British Expat Living in USA - Interview with Caroline

Published: 11 May at 10 AM
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Filed: Interviews,USA
Caroline is a British expat living in Austin, Texas. In March 2014 she relocated to Austin due to her husband's work bringing two young children and two cats with them. Over the past eighteen years Caroline has graduated with a BA Hons degree in Media, worked full time in Marketing roles, got married and now her main focus is raising their two children in a new country. On arrival in Austin Caroline created an expat lifestyle blog, over the last year she introduced her blog to social media which proved invaluable for tips, advice and furthered communication for Caroline with other expats and related publications, websites and events. Caroline's expat blog is called Expat Austin Mum (see listing here)

Enjoying the pool next to Lake Austin
Enjoying the pool next to Lake Austin

Here's the interview with Caroline...

Where are you originally from?
I was born in Hampshire, England and lived the past ten years in West Sussex where we still have a home.

In which country and city are you living now?
I now live in Austin, Texas. We live roughly 15 minutes outside of downtown Austin in a more suburban neighbourhood compared to the diversity of downtown. I have found people to be open, very friendly and accommodating of new and different cultures.

How long have you lived in USA and how long are you planning to stay?
We have been here for one year now and plan to stay for at least another few years.

Krause Springs
Krause Springs
Why did you move to USA and what do you do?
I moved here because my husband was offered a promotion at work. I am mum to two young daughters, a wife and homemaker. I write an expat lifestyle blog and enjoy freelance writing. I volunteer at my children's school, enjoy local gym classes, attending a professional photography course and Macbook workshops plus we have recently added an English Springer Spaniel puppy to the family.

Did you bring family with you?
We brought with us our two children now aged 5 and 8 years old plus our two cats. In our first year we had five sets of visitors from the UK mainly family, everyone seemed to love what Austin has to offer.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I found the transition to living in a foreign country more diverse than I was expecting, I of course knew the currency, driving, weather and accents were going to be different but what I hadn't considered were the small day to day actions which are all slightly different in some way and can slow you down and be frustrating.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I have found it easy to meet new people and make friends mainly through my children’s school, and in the very beginning our youngest pre-school. I have recently met some other British expats through local Facebook groups but mainly our social network is other American parents and their families.

Our new sleepy puppy!
Our new sleepy puppy!
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
One of the great things about Austin is the amount of outdoor activities there are such as wake surfing and boating on the lakes, outdoor parks like Zilker, Emma Long, Red Bud Isle, natural springs like Barton Springs, Krause Springs and Hamilton Pool plus there are plenty of farmers markets, shopping downtown and South Congress Avenue, and hundreds of cool restaurants and bars to visit.

What do you enjoy most about living in USA?
The things I enjoy most about living in Austin is the outdoor lifestyle for most of the year due to the warm weather, the people are very friendly and welcoming and they all love Austin!

How does the cost of living in USA compare to home?
Our current living costs are far cheaper here than home for almost everything, except of course health insurance and dental cover plus the public transport system is basic so taxis can be expensive.

Austin Trail of Lights at Christmas
Austin Trail of Lights at Christmas
What negatives, if any, are there to living in USA?
From my point of view there are not many negatives to Austin, you will need to own a car because everything is so spaced out and as Austin is growing so quickly this has resulted in some major traffic problems in certain areas.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to USA, what would it be?
In Texas be prepared for the high summer temperatures.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The hardest aspect of my expat experience so far is the homesickness and learning to drive on the other side of the road. Homesickness caught me off guard to be honest because I was so keen and excited to move here with zero doubts, England is so deep-rooted into my soul that no country can ever take its place.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
To be honest I have not given it much thought mainly because we do not have a date to return so there is nothing to prepare for as such, I will be sad to say goodbye to our new friends and I will miss the lifestyle and weather. I feel moving back home will be another new experience again rather than returning to an old existence because we have all changed and will change further the longer we are here, therefore we will return to UK different people than we left and I'm guessing this may change our outlook and choices of where to live, career, lifestyle etc.

A walk through Emma Long Metropolitan Park
A walk through Emma Long Metropolitan Park
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. I would highly recommend visiting and experiencing the area in question before actually moving, we visited Florida and Austin and quickly realised our idealistic views on Florida were a very different reality when looking to relocate there.
  2. Do not be afraid to ask for help even for the smallest thing, otherwise you may find your days becoming more and more frustrating as you struggle to achieve the most basic of things such as getting petrol and doing the grocery shopping.
  3. Whilst you are getting ready to leave make time for friends and family to say your goodbyes and ensure they know how to use communication technology correctly and efficiently.
  4. Attempt to socialise with as many like minded people as you can such as other expats, work colleagues, parents, as time goes on you may wish to seek comfort from others in the same situation as you.
  5. If Texas is your choice stock up on sun screen!
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I created my expat lifestyle blog in March 2014 when we arrived in Austin and officially lived in America, it began as a journal of our adventures and a log of my thoughts and observations of Austin and our new life. Over time I linked social media accounts to my blog and enjoyed the connections and opportunities which arose from this decision.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
I can be contacted through my blog or social media outlets.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingCaroline is a British expat living in USA. Blog description: Attempting to document the experiences and life of a thirty something British wife and mum joining a new community in Austin
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