Moving abroad: My experience of living in Australia

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It’s almost three months ago my closest friends and family welcomed me in the airport with Danish flags and cheers. I landed on Danish soil 1 June after 1,5 years living in Australia. Since then, I’ve wanted to share my experience of living in a foreign country in the hope to inspire you to take the leap and try moving abroad if you’ve ever had the slightest desire to.

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Leaving Denmark

On 17 January 2017, I embarked on my biggest adventure. I had been admitted to a master’s degree at a university in Sydney and was as ready to go as I could be.

I clearly remember how surreal it was to be in the airport and say goodbye to my friends and family. It was like I was about to leave everything behind in Denmark, and I had the strangest feeling in my body. I felt torn. On one side, I was excited to go on the adventure I had been dreaming of and fought hard for. For a long time I had wanted to study in a foreign country but due to a few failed English tests, I had been forced to postpone it. Now suddenly everything was settled, and I was ready to go. On the other side, the thought of being so far away from home for so long was anxiety-provoking and nerve-wracking.

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Arriving in Australia and the first while there

I was very lucky that my closest family took advantage of my move and decided to spend their winter holiday in Australia. For the first three weeks, we travelled around the giant country. It was absolutely amazing and a good way for me to get a better feeling of the Australian culture and lifestyle.

However, it wasn’t easy to say goodbye to them in the end. We had had the best time together, and both having to say goodbye and being forced to stand on your own two feet in a new country was a big challenge for me. I cried and I cried and I cried and felt like I was left behind. Safe to say that it was one of the hardest moments of my time in Australia.

I was lucky that my uncle had moved to Sydney many years ago and despite not knowing him well at the moment, he and his girlfriend were there for me. They drove me to a hostel in Bondi from where I should stay until I found a more permanent place to live. I arrived at the hostel almost three weeks before having my first courses at school, which was enough time to get used to my new life in Sydney, find an apartment, sort out essential stuff (such as opening a bank account and getting an Australian phone number) and make a few friends.

The first day at the hostel I gave myself three weeks to adapt to my new surroundings. However, I only needed a few days and thereafter, I knew that moving abroad was a good decision.

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Life in Australia

I ended up staying at the hostel for three weeks. The day I started uni I moved into an apartment that I shared with an Australian guy. And thereafter, I quickly got a daily routine and an everyday life in Australia. I went to school two to four times a week and spent my spare time and uni breaks hanging out with friends and exploring Sydney. I also got the opportunity to explore parts of Australia and some of the surrounding countries either alone, with friends I had met Down Under or with friends or family from home. It was great!

Every day I felt more and more at home in Sydney and felt more and more like an Aussie. But of course, I also had tough times once in a while where I missed my Danish friends and family, felt lonely and wanted to go home. I guess that’s inevitable when you live abroad.

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Going home

My time in Australia went incredibly fast, and about a month before I was going home, I started realising it. It was about time to say goodbye and end the adventure. Safe to say that that wasn’t easy.

During my last few weeks in Sydney, I felt like I was living in a bubble where I couldn’t really eat or sleep. It was such a weird period of time, and once again I felt torn. On one side, I was excited to see my Danish friends and family again, I was excited to finalise my degree and I was looking forward to being done with saying goodbye to everything and everyone Down Under that I found mentally exhausting. On the other side, I was nervous of going home and starting from scratch again in a new (old) country, and I was afraid that it wouldn’t be easy for me to adjust and resettle in Denmark. With good reason.

Now three months have passed since I got home, and my time in Denmark has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. Honestly, mostly downs. I’ve missed life in Sydney a lot, and I’ve had difficulties feeling at home in Denmark. It’s slowly getting better now, and I try to look at how I’ve felt from a positive perspective – as a sign of how much I’ve loved moving abroad and living in Sydney. I truly loved it.

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The best decision

I’m so happy that I got the opportunity to live in another country, and that I went. It’s so much easier to take the safer option and stay home and do as the majority of people in their late 20s; get a degree, get a job, get married and have kids. However, life for me isn’t about that, at least not yet. During the last 1,5 years, I’ve delved deeply into a different culture and lifestyle, got to know a new city, made friendships with people from all over the world and explored new amazing destinations. To me, that’s what matters right now.

If you’ve ever considered moving abroad, you should do it! It’s an opportunity I’m almost 100% you won’t regret, and I hope that my story can emphasize that.

Read more posts about moving abroad here.

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  • How exciting! That was so very brave of you. I’m from the US and I really want to move to either Ireland or the UK to get my master’s. It’s going to take more work and more saving to be able to go, but by 2019/2020, I should be there. Thank you for the additional inspiration!

    • I’m glad I can be an inspiration!
      That’s amazing, I really think you should do it. I spent 1,5 years saving for my trip and it was worth every penny! I want to hear more about your plans. ☺️