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The Average Joe Down Under Story – Expat Australia Blog Origin

Welcome to my expat blog!

My first blog post and where better to start than the story of how a boy from Northern Ireland ended up as an expat in Australia all those years ago. 

As most people do, when I left school I jumped straight into university but by the time I was graduating from my Business degree in 2009 I knew that I didn’t want to do anything related to that right then and life in the corporate world did not appeal to me.

Becoming an expat in Australia

Part One of becoming an Expat in Australia

Someone I knew from back home was planning to go to Australia at the start of 2010 and so I applied online for my working holiday visa and off I went, becoming an expat in Australia for the first time. I arrived with no job or apartment but I was able to meet some people through different meetup groups and organisations so making friends was the easy part.

As I was getting set up in Australia, I worked with an organisation to get me signed up for a tax number to ensure I was able to get a job and wouldn’t be put straight onto an emergency tax code. I stayed in a hotel to start, then moved into a hostel and then was finally able to get a spot in an apartment which just happened to be in one of the tallest residential buildings in the world – World Tower on Liverpool Street.

The Reality of becoming an expat in Australia

My living situation wasn’t exactly glamorous when I moved into the apartment but it was still an upgrade from the hostel… I was living with 6 other people from all over the world. I was sharing the sun room of a 2 bed apartment with another guy, there were 3 girls in 1 bedroom, 1 in the laundry room and 1 person with a bedroom to themselves. Luckily we had a balcony so at least there was a little airflow. My rent was 120 dollars a month back then and with no job, this was perfect.

I could chat all day about the stories I have from this apartment so instead of writing them all here, these will feature in my upcoming podcast (stay tuned for that)! After meeting a large group of people through meetup groups and organisations, we formed a great group of friends, with people from Australia and all over the world. By February/March time, most of us were living in the city or close by.

By April I was lucky enough to have got a job as a lifeguard in a leisure centre after speaking to some friends and being able to renew some qualifications. Before that I was living off savings that I had built up but by mid march they were running low and I ended up having to try and stretch my money by only eating 2 small meals per day or sharing cheap dinners with friends. That was the thing when you were travelling back then and everyone seemed to be in the same boat but hopefully you can learn from me and my experiences so I can save you some stress.

Heading back home again

After around 6 months into my time in Australia I began to have weird dreams and worries that I was missing out on something… I think it’s normal when you go travelling after uni that you feel a little lost and confused, you start to question your life and the choices you’ve made that have got you to where you are right then. So I started to really think about what it is I wanted to do. I made lists of things that could potentially work and tried not to let a disastrous careers interview when I was 16 shape my decision too much (More on that in an upcoming podcast interview… including why the teacher said a career involved “too much reading for someone like me”)

I eventually decided it was time to give teaching a go, I was always great with kids and had an interest in business studies so why not teach it?

By July 2010 I was in a panic trying to apply for university courses starting that September. I flew back to the UK to attend an interview at Bristol University and ended up getting a place on the course but then just 3 weeks later the course was closed and I was back to square 1 again.

Becoming an expat in Australia - Round Two

At this point I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t know what to do but I found myself thinking about going back again to Australia. I still had friends there and if I was going to have to go away for uni why not go back?

I applied to the University of Wollongong because it had the cheapest international fees at the time – around 18,000 dollars. I got accepted onto a course starting in 2012 so I spent the rest of 2010-2011 working around 60 hours a week with 3 different jobs to be able to afford to go, becoming an expat in Australia for the 2nd time round!

And so ends part 1 of the story of Average Joe Down Under! Stay tuned for the next part of my story.

Keep up with Average Joe!

The best to stay up to date with me is via Instagram @AverageJoeDownUnder where I’ll post regularly with tips and important info for expats in Australia. I’ll also post when I release a new blog or podcast episode.

You can catch the Average Joe Down Under Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or YouTube.

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