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Nina: Nous Aussies

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Brisbane makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Brisbane, etc.

My fiancé (Stijn) and I (Nina) met 5 years ago at work in Belgium and have ever since been dreaming about adventures and discovering amazing places together. We (still) love Belgium but there are so many other beautiful places that could suit us that we decided to take a risk and live our dream. After all if it doesn’t work we can always come back. It is now almost 1 year since we moved to Brisbane in Queensland (the Sunny State of Australia) and we don’t regret our decision at all. Our life is great! I’m currently writing this from my terrace in the sun listening to parrots from our trees.

You are not obliged to live where you are born. There are so many places on Earth where you can live as happy or even more! It just takes that little courage to make a change and take a risk.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

As we had never been to Australia before, we were keen to read other blogs where expats were sharing their adventures and experiences. It was so useful to us that we decided to do the same and we thought it was a perfect way to stay in touch with our friends and family by sharing stories and pictures. You quickly realize that some small details from every day’s life are different and can be so funny for non-locals.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

One of my personal favorite blog posts is about Australians and their slang (in French only…) or this one in English and French.

Tell us about the ways your new life in Brisbane differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

It always takes a few months to get used to a new environment: noise, temperature, dangers, people, language... You are the only one who can influence how smoothly the transition will be and I guess it depends on what your attitude is. I recommend remaining open-minded, adapt and live in the standards of your new country, furniture, food, clothes. Don’t try to make it resemble your home-country and embrace the positive your new country has to offer.

Some days have been more difficult than others but our quality of life is better here. The good weather allows us to live outdoor by enjoying Australia’s amazing nature and wildlife. Queenslanders are relaxed and friendly. We work less hours and make a good living. When we miss our friends and family members we Skype and have the feeling that nothing has changed in our relationship what is reassuring to every expat. Tip: You are the ones with a new life and it is your role to contact your network back home.

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Brisbane? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

You are never fully prepared but we didn’t experience any issue. It took us 4 months between the signature of the job and the move to the other side of the globe in an unknown country. We looked for information and planned everything carefully. Everything worked smoothly.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

Nobody called me “love” in the supermarket before moving here.

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Brisbane?

  • Respect the nature: Storms, powerful ocean, bushfires, snakes, sharks… You are not afraid if you know about it so read as much as you can.
  • Take with you the 1st necessity (1 pan, bottle opener, towels, simple tools…) until all your boxes arrive at destination.
  • Have FUN! Meet people, experience new activities, try new food and embrace your new life!

How is the expat community in Brisbane? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

Brisbane is very multicultural what makes it a perfect destination. We found friendly people on the group “Belgians in Queensland” on Facebook. A lot of colleagues are expats and we share our funny stories and doubts.

How would you summarize your expat life in Brisbane in a single, catchy sentence?

It’s like being in love.

Benoit Julien

"Before moving to Brisbane I contacted 5 members of their InterNations community. Today 3 of them are my friends."

Gabriela Jaquez

"As a traveling spouse it was not always easy to meet interesting people abroad. On InterNations I have many of them here in Brisbane in no time."

Global Expat Guide