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From the south of France to Spain to Australia: enSALADes

03 March, 2014 09:01  Erin Erin

Helene enSALADesHello! Bonjour! Hola! My name is Helene from enSALADes. I am originally from the south of France. I spent 4 years in Spain and 6 years in Oz and now am Australian citizen.

1. Why did you move abroad?
At first I was quite reluctant to move abroad to finish my degree. I moved to Spain for 4 months and ended up spending 4 years in Barcelona. When I had everything I wanted, I realized I was ready for another challenge. I decided to quit my job and moved to Sydney. I recently relocated to windy Perth in Western Australia with the feeling it won’t be my last move…

2. How do you make a living?
I worked in Sales and Marketing positions for ten years. Ready for a new challenge, I swapped my full-time corporate career for full-time studies two years ago. I am now studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutritional Medicine. I also work in a health food store and a naturopathic clinic in order to become a qualified nutritionist.

3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I am very close to my parents and sister. We email each other nearly every day. Due to busy lives and time difference (6 to 10 hours between Australia and France), Sundays are usually Skype days. Every week we try to make some time to speak. Some of my Australian friends think I speak more to my family than they actually do! With my friends it is a mix of social medias, Skype, iMessage type of apps.   

4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Australia?
I learn something new every day. I might just learn a word, an expression or new concept and I love it. The lifestyle in Australia is brilliant. Professionally it is quite stimulating and in your down time you can enjoy beautiful beaches, sunny weather and amazing landscapes. You can also meet many open-minded and well-travelled individuals. Foods options are vast which is important for a nutritionist :0

5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Australia?
Distances. Any trip requires a bit of planning or budgeting. It’s hard to comprehend at first how you can fly five hours and still be in the same country while in Europe you can have crossed at least 3! Being so far away from friends and family, you are usually the last one to be informed about what is happening at home. They do not want you to worry and feel helpless.

6. What do you miss most?
I miss going home for the weekend and have lunch with my folks on Sundays. I would love to pick up the phone at any time of the day for a chat. Insomnias are not so problematic in this case! You can find French cheese and bread in Australia but it will never be like my grandma’s cheese board!

7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
It was actually quite easy to meet people. I joined Spanish meet-ups, took French acting classes, booked some trips, connected via online expat, language exchange forums or simply started to talk to people around me… When you really want to meet people, you can. At first you might thing that you would have never spoken to this people in other circumstances but with time you appreciate a different perspective on things. I believe it helps me to remain open-minded and if possible non-judgmental.

8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Being passionate about healthy nutrition, I often find paradoxical that Australia has the highest rate of obesity and some of the fittest athletes you can meet. The eating habits can be very different from my original Mediterranean diet. I find funny how you can meet some crazy health nuts and just by driving a few kilometers away of the big cities be limited by poor nutrition options.

9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
It appears that all Australians do not surf. Even if many live close to the coast, there are a lot of bush and deserts in Australia where the surf is not that great ;) Did you know some crocodiles might be found at the beach too?!

10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
I left Spain in 2007 just before the financial crisis. The wages, cost and standard of living are higher in Australia. It was a nice change after being a student for many years. Then the longer you live in the country, the less you compare. It just becomes normal and now being a student again it feels quite the same all over again hehe

11. What advice would you give other expats?
Stop comparing your home and adopted country. Both are different and that is great. When, why, where and who you spend your time with will impact on your experience and perceptions abroad. We all have different reasons to be abroad. If you keep wishing your adopted country was more like your home country, you might miss the point of what being an expat or living abroad really means.

12. When and why did you start your blog?Helene enSALADes
I think blogging was the next logical step in my international journey to nutrition as I like to write in English, French and Spanish about body acceptance, healthy eating and life abroad.

I also happen to love salads. enSALADes is a made up word that like a true expat can adapt to different languages, reinvent itself depending on the context or sometimes simply appeared to be lost in translation…

Once I become a qualified nutritionist, I would love to work with expats that are looking for a practitioner who is able to speak their language and has a common understanding of their international situation.

Blog LinkHelene's blog, enSALADes

  Guide for expatriates in Sydney, Australia
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Guide to Sydney


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