Shauna Scanlon is a 25-year-old English teacher from Ballybofey. She has spent the last three years working in Glasgow, Scotland but has recently emigrated to Australia. Here, Shauna shares her experiences of leaving everything for a new life on the other side of the world.
Read Shauna’s first post here – Leaving Donegal for the other side of the world
Setting up a new life in Sydney
There is nothing like the feeling of moving somewhere different. It’s as if you have uncovered another world where everything is shiny and new. Like every new experience, it comes with its ups and downs.
Arriving in Sydney was both exciting and terrifying. We left Ireland with only a week-long stay in a hostel booked and the optimism that we would figure it out when we got there. The first few days were surreal, spent in a trance-like, jetlagged state. Familiarising ourselves with a new city, organising bank accounts and phone numbers were our main priorities while we also made time for our first few schooners.
The first few days were surreal, spent in a trance-like, jetlagged state. Familiarising ourselves with a new city, organising bank accounts and phone numbers were our main priorities while we also made time for our first few schooners.
I stayed in holiday mode for the next two weeks, allowing myself to appreciate my new environment without worrying about finding a job or a house. After scrimping and saving for months to get here, there was something liberating about being able to enjoy Sydney without worries or responsibilities. I visited the usual tourist spots like the Opera House and Bondi Beach, posting pictures on social media to keep friends and family up to date.
As we explored the beaches of Sydney and became accustomed to the Australian way of life, money began to run out and our hostel bedroom became increasingly cramped. The feeling of freedom was replaced with vulnerability as for the first time in my life I was without a steady income or a place to live.
Our focus turned to house hunting and researching the Eastern Suburbs. We searched in Randwick and Coogee before arriving in Bondi Junction, a buzzing area fifteen minutes from the city favoured by Irish emigrants. The reasons why became apparent as soon as we stepped off the bus.
Close to Sydney CBD and walking distance to Bondi Beach, this place allowed me to live the lifestyle I had dreamed of while ‘County Bondi’ also provided a taste of home.
A few days later we moved into our new apartment complete with views of Harbour Bridge and an outdoor pool. Although I still had to find a job to match Sydney’s extortionate cost of living, I could not have imagined how far we had come in a few weeks and how much my life had changed already.
Follow Shauna’s series on Donegal Woman in the weeks to come.
Do you have a story to share from a life abroad? Email firstname.lastname@example.org