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From Iowa to Melbourne: When in Oz

27 October, 2011 09:12  Erin Erin

when in oz shadowG’day!  We’re Ryan and Laura.  We’re newlyweds from Iowa in the United States and we’re currently living in Melbourne, Australia.  

1. Why did you move abroad?
Ryan’s company in the US offered him an assignment in their Melbourne office.

2. How do you make a living?
Ryan: I work as a Sales Engineer for a global process automation company.

Laura:  Previously I was leading Social Media Marketing for Better Homes and Gardens and Parents Magazines in the United States.  I’m now doing Social Media consulting work from home.  

3. How often do you communicate with home and how?

With email and Skype we’re able to chat with friends and family pretty regularly.  On top of that, we try to update our blog at least once a week.  We like to think of our blog as a way of communicating with everyone back home in mass and keeping them up-to-date with what we’ve been doing.  

4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Melbourne?
We love travelling and one of the great things about being in Australia is that we’re getting to experience this half of the world.  Also, (obviously) being an expat is the best way to learn about other countries and cultures and we’re learning about ourselves in the process.  

5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Melbourne?
Being away from friends and family is definitely the toughest part.  We’re missing showers, weddings, babies being born... important moments in the lives of our friends and family.  There’s no way to sugar coat that.  

6. What do you miss most?
Well besides our family and friends, of course, we’d have to say Chipotle and Jimmy John’s.  

7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
Our blog has been a great way to meet people.  We’ve also had some success with  There is a pretty active expat community in Melbourne and it’s all about being open to meeting new people with which you have something in common; ex-patriation status, love of cooking, reading, whatever!

8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Hmm…maybe the fact that everyone is super positive and effusive.  We actually wrote a blog post about this.  Everything is always “lovely,” “gorgeous,” and all the positivity was a little strange at the beginning.  But it’s a good cultural thing…just took some getting used to.

9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
Ryan: That Fosters is THE Australian beer.  

Laura: That you’ll be attacked by a Great White shark, stung by a box jellyfish, or bitten by a taipan snake, all leading to painful and non-avoidable deaths.

10. What advice would you give other expats?
Be realistic about what you want and what you’ll get from the experience.  

Network with other expats for a bit of home and camaraderie but make efforts to make Australian friends.  It’s the best way to make it “home” or, at the very least, a close substitute.

Know that you won’t love everything everyday.  You’ll be homesick some days and you’ll think Australia is just about the greatest thing since sliced bread other days.  

Embrace the experience.  

11. When and why did you start your blog?

We started it in early June.  We wanted to share our experiences with our friends and family and we also wanted to provide a helpful resource to other expats or those considering coming abroad.  We think personal experiences and anecdotes can be extremely helpful.  If anything, we’re saying to other expats, “We’ve been there.” Or “We’re in this together.”

12.  How has the blog been beneficial?when in oz scenery
As we mentioned, it’s been a great way to stay in touch with those back home, and meet other ex-pats.  We also hope that it will serve as a good record of our adventures in Australia.  Maybe we’ll be able to show our grandchildren someday and show them what their crazy grandparents were up to during their first year of marriage.

Blog Link


Ryan and Laura's blog, When in Oz

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