4 April 2017

Katie Milne - Expat in Melbourne, Australia

Katie Milne - Expat in Melbourne, Australia

We’ve had the chance to talk to Katie Milne, 26, a British expat who has moved to Australia with her friends. Ms. Milne who has been living there for two years, now works as SEO & content manager. 

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Manchester, UK.


Q: What made you move out of the UK?

A: I knew I wanted to explore further afield than the place I grew up in. Luckily my job is transferable which meant I could easily pick up a job in Australia.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Melbourne, Australia. I travelled South East Asia for 4 months and realised that by working in Australia I could extend my trip a little.


Q: How long have you been living in Australia?

A: Two years! I didn’t realise I’d be here so long when I first left the UK.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I live with two friends, one Kiwi guy, and an Irish girl. It’s really comforting living with other expats as we help each other out when things get hard.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Yes, it can be tough being so far away from family and friends. I try and keep myself as busy as possible to keep my mind off the homesickness. I FaceTime my parents once a week every Sunday which also helps.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: They’re so laid back – my partner is an Aussie so they must be OK!


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Australia? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: To be honest, I found it quite difficult. I came over as a backpacker and then decided to take up a full-time job with sponsorship in Melbourne. My backpacker friends left to do their regional work which left me feeling quite lonely in my first 6-12 months living here. Luckily my work has quite a large expat community and the office is very social, I also met my partner who had a good network of friends, and I started to meet other Brits through social events.


Q: How does the cost of living in Australia compare to your home?


  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: AUD$5 I think? I still drink tea!

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: AUD$10 eating out is quite cheap for the quality and size here.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: AUD $40.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine is super cheap, you can pick something up for as little as AUD $5. Cigarettes are pretty expensive, around AUD $22.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Australia?

A: There are lots of banks to choose from, probably Commonwealth, NAB, and ANZ are the most popular. You just need your passport and a postal address.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: Visas are quite complicated in Australia. I obtained both my Working Holiday Visa and 457 Sponsorship quite easily however I’ve heard about others not being so lucky. I’ve found sponsorship to be very restricting with jobs (moving jobs, changing careers) due to costs and lack of residency rights.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Australia is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Generally yes. Medicare is available which is a subsidised service for temporary residents. A list of eligible countries is on the government website.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in the UK or Australia? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: General health services are covered by Medicare, although you must take out additional ambulance cover. I purchased dental cover as I needed a trip to the dentist and it can be extremely expensive here as there is no government subsidy.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Australia? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: I landed in Australia after 4 months in Asia with a 15kg backpack on my back, so I was ready to get back to ‘civilisation’ at the time!


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Making new friends. It’s made me realise what great ones I have at home.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Australia?

A: The weather! Living in Melbourne can be quite hit and miss however you’re guaranteed a summer, unlike the UK. Living close to the beach and being a cheap, short flight away from Asia is also a big bonus for me!


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: The nightlife in Melbourne is awesome. If you like your music, coffee and culture Melbourne is definitely the city to be.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: I’d like to move back to the UK to be closer to my family and friends again, but I’ve thought about maybe moving to Berlin, Barcelona or even Dubai.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Be sure about the job before you accept sponsorship, and say yes to all nights out – you never know what friends you might make.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Australia?

A: Yes, my blog! I started my blog as a way to keep my mind busy (especially homesickness) and a place to show people what it’s like to move to a new country in your 20’s. Go check it out www.halfaworldaway.net