Hey everybody, my name is Kristina and I share my passion for photography, travel and snippets of my life over at le fabuleux destin. I am so happy that Lauren has asked me to contribute to her Career Week, sharing my experiences about living and working overseas. Such an exciting topic.
Hello from Down Under - the land of kangaroos and koala bears!
I grew up in Germany, but I went to highschool for one year
in Los Angeles, did an internship in Singapore for another year, worked for
four years in Switzerland and most recently moved to Australia together with my
boyfriend. I have lived a total of 7 ½ years of my life abroad.
Crazy? Maybe! Right decision? Most of the time. Learning potential? Huge.
I always loved to travel, but I also found that living in a
new place, new country gives you a wonderful opportunity not to only get to
know your new home really well, but to also travel around in the region you are
living. I absolutely love that about living abroad.
So how did I get to move abroad and find jobs that suit my
career and pay my bills? I have a diploma in International Business and I have
worked in the fashion retail business for 7 years now, mainly in positions that
deal with project management, retail management and most currently store
design. Those positions are quite
universal and you find headquarters of retail business spread all over the world.
I always spoke the language of the country I moved to, so that made jobhunting
much more easy. I took the time to research the application etiquette of the
country as there are quite some differences between countries, edited my CV and
cover letter accordingly and I wrote application after application and stayed positive. It paid off and even if it doesn’t happen overnight, I guess you have to stay positive, flexible and
Our current move to Australia was mainly my boyfriends
“fault” – his company offered him a four year placement over here. Living in
Switzerland, we always said we wanted to move abroad again so we took the
chance when it was offered and said yes. I quit my job, we packed up our lives
and off we were. I did not have a job when I arrived in Australia and it took about
4 months for me to find a new one. I almost exclusively looked for jobs on seek.com.au (the biggest Australian job
site) and with the help of a great guy at Michael Page, I was able to score a
temporary position (maternity leave fill) in store design of an Australian
fashion retailer. My contract has been prolonged since and I hope to get a permanent
Australia’s immigration laws are really great as they allow me to work over here – my boyfriend’s company sponsors both of us under the same visa. It is a short-term business visa (called 457 visa) and is valid for four years. Many of the foreigners I have met are here in Australia on this
particular visa – you need to find a company that sponsors you. Other possibilities to obtain a visa in Australia are the famous Work & Travel visa (for under 30-year olds) and the opportunity to seek a permanent residency – you do need to fulfil certain criteria and I hear it is a long and expensive
I did not regret to move to Australia once. For
sure, it is the other side of the world and it is really far far away from my
home, family and friends in Europe, but Melbourne is such an amazing place that
I love it too much to be sad. The city offers so many interesting things –
great cafes and restaurants, beaches, quirky neighbourhoods, museums, events.
There is always something going on. I really enjoy this big city life. People
are nice and friendly and Australia is such an amazing country. I have had the
opportunity to explore the East Coast up to Sydney, Western Australia and
Tasmania so far and I am looking forward to explore the Outback, Great Barrier
Reef, New Zealand, Pacific Islands and maybe Hawaii in the next couple of
months / years (that is what I mean with exploring the region you live in –
some far away places suddenly become really close). I did not really have any
struggles or culture shock when moving here – I speak English, my most
important person is with me, so the transition was quite smooth and easy.
Living abroad has taught me many things – I have become very
open-minded to new systems, traditions and simply other ways to do things.
Simple things as health insurances and tax returns are so different from
country to country and I find myself studying new laws and regulations in each
country we moved to. It can be confusing and challenging, but that is just part of living abroad. I love to learn
about different cultures, “unwritten” society rules, other religions, so I
enjoy living in such multi-cultural places such as Singapore and Australia.
The life we are living away from home is fun, exciting and
worth it, but on the downside we miss our families, friends, weddings, children
being born. It is hard to find the balance of making a new place home and stay
in touch will all your favourite people back home. It is hard work. But we
chose the opportunity to live abroad early in our careers and I am so thankful
for all the doors that have opened for us. I am sure our overseas adventure
won’t be over after Australia – I am
already daydreaming about living in Asia again, maybe Korea or Japan.
If you want to move abroad, check your opportunities work,
visa and language-wise and take the risks you feel comfortable with taking.
Stay realistic but positive. Be as flexible as you can about work and your
salary. Keep on networking. And enjoy! It is a wonderful experience that I never want to miss.
I am always happy to help and provide as much info as I can find on moving to Australia!
Contact me if you need help or advice.