Expat Interview With Cosette - American Expat In Australia

Published: 24 Oct at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Australia
Cosette Paneque was born in Havana and raised in sunny Miami. Then she met an Australian man. She packed up and moved to the land down under where she's enjoying great food, experiencing unpredictable weather, and learning to drive on the other side of the road. She recounts her adventures on her expat blog Stumble Down Under (see listing here)

Stumble Down Under

Here's the interview with Cosette...

Where are you originally from?
I was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated with my family to the United States on the Mariel boatlift in 1980. We settled in Miami, FL and that’s where I grew up.

In which country and city are you living now?
I am currently in Melbourne, Australia.

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I was here for three months and then returned to the U.S. for about three months. I've been back in Australia for two months now. I'm on a 12-month tourist visa, but if all goes well, I'd love to stay longer.

Stumble Down UnderWhy did you move and what do you do?
I moved to be with my Australian partner. I'm a community manager, which means I help manage online communities.

Did you bring family with you?
I came to Australia alone.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
It's been generally easy. While Australia is unique in many ways, it's not so drastically different from the United States. I haven't experienced much in the way of culture shock.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I joined a few online groups on Facebook and Meetup, but I haven't met many people face to face yet.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Take the elevator to the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower and take in amazing views of Melbourne and a good sense of where things are. If you want to see Australian wildlife, the Healesville Sanctuary is a great choice. And driving along the Great Ocean Road is an absolute must.

Stumble Down UnderWhat do you enjoy most about living here?
I like the more relaxed pace. I also really like that I can be in the heart of the city or in the country in 30 minutes. My home city, Miami, is highly developed and urban without a lot of room to get away.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
Everything is so much more expensive here!

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
The cost of living is higher and driving on the left side of the road takes a lot more concentration. And the spiders. I don't like the spiders.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Let go of expectations. Enjoy Australia for what it has to offer and don't spend too much time comparing life here to life back home.

Stumble Down UnderWhat has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Making friends. Most people make friends at school and work and when you don't go to either, it can be more challenging.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I'm not sure. After my initial three-month visit to Australia, when I returned home to Miami, I couldn't wait to get back. Miami is home, but Melbourne feels like home too.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
1 - Do your homework especially in areas such as visas and employment.
2 - Join expat communities online to receive great advice.
3 - Join social groups, Meetups, take a local class, etc. to meet people.
4 - Don't try to replicate your life in the U.S. Embrace a whole new adventure.
5 - Stay in touch with your family and friends back home.

Stumble Down UnderTell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My expat blog is a mix of general travel advice, what to see and do in Australia (namely Victoria), and also personal journaling and processing on a variety of topics including technology, news, and politics.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
I can be contacted through my blog at http://stumbledownunder.com/contact/

Cosette manages her expat blog called Stumble Down Under http://stumbledownunder.com/ which is very worthy of a visit. Cosette can be found on Twitter @byjupiter. Stumble Down Under has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here which would appreciate a nice comment! If you liked this interview, please leave a comment to Cosette below!
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