British Expat Living in Sydney, Interview With Sumaya

Published: 12 Jul at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Australia
Sumaya is an expat from the United Kingdom currently working as a Client Services Manager in Sydney. She enjoys travelling, reading biographies, watching documentaries, food, photography and experiencing new and adventurous things. She aspires to do anything and everything worth doing in her time abroad. In her opinion, life is indeed too short to waste such opportunities. She enjoys writing about her experiences on her expat blog is called Distinct Escapes (see listing here)

Meet Sumaya - British expat in Sydney
Meet Sumaya - British expat in Sydney

Here's the interview with Sumaya...

Where are you originally from?
I am originally from Kenya and grew up in the United Kingdom.

In which country and city are you living now?
Sydney, Australia

How long have you lived in Sydney and how long are you planning to stay?
I arrived in Sydney on Thursday 4 March 2013.

Well, I would love to stay and explore Australia for as long as possible. However, having a working holiday visa limits my stay to one year. I can then extend my stay to a maximum of one additional year granted I meet the criteria.

Why did you move to Australia?
I have always wanted to live and work abroad as well as travel and explore the world. After obtaining my law degree and working in a law firm for a year, I decided that now was the best time.

Why Australia in particular? Well, why not? I wanted to go somewhere hot and sunny, fun and with better job opportunities. Australia ticked all the boxes. The fact that there are no language barriers was a bonus. Travelling in Asia has always been on my bucket list and working in Australia makes it a lot easier to explore Asia from this end of the world.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
The transition hasn’t been that difficult and actually more exciting than anything else. I did however have to adjust to how expensive everything is in Sydney. Nevertheless this is a worthwhile sacrifice for the type of lifestyle you get to enjoy.

Before I completely made up my mind about moving away I remember reading an article an expat wrote about properties being expensive in Australia in comparison to the UK. He ended the article with this question;If you were as broke as can be and had a penny left in your pocket, would you prefer to be sat on a sunny day by the beach enjoying the priceless views or sat in a gloomy day on a park bench, cold and wet? That says it all in a nutshell.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I love that Sydney is a cosmopolitan. It is pretty easy making friends as people are very friendly and easy to chat to whereas even though people are nice in the UK too, they are more reserved.

I socialise with both Australians and expats, it just depends on whom I click with rather than where they are from.

What are the best things to do in Sydney; anything to recommend to future expats?
There is so much to do in Sydney. Here’s a break down of my favourites:

Do make sure you research what is on at the Opera House and other theatres.

Best brunch: Meze Me at Rouse Hill and The Grounds at Alexandria.

Best dinner: Ms G’s-Thai fusion at Kings Cross.

Favourite architecture: Predictable but it has to be the Opera House. There is so much more though; the Rocks and the Queen Victoria Building (now a shopping arcade). Victorian-era terraces surround the city center and of-course the Harbor Bridge.

Shopping: Melbourne-Brunswick Street, Glenmore Road, the Rocks and Sydney CBD.

Going out: Melbourne-Brunswick street.

Best landscape views so far: The Blue Mountains.

I do like chilling out at Darling Harbour, just a great atmosphere.

Snorkeling at the Gordon’s Bay dive trail.

General things to do: Surfing (if you can, if you can’t like me, Sydney is the best place to learn), barbeques at the beach, paddle boarding, bouldering, Taronga Zoo, renting a boat, fishing, enjoying a sunrise/sunset by the beach, Bondi to Coogee coastal walk, Harbor Bridge climb and the list is endless…

What do you enjoy most about living in Sydney?
I love Sydney because of the weather, food, people, vibrance, beaches, coffee, national parks, kangaroos and koalas. I love the mix of buzz and calm. I like the art exhibitions and theatres around the city. Wherever you are, whichever suburb, you are always just 20mins drive from a beach. People are so health conscious here and it encourages me to be more healthy too. People are always out and about doing interesting things.

How does the cost of living in Sydney compare to UK?
Rent, food and clothes are a lot more expensive in Sydney. However, salaries are higher in comparison to the UK and again the lifestyle is definitely worth it!

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Everything is expensive.

If you enjoy shopping like I once did, Sydney is not the place to do it. Things are really expensive and the quality leaves much to be desired. The good quality items are very expensive, you’d expect to pay that much for designer items in the UK. If you are an avid shopper don’t fret as you can always catch a flight to Melbourne-the fashion city of Australia. Alternatively, you can order things online straight from the UK.

Secondly there is NO easy access to the internet. This is the most annoying thing about Australia.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Save as much as you can before moving.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Missing family and friends.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Stop contemplating it, just go and buy your ticket. It’s amazing here and well worth it.
  2. Get travel insurance.
  3. Save as much as possible.
  4. Go shopping before moving, get it all out of your system.
  5. Get your medicare card as soon as you arrive.

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog is all about travel, food, photography and sharing my experiences in Sydney as well as wherever else I go.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Please feel free to send me a message via my blog (see link below). I am more than happy to be contacted about absolutely anything.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingSumaya is a British expat living in Australia. Blog description: My blog in simple terms is about Travel, Food and Photography. I moved to Australia from the UK and currently work in Sydney. Most of my blog's content is based in Sydney but I like writing about my experiences in different countries too.
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