20 October 2017

Olivia Wilson - Expat in Melbourne, Australia

Olivia Wilson - Expat in Melbourne, Australia

We’ve had the chance to talk to Olivia Wilson, 36, a British expat who has moved to Australia with her family. Mrs. Wilson who has been living there for almost three years, now works as a writer and blogger. 

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: We are originally from the UK.


Q: What made you move out of the UK?

A: We wanted an adventure, we wanted to explore, and a job opportunity made it all possible.


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

A: We are living in Melbourne, Australia. We spent two years in Sydney before moving further south to try life in the most liveable city in the world.


Q: How long have you been living in Australia?

A: We have been in Australia nearly three years now.


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

A: I am living with my husband and two children (9 &5). We have all adjusted very well to life in the Southern Hemisphere, although it can sometimes feel very far from home.


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

A: We always miss home, family and friends, however, we know we have made a great move for all of us, which is comforting at times. We are becoming experts at video calls, which is a great way to keep in touch and put the homesickness on the back of our minds.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: We have made some wonderful Australian friends, who have become like family to us. We have had wonderful experiences and are very happy here.


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: It’s always hard making new friends, but I am lucky that both my children attend the local school and that has been a great way to meet people, and make wonderful friends. We also chose a great place to live, where we have many families on the same street, and we all spend lots of time together.


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

Q: How much is a cup of coffee?
A: $4 here which is pretty much the same as home.
Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?
A: Average meal would be $30 so about £15 (without alcohol).
Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?
A: Anything upwards of $100.
Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?
A: Average bottle of wine is about $25 similar to home, cigarettes are expensive here and at home

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

A: It’s a very long drawn out process to set up a bank account when you arrive in Australia, so bring cash to tide you over, and be prepared for a long appointment at the bank.


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

A: The visa application time was very stressful. It was hard with the time difference between here and the UK, but the waiting and waiting seemed endless. I think in general visa applications take a long time to process, so be patient.


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

A: Healthcare here is under the Medicare scheme which is fairly similar to the NHS. We all pay for prescriptions. The private system is used for any specialist treatment, which can be costly. Mostly everyone has private medical insurance. Take your time choosing the best insurance for you. Ambulance cover is an absolute MUST!


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: It is a legal requirement for our visa to have medical insurance, you must have it to secure your visa.


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: Watching our shipping container leave our home was really emotional. We were very excited to be packed and ready to go. We used Santa Fe Wridgeways who was incredible from beginning to end.


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

A: The biggest challenge we have faced as new expats is probably being so far from home, not knowing anyone and having no support network at all. It can be tough trying to work everything out on your own.


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

A: Australia is an incredible country, with hundreds of positives. The beaches, the lifestyle, the cities, the sport, the scenery, the diversity. The only negative I can think of is that the rest of our friends and family aren’t here to explore with us.


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

A: Visiting the city of Melbourne is an absolute must for anyone visiting Australia. It is funky, vibrant, exciting and has a wonderful mix of cultures, fashion, and food.


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

A: We would love to try living in another country. We’d love our children to have the opportunity to try life in another culture.


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

A: Explore as much of Australia as you can. It is such a huge country with so many wonderful places to find. Really research your areas when looking for somewhere to live, as suburbs of major cities can vary hugely. Make the most of being here.


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

A: My website www.thewilsonsofoz.com is a story from the very beginning of our journey to today and how we cope parenting far from home. We have expat mumblings, reviews, and tales of holidays in and from Australia.