydney, capital of New South Wales, is best known for its harbourfront Sydney Opera House, with a distinctive sail-like design. Massive Darling Harbour and the smaller Circular Quay port are hubs of waterside life, with the arched Harbour Bridge and esteemed Royal Botanic Garden nearby.
Sydney is Australia’s oldest, largest and most cosmopolitan city with a population of around 4 million. It has the enviable reputation of being one of the world’s most beautiful and liveable cities. It hosts many tourist attractions as well as a number of beaches, bays and a couple of national parks.
Thinking about traveling to Sydney?
I recommend Skyscanner to find the best flights or check out 10 Tips on How to Find The Cheapest Flights. And if you want to see more of Australia check out Intrepid Travel who offer great organized trips through Australia.
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