Australia has a sense of excitement about it. It’s far away from almost everywhere, it’s a large country – practically the same land mass size as the United States, and not many people get to experience it in their lifetimes. Considering that the native language is English, it is an increasingly popular place to move to, particularly in light of its economy, which places it as the second wealthiest nation after Switzerland based on GDP. But before you pack your bags and head to the land down under, there are a few things you should consider about moving to Australia from the US.


Just Because English Is Spoken, It’s Not the United States

There is a misconception that Australia is just like the United States but in the southern hemisphere and with kangaroos. Australia as a nation is younger than its US counterpart, but the native culture is old and established.  Aboriginal culture dates back over 40,000 years and is an important identity for Australians. Just as you would consider the different culture of many European countries, the culture of Australia is as unique as the country itself.


You Need Travel Documents Just As Would In Other Countries

Depending on your country of origin and anticipated stay, you may need a visa or a work permit. It’s best to check with your local Australian embassy before leaving the United States to ensure that you have all the appropriate paperwork in place.

If you are going to seek employment in Australia, take copies of your resume as well as an international work permit that you have previously held, and make sure that you register your employment status with the department of immigration. There are different types of work visas, and not all visas permit employment, so make sure you have the appropriate visa for your intended purpose.


It’s Just Like US, Only Different

Australia can feel familiar and exotic at the same time. Many services are similar to what you find in the United States, but remember, you’re an ocean away from home. Important things like banking, cell phones and medical care are all similar but different in the land down under. If you are executing a permanent move, discuss banking functions with a local manager before leaving. They may be able to help you establish an account with a reciprocal institution. You will likely find it more cost efficient to begin a new cell phone contract once you get there than trying to keep the same number with your current carrier.

Before moving to Australia from the USA, make sure that you have copies of all your medical and dental records as well as a sufficient supply of any prescription medications to carry you over until you find a new medical provider.


Where Do You Plan On Living?

Australia is a large country. It’s almost the same land mass size as the United States, but unlike the US, the central part of the country is relatively uninhabited. Most of the population is centered in the key cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Other cities are located primarily on the coasts, but keep in mind that travelling from Sydney on the East Coast to Perth on the West Coast is the same as flying from Atlanta to Los Angeles. It’s a long trip!

Sydney and Melbourne are modern, dynamic cities with unique personalities, and they likely present the greatest opportunities for employment. But don’t discount other areas of Australia if you are seeking opportunities beyond the more familiar fields of finance, insurance, educations, and arts and entertainment.


Travel Outside Of Australia

Once you’re in Australia, foreign travel can be a time challenge. The shortest flight to the United States is around 15 hours direct, so don’t expect to go home for a quick visit every time the mood strikes. Even travel to neighboring New Zealand is around a 4 hour flight. Unlike many European cities that are a train ride away, travel in and around Australia can be difficult and expensive, so consider how this may impact your sense of adventure.

The country itself can be a magical place to explore, but understand that Australia does not offer the same flexibility when it comes to weekend trips or short getaways that you may be anticipating.

Overall, moving to Australia from the United States is less complicated than moving to a non-English speaking country. There are similar cultural undertones and practices that can make transitions easier and more familiar than other countries. But remember that Australia is still a unique and diverse nation that offers experiences beyond what you would expect in the US. It can be a great place to live and work if you are seeking a change that is dynamic but not overwhelming.

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