GBN expat secrets - Australia: 'If I hadn't done it I would have regretted it - but it's not all it's cracked up to be'

Roisin Lynch / Sydney Harbour Bridge

An expat in Australia spoke to GB News about her life down under

Roisin Lynch / GETTY IMAGES
Anna Barry

By Anna Barry


Published: 24/06/2024

- 08:00

Updated: 24/06/2024

- 08:30

GB News is talking to expats across Europe and the world who have exclusively revealed the best places to live, tips and tricks for moving abroad, and the potential pitfalls to avoid. This week, an expat in Australia revealed what initially drew her to life down under, and why she's excited to come home again

Roisin Lynch, 25, from Dublin, Ireland has always had the travel bug. Inspired by fellow Irish people she knew moving to Australia in her 20s, she set her sights on a life down under.

"The idea was planted in my mind from an early age," Roisin told GB News, "because so many of my friends' brothers and sisters had done it and it looked like such a cool experience". She claimed: "The Irish my age, we don't stay in Ireland."


As for why Roisin chose Sydney, the expat said: "I suppose a lot of what I knew of Australia was Sydney, and I don't think I'm alone in that.

"I'd say that the large majority of people that come to Australia choose either Sydney or Melbourne, purely because it's what we know. A lot of us live in Bondi, because there's that familiarity with Bondi Beach."

Roisin's initial plan was to do a Bachelor's degree in the arts and then spend some time in Australia taking a "gap year" working in hospitality - "a year out from the world if you want to call it that".

But when Covid hit and she had to put her dream of moving to Aus on hold, she decided to do a master's degree in journalism in London.

Roisin said: "My initial plan - and a lot of people do this - was to come out here for a break. I call it Peter Pan syndrome. It's a break from growing up and taking on responsibilities you might have back home.

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Roisin was drawn to beautiful Sydney and Bondi Beach

GETTY IMAGES

"But going a few years later meant I was able to go to Australia and work there in my career. Being a journalist, because it's so fast-paced and so gripping, you don't want to lose that momentum. So I didn't want to lose that."

Working a 9 to 5 job in Aus did cause its fair share of problems for Roisin though, as she had to navigate her full-time job while the friends she made were taking belated "gap years".

She said: "I'm out here in my professional career, whereas a lot of people out here are on more of a holiday vibe.

"So I've been battling with that whole, 'am I on holiday or am I progressing in my career?' dilemma."

And for Roisin, working in Sydney hasn't been all she'd dreamt of.

She admitted: "It's been the best time of my life, but I've definitely had some really, really difficult times here. For me, the industry just wasn't as exciting [as in London].

"And I felt just that little bit more isolated because I was in a corporate 9-5 job, whereas other people were off travelling or just a bit more relaxed than I was."

Although Roisin does work a 9-5 job in an intense corporate setting, she's been able to make plenty of friends and have a lot of fun too.

According to the expat, being Irish helps with making connections. She explained: "I did the move on my own, but I didn't really do it on my own, because if I was doing it on my own, like going to New York, I would have been completely alone.

"Here, there are people who I went to school with and childhood friends. There are people I may not have spoken to in years, but they were out here. I could meet up with them and they could introduce me to people, and that's exactly what happened."

For this reason, moving from Dublin to Sydney was actually easier for Roisin than when she moved from Dublin to London.

She said: "I really had to build up that network myself in London, whereas over here when I started going out I already knew loads of people. There's a place in Sydney - we call it County Coogee - and all the Irish are there.

"When I go out there on the weekends, it's like being at home. It's kind of trippy for me because I feel like I'm actually on a night out in Ireland.

"I think it definitely made the move way easier. Because there are so many of us English and Irish backpackers, there are all these social groups already set up for us.

"I went to an event that had been organised by one of the Irish in Sydney, and I got to meet a bunch of people there. There was a comfort in knowing that we were all in the same boat.

"You're on the other side of the world and you're seeing a completely different culture while you are surrounded by people who are like the people you are around back home."

But despite the comfort of familiar faces, moving to Australia wasn't totally plain sailing. Roisin explained: "My friend Emma moved out here at the time that it was attractive to move out because you were almost guaranteed to be able to move in with a bunch of Irish people and live in Bondi.

"But now you move out, you don't know who you're going to be living with. It's not far off the [rental market] scene in London - you're just scrambling to try and find accommodation. You could be miles away from a beach.

"A lot of my friends over here would agree that it's not all that it's cracked up to be anymore because of the sheer volume of us that are out here.

"I think setting yourself up is really difficult. I was lucky that I had a job ready to go, but there are so many people looking for jobs now that it's almost impossible to find one.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

Sydney

She shared advice

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"It's almost like a trend moving out here now, so I think the more of us that come along, the harder it is getting to enjoy it."

Interestingly, Roisin has decided to head home to Dublin in a few weeks, before heading back to London to pursue work. The expat told us: "I actually booked my flight home yesterday. I was only initially coming here for six months and then I stayed a little bit longer.

"Then I was just really bored in my job, and I decided that I think it's time for me to come home.

"I'm also really close to my family, and I think that was probably part of the reason I always knew Australia was temporary for me."

The ambitious expat is looking forward to getting back into the hustle and bustle of London journalism, although she stressed that her year-long move to Aus was "one of the best decisions" she ever made.

She said: "Something I struggled with a little bit [in Australia] is that there's this momentum when you get going in London - I mean, it's the media hub of the world, and I was so used to that. And all my friends around me had that same drive.

"I struggled because my career really slowed down and almost hit the brakes because the industry is just not the same out here."

If Roisin had the chance again, she would have moved to Sydney fresh out of university and had a year working in hospitality before coming to London to kickstart her career.

Offering some wise words to young people thinking of moving down under, the expat said: "My advice to anyone who's coming out here is that if you've already got something good going with your career, you should maybe accept that you're putting the brakes on - this is not the year to grow your career.

"Maybe personally, it's the year to grow. But I think that's where I kind of wish I had just let loose a little bit more and not really focussed so much on my career."

Roisin would absolutely recommend taking a year in Aus for some incredible life experience.

"It's exactly what I needed. I think had I not done it, I would have regretted it," Roisin said. "I really learnt how to take care of myself."

She did miss home though, and the incredibly vast physical distance between Roisin and her family weighed on her in tough times.

She said: "Here if you are struggling in the middle of the day, [everyone at home is] asleep at night. If I need a bit of help or I need my mum's advice on something, I have to wait to get that.

"But with the likes of WhatsApp and FaceTime, all those kinds of things, it was made super easy. I knew it was easy to get in contact, and it was never a huge struggle."

While Roisin is excited to move back to Dublin and then head to London, there will be some parts of Sydney culture that she'll miss.

She explained: "The work-life balance over here is incredible. My family came over and couldn't understand why the Australians were complaining about things. They thought, 'Why are they complaining like that? They have life down to a T'."

The expat continued: "I think they have a really good perspective on life here, and it's really ingrained in how all their systems work. For example, no one would be in an office past 5pm.

"I think because it's so outdoorsy - they have the weather for it, they have the beaches for it - they spend so much time outdoors, which is really nice to see.

"I think you can see that in Australians' nature as well. They're very relaxed as people. They don't really sweat the small stuff. It reminds me a lot of my hometown in Ireland, because Ireland's quite laidback as well."

Asked whether she'd recommend a life down under, Roisin believes a year in Australia is perfect for those straight out of uni who haven't started progressing in their careers yet.

"Or if you're having a wobble and feel like you should be starting a career but you're not quite there yet, I think that's the best time to go," she added.

"You'll get a different perspective on life over here, and I think you'll do a lot more growing up than you may do if you just stay at home and jump into a career and climb the ladder that way.

"Even if it's not Australia, I think everyone should experience a different culture and move at some point in their 20s. I think that it's the making of people."

While Roisin is nowhere near retiring age herself, she believes it would be a great place to experience that later stage of life.

She said: "My family were just over a few weeks ago and we went to a rainforest. And my dad - he's such a little Irish man, he'll never leave Ireland - was like, 'I want to retire here'. He thought it was just incredible."

Moving to Australia

What you need to know

Britons considering the big move have access to plenty of resources that will make relocating much easier. The UK Government has guidance on living in Australia, from visas and residency to driving to buying property.

British citizens will need a visa to enter Australia, and can find the entry requirements for this online. Britons can also decide if they want to hold both British and Australian citizenship. The Australian government has plenty of guidance on this. The Australian government outlined that Australian citizens must obey the laws of Australia, vote in federal and state or territory elections, and in a referendum, defend Australia should the need arise and serve on jury duty if called to do so.

In turn, Australian citizens can vote in federal and state or territory elections, and in a referendum, apply for children born overseas to become Australian citizens by descent, apply for a job in the Australian Public Service or in the Australian Defence Force, seek election to parliament, apply for an Australian passport and re-enter Australia freely and ask for consular assistance from an Australian official while overseas.

There are a few ways people can become an Australian citizen: Permanent residents including New Zealand Special Category visa holders, Person 60 years or over, and by descent, Your parent was an Australian citizen when you were born overseas.

For Britons who want to drive in Australia, the UK Government has guidance on road rules and the process of exchanging a UK license for an Australian one, plus taking a vehicle out of the UK.

There is also specific guidance for driving in the outback, with Britons warned to beware of "unexpected hazards" in remote areas. Britons were also warned that people have had serious accidents driving in K’gari (Fraser Island).

As for property, rules on buying, selling or renting property in Australia vary from state to state. Britons must research the rules in their chosen area before making any decisions.

Renting is a great option for those who want to rid themselves of extra admin during the already overwhelming experience of moving abroad. Renters will not have to worry about maintenance or repairs.

Renting is also a great way to get to know a city. Britons thinking of making the move should consider renting in different areas to scope out places and discover the area that suits them the most.

Most popular places for British nationals

  • Sydney
  • Brisbane
  • Canberra
  • Melbourne
  • Perth

Most popular places for retirees

  • Queensland
  • Sunshine Coast
  • New South Wales

Why Britons choose to live in Australia

  • Gorgeous climate
  • Outdoorsy
  • Incredible beaches
  • English-speaking

Possible pitfalls

  • It's very far away - inconvenient if you need to get home quickly
  • Homesickness
  • Starting afresh is difficult
  • Extreme climate - highs of 40C in central desert regions to below-freezing in the higher regions of the southeast
  • Bushfires can have a significant impact on lives, property and the environment

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