Before I came to Australia, I drew on previous mistakes and tried my best to not hope for too much. However, it's impossible to not have some sort of expectation and therefore this post will compare how I expected/ hoped my first few weeks in Australia to go and what it was like in reality.
When I moved to America in 2015, I built myself up with unrealistic expectations which led to a lot of disappointment and really shaped how I enjoyed my few few weeks and months in Utah. You can read more about this here.
This time round, I was determined to not hope too much and tried to imagine how the best and the worst scenarios would unfold and how I would react to them. I've lucked out and so far had a great experience which has surpassed or leveled up with my expectations whilst other factors of Australia have surprised me .
I expected the first day to be daunting and potentially a lonely one. Although I was joining a tour for the first day, I tried to not rely that this would guarantee friends. I expected that the first night, I would get to the hostel, catch up on social media, tell my friends and family that I had arrived and go quickly to sleep. The reality at first look seemed to line up with my expectation. I entered my dorm room and found two people in the room, both sitting quietly by themselves. However, within 5 minutes, one of the people in the room turned and started chatting to me. This turned out to be someone on my tour and is still a close friend. He told me that others who he had met that day had gone for drinks and choosing to take the opportunity before me, we went on an adventure to find them. Granted, we didn't find them but it was a great start to the trip. That evening when we arrived back to the hostel, I met my roommate-to-be and two other close friends. Throughout the week although it was sometimes exhausting being around so many new people, I came out of my shell and made some great friends, all of whom I'm still in contact with. If you start off in a hostel, regardless of if you join a tour or not you will meet loads of people willing to hang out and get to know you. All it takes is the agreement to a drink or an outing to meet some awesome people!
The tour I took with Ultimate Oz, although amazing, didn't fully meet my expectations. I found there was a lot of downtime which when you've just met a brand new group of people can be quite daunting. I noticed that some people ended up by themselves during this free time rather than with people from the tour. We spent these free evenings mostly drinking and the free day relaxing in the hostel as it was grey day out. I expected the tour to be full-on and to get the chance to talk to everyone in the large group. This however, was only really possible when we arrived at Base Camp. This was undoubtedly the highlight of the week and was packed full of activities. Even when there was down time, we spent time together at the beach or in the camp and it was at Basecamp that I first talked to many of the group. The Ultimate Oz week was really useful in terms of meeting people, having some great experiences such as Cruising around Sydney Harbour and Dolphin Watching but also involved a lot of downtime which made you wonder sometimes if you were really paying to do nothing some days!
Finding a job and an apartment was easier for me than I thought it might be, and the casualness of moving into an apartment was really surprising. I found a job within a week of searching and even had to turn one down! I think this was partly luck but also playing up on the previous experience you have. I've also found a job for when my current one ends in January, again, this was luck I think, as I found the advert online with a day to go before the deadline date! We found an apartment within four days of looking and moved in the next day after seeing the property. We signed no contract and were simply given the keys. This surprised me, but it seems many have the same experience so I didn't question it too much. We're currently sub-letting which isn't the most kosher way of renting but seems to be fine for short term rental. The ease of this process surprised me as I had read of horror stories online before I came. If you apply everywhere and anywhere, have a little bit of luck and play to your strengths you should find something in no time. With apartment hunting, email every listing that seems like a fit for a viewing. Many will respond on the same day. You'll soon find something suitable!
In terms of other aspects of Australia, I was surprised at how much it is like home. It's little things that make you feel at home in a new country,. Stuff like finding your favorite chocolate or finding a known shopping chain.
Many things are different which I expected, the streets are more American in style and the lifestyle is very different to that at home. Yet I'm pleasantly surprised at how quickly I felt comfortable here and how easy Sydney is to navigate. The people are friendly, the landscape is unreal and overall there's very little to complain about.
Australia surprised me, but in a pleasant sense. The move has gone better than I could have imagined but with a country full of friendly people and a wealth of opportunities, how could it not? Keep your expectations firmly set in reality , work hard and with a sprinkle of luck Australia will reward you with an experience better than you could have dreamed!