I have almost lived in Australia for TWO years now! How crazy is that! It seems like just yesterday I was trying to fit my whole life into two suitcases and move half way across the world.
I thought that it was about time I shared my story of how I found myself moving to Australia at 22 years old. So big ole question, that might be on your mind is “Why did I decide to move to Australia?”
Well, I can honestly tell you that at 18 years old moving to Australia let alone traveling to Australia was definitely not on my radar at all until I met Patrick.
I met Patrick in 2010, at Mount St Mary’s University. Patrick had come over from Australia to play for our university’s D1 soccer team. When my roommate initially told me this Australian guy in her class was coming over to get “notes” I was like great an Australian guy with super sexy accent, who is probs hot, with a tan to die for and is probably a pro surfer is coming over here and I bet every single female in this school will be fawning all over him. So right there in that moment, I made a silent vow to myself that I was not going to be that girl! I was not going to be fawning over some exotic foreign exchange student, not even if he does have a sexy accent.
Well, lady luck was on my side that day, I did not fawn over him at ALL. It was not love at first sight, but he eventually grew on me ;). I was like Whew! Dodged a bullet on that one. After an awkward introduction via my roommate in late September, we somehow over the next few weeks kept running into each other, exchanged phone numbers and became friends.
I believe this initial friendship, is what really made Patrick and I the strong couple we are today. I later found out that he actually didn’t need to come borrow notes from my roommate and that he just wanted to meet me. Ummm what? Apparently he had spotted me in our Chemistry class and became quite smitten (meanwhile, I had no idea he was actually in my class). We started seeing each other in November but didn’t make it “official” until January 2011 and from there the rest is history!
Here are a few old pictures I found from the early days!
Over the next four years, I would visit Australia twice and Patrick somehow managed to seamlessly meld into my immediate and extended family.
After dating all through university, when the time came for us to graduate we knew that Patrick would have to return to Australia because his student visa was going to run out. I knew that I wanted to go to Australia with Patrick, but as a newly graduated college student I was low on work experience, cash and to top it all off now had student loans to start paying off. YIKES! The responsibility of loans really hits you when you graduate college.
I was lucky enough to graduate university one semester earlier (Dec 2013) than Patrick, and this allowed me to get a full-time job in the field of my degree in March 2013. It was then I realized I wasn’t going to be able to follow Patrick over to Australia as quickly as I thought. Therefore, I had to formulate a plan on how I was going to be able to buy a plane ticket, pay student loans from overseas, and get a job in my field once I got over to Australia.
My Plan to get to Australia:
- Work full time for 1 year to save money & get work experience
- Save enough money to pay my student loans for 1 year (approx. $10,000 USD)
- Apply for Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462)
With my plan written out it was time to follow through, the next several months were going to be tough. Patrick leaving was very hard at first, but I soon got into a new routine and made new friends at my new job. However, with my eye on the prize, I made sure I was saving every penny from every paycheck. During our time apart Patrick and I were able to text and Face Timed every day, thank god for modern technology!
As the months went by I became more and more restless to get over to Australia and be with him, and it just so happens that when November 2014 came around I had had enough and decided that I was just going to go, I couldn’t wait any longer. I needed to go where my heart and head were pulling me. Even though I made new friends and had family around, I was still unhappy at home.
What helped me make this decision was that I had already saved more than enough money to pay my student loans for a year. With this decided it was time to apply for my Work and Holiday Visa (subclass 462). I submitted my application online (since I am from the USA) on the 8th of December 2014 and received my approval on the 12th of December! That was quick!
With my visa approved I started to organized/tie up loose ends in the USA which included:
- Telling my bank that I was moving overseas and to not freeze my accounts if there is activity in Australia
- Setting up my student loans to direct debit out of my American Bank account
- Resign from my full-time job
- With drawling my 401k savings (Since I had only been working for 10 months there was not enough money to roll over into an IRA)
- Canceling my American cell phone plan
- Packing! Figuring out what to take and not take was very hard! (Luckily I was still living with my parents so all my extra stuff could still stay with them)
- Farewell Party with Friends!
With all loose ends tied up and my bags packed the only thing left to do was to go to the airport and board my flight to Australia.
January 30th 2015 – Arrive in Australia
Finally, after a year of planning and saving I had made it to Australia! Patrick was there to greet me at the airport and it was so good to see him in person for the first time in over 8 months! Patrick and I decided that we would stay with his parents until we could afford to move out on our own. At first I didn’t want to do this, but in the end, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to become part of his family more and I now have a great relationship with his mom and dad, which was good for me because I am very family oriented and was very close will my immediate and extended family back home.
I have now been living in Australia happily for almost two years, Patrick and I have moved out of his parent’s house, and I have even made some new friends. Moving to a new country is not easy, and it took me almost a year to actually get to where I wanted to be.
I don’t want to mislead you on my emotional health, I got VERY homesick for about the first 3 weeks I was in Aus. I really missed all my new friends and family back home, but I also felt guilty for feeling homesick because I know how much Patrick wanted me to like living in Australia.
I managed the homesickness by telling myself that I wouldn’t be happy back at home if I were there right now. Which was true, I wouldn’t have been happy, I think it was mostly the shock of knowing that I wasn’t going to be coming back home for at least a year that made me feel homesick the most. I had intermittent homesickness over the first year, but as soon as I went back home I knew in my heart that I made the right decision and at the end of the trip I was ready to go back to Australia.
I rarely get homesick now, but do occasionally wish I was at family events or seeing my old friends, but I know that right now I am where I want to be and knowing that puts a smile on my face.
If your wondering how I was able to stay in Australia longer than 12 months (which is the requirements of my working holiday visa) it is because Patrick and I applied for a Partner Visa which I was granted this past year. This visa allows me to obtain residency and stay in Australia. If you want to learn more about what a partner visa entails and the processes you will go through, your in luck! I wrote a post about it, click here to check it out.
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