As a young girl, Josine dreamed of living abroad, so she did.

As a young girl, Josine dreamed of living abroad, so she did.

This is the living abroad story from Josine, a dear friend of mine, who I met in Australia. Josine became like family, and we have had many amazing adventures together. I’m sure you will love her down-to-earth approach to moving abroad.


Josine, you’ve been living in Sydney for the past eight years. Can you tell us how your living abroad journey started?

I was born in Singapore (where my parents lived at the time) and moved to the Netherlands when I was seven years old. Ever since that move, I knew I was going to live abroad again someday. 

I fantasized about where I would go when I was a grown-up: it needed to be far away and preferably a warm country. I couldn’t deal with the cold and wet weather in The Netherlands! 

When I was 18 years old, I went backpacking through Australia for a year. After that adventure, I had an internship in New York. Both were fantastic experiences: the feeling of freedom and independence when living in another country was amazing. When I started a full-time job, I was always looking for an opportunity to move overseas. Luckily my husband shared this idea, so when he got offered a role in Australia, we didn’t hesitate for a second and took the opportunity with both hands! Australia met my two criteria: far away and warm. We didn’t know for how long we would be away, and we kept it very vague. To friends and family, we said it could either be two years or eight. We’d see how we would go. Well, almost eight years have passed, and we’re not thinking about returning yet! 

How was the move? Did the company organize a lot? 

Luckily, my husband’s job took care of the visa (that is usually the most challenging part of getting into Australia), and they paid for our belongings to be shipped to Sydney. 

But we had to move quickly. My husband’s job started within six weeks, leaving us with little time to pack and say our farewells. I still had my full-time job and some projects that I needed and wanted to finish. So we decided that my husband would already move to Sydney and settle in. I followed six weeks later. This way, I had a bit more time to organize the move: pack our stuff, rent out our house, sell our car, etc.

And how were those first few months in Sydney?

I loved the first few months of living abroad! It was such an adventure and really exciting to discover the new city, country, and its habits. My husband and I dived into this adventure together, and it brought us even closer.

One of the few challenging things was understanding the thick Australian accent. I thought my English was pretty good until I was in a boardroom with 10+ people, and I could barely follow a word they were saying! It took a couple of months before the language became natural to me, but in the beginning, I thought I would never get it. 

Waking up every day in a different country because you CHOOSE to live there gives such a fantastic feeling.


How did you create a sense of home?

My partner and kids are my home. I can be or live wherever – as long as I am with them. It’s also surprising how your friends become your family if you live so far away. There are not many relatives who visit Australia, so you become very close with your friends, and they fulfill this family role. They have become aunts and uncles to our kids and support in times of need. We are lucky to have such a close group of friends who look after each other. I must admit the majority of our friends are also from The Netherlands. I guess it helped in knowing each other’s background and helped us to bond easier and quicker.

Was it easy to find a group of friends that you became so close with?

We were very lucky to meet some great people at the start. However, I remember it did cost a lot of energy. You have to invest time and energy to make new friends, but because everybody is in the same boat and so far away from friends and family it was easy to make friends quickly. You just have to give it some time and make an effort. 

When it comes to your living abroad journey, what are you most proud of?

Waking up every day in a different country because you CHOOSE to live there gives such a fantastic feeling. It’s a sense of control over your life that I don’t believe you can experience in your home country. I am very proud I’ve managed to build a good life: made new friends, build a home for my family, and got a nice job – without the support of family and friends. 

Nothing will go as planned, so it’s better not to put too much time into it – just enjoy the experience and be flexible


So, I’m guessing you wouldn’t have done anything differently? 🙂

No, haha! There is nothing I would have done differently. If you treat this as an adventure, nothing can go wrong. Nothing will go as planned, so it’s better not to put too much time into it – just enjoy the experience and be flexible. I don’t see moving abroad as a risk. If you don’t like it, you can always move back. You’ll only regret the things you didn’t do!

Any last advice to people who are thinking about moving abroad?

Do it! You will never regret an experience abroad. Even if it’s not for you, you will learn so much about yourself and meet interesting and new people. It’s an experience that nobody can ever take away from you.


Inspired by Josine’s story and keen to get your journey started? Get a copy of the Let’s Move Abroad Book today and go! For more stories of people from all over the world, continue browsing.

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