Australian Expat Living in USA - Interview with Gwen

Published: 31 May at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,USA
Gwen is on her second Expat gig landing in sunny LA thrust smack bang in the middle of lifestyles of the rich & famous. A far cry from her comfort-zone of Sydney among the fabulously normal well-adjusted people of Australia, she's intrigued by a different kind of normal in LA. Gwen's expat blog is called It Started In LA (see listing here)

Unmistakably Beverly Hills: palm-tree lined streets
Unmistakably Beverly Hills: palm-tree lined streets

Here's the interview with Gwen...


Where are you originally from?
Sydney, Australia

In which country and city are you living now?
Los Angeles, USA

How long have you lived in USA and how long are you planning to stay?
Have been in LA for seven months and plan to be here for approx 2-5 years.

Shooting for E! News at Universal Studios--totally normal!
Shooting for E! News at Universal Studios--totally normal!
Why did you move to USA and what do you do?
My husband got offered a "chance-in-a-lifetime opp to move to Hollywood. You can't knock that back when everyone elses busts a gut to get there so we thought let's do it. As for me, I'm now officially a "Blogger" sharing the sights and sounds of my new life in LA.

Did you bring family with you?
Absolutely. No family = no go.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
It was pretty easy really because as long as you're together that's all you need. Americans are so friendly and the school community we've found ourselves in have welcomed us with open arms.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
LA, while everyone comes here to make a name for themselves, is not a traditional expat town. You have to make friends with locals; albeit originating from different parts of the world! I miss the international expat community though and the fact it brings like-minded people together going through the same highs and lows of living away from home.

Selfie with the paps
Selfie with the paps
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
There is so much to do in LA it depends on what turns you on. There's everything from studio tours to amusement parks to galleries and hikes and beaches. There really is something for everyone and it's more than just theme parks and Hollywood. For something different try Malibu or Griffith Park and Observatory.

What do you enjoy most about living in USA?
LA is a fun town filled with so much to do, there's never a dull moment here. The weather is sensational and it doesn't hurt that you could be walking down the street or sitting at a restaurant and you see one of your favourite celebs.

How does the cost of living in USA compare to home?
The cost of living is overall better when compared to home. What makes living here a tad more expensive is schooling and then the expectation that comes along with it. Overall it's cheaper to eat out at nice restaurants. Supermarket shopping is generally cheaper but the meat and good produce comes at a higher price.

The pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel
The pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel
What negatives, if any, are there to living in USA?
There's really nothing bad about living in LA. I have to say though after the earthquake of St Patrick's Day (#ShamrockShake) I can now see how scary it can be living in an area where one earthquake can be the be all and end all. Eek.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to USA, what would it be?
Research. Research. Research. LA is a big town--where you end up could be the a good choice or a bad one. It's really so diversified so look around some of the areas before you decide where you'll settle. Also decide whether you want to commute or not because that'll make a huge difference to your quality of life and sanity.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Being exposed to such wealth and then seeing so many homeless people or those looking for money. We recently travelled to the UK on a holiday and the first thing I noticed was the lack of homeless people. The rich here are mega rich to the power mega; it's quite surreal.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I know repatriation is hard because I've had to do it once before. The positive thing about repatriation is having your old friends back. You've got to settle back into their groove because you've been gone a while but they know you and love you for who you are.

Peticoat anyone? Fabulous shop on Third Street, West Hollywood
Peticoat anyone? Fabulous shop on Third Street, West Hollywood
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Always do your research: what areas work best for you; what's the schooling like and how does it compare to your expectations and how much is it going to cost you to live.
  2. Once you have researched the important stuff then negotiate the best package you can. Once you've arrived in your new home it's pretty hard to renegotiate the terms.
  3. Be prepared to put yourself out there. If meeting people and having friends around is what you need then get on the front foot. There will be no welcoming committee--don't wait to be invited out, do the inviting and you will be rewarded.
  4. Never knock back an invitation. When you finally get an invitation don't say no. Even if they're not necessarily your cup of tea you certainly will meet other people and who knows you could meet your future bestie.
  5. Embrace the adventure. Whether you're moving because you want to or whether you're being encouraged a little because of opportunities presented to you it'll be that much better if you remain positive and make the most of exploring your new hometown. I promise you it will be worth it.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
It Started in LA is basically a blog about me and all things LA. It's still evolving but it covers everything from my life in LA, the surreal things that have happened to us since we've come here to sidetrip holidays we've taken and reviewing places and events around LA.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Through the expatsblog website or through facebook.com/itstartedinla. Like me first though ;-).

About the author

Expat Blog ListingGwen is an Australian expat living in USA. Blog description: A Blog about me & all things LA. These are the sights and sounds of my life here in LA, West Hollywood, Hollywood & Beverly Hills a seen by ... me xxx
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