Moving to Australia at 17

Moving to Australia can be such a scary thing, especially if you’re a teenager or even younger. I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now and finally got round to doing it.
I’ve had a few questions about moving to Australia to help me out with this post, so thank you if you asked a few things! Through this blog, I’ll be talking about 6 different sections, so please feel free to scroll through until you find the section you’re most interested in.

1. Introduction
2. Things to Think About & Consider
3. Making New Friends & Meeting People
4. Questions
5. Education
6. Settling Down

If you’ve never read my blog before, then hello! My name is Abi and I have now been living in Australia for exactly 10 months on the day I am writing this. I officially landed as a permanent resident in Australia on August 12th, 2017 with my family in Brisbane Airport.

1. Introduction 

We first visited Australia in August 2015 for a 2 week holiday. We stayed with our friends for a week and then adventured down to the Gold Coast and stayed in a beautiful villa for the other week.
After arriving back home in the UK, my parents started gradually talking about moving to Australia. I was 15 at the time and in year 10, so the thought of moving to a completely different country so young freaked me out good style. Everything was going really well for me; friends, family, exams were rolling in and my parents were talking about moving away.

At first, this was absolutely terrifying for me. Of course, it would be at 15 years old but the process was such a gradual thing and my parents began to speak less of it, that I simply thought nothing of it. I had told my friends in high school that I genuinely might be moving to Australia in the next year or so; and they laughed at me and said: “Yeah, sure you are.” They weren’t convinced at all.

Anyway, as time went on the process began to feel more and more real by the day. I finished high school and my exams, and my dad was the main applicant for the visa so he had to go and do these tests for points to get the visa, and again I was pretty much oblivious to it.

The point where this whole process hit me and was an “Oh, this is really happening” moment was when we had to have our police checks and our medicals done. Everything was actually happening.
I missed college on the day of our medicals, and that was also the day when my college friends started realising I really was moving away.

Our visa process took around 9 months in total, so when it got to the day we received our visas it was such a mix of emotions. I should also point out that my mum and I laned with the rest of my family on August 13th, but we had to fly back on August 29th to the UK for around a month to pack up the house and officially move.
My parents gave me the option to finish the last year of my 2 year college course and fly out to Australia when I had finished, but after leaving my family I realised that Australia was where I wanted to be.


2. Things to Think About & Consider
I feel like this might be a popular section of this blog, especially for parents who might be asking questions. I have a few things for you to think about. Here we go:

  • Pack wisely. Oh my gosh if someone had told me I needed the bare minimum I wouldn’t have believed them. Are you absolutely sure you need that? As our friends told us – they have shops in Australia too! Kmart and Target are your best friend. I tried to pack practically my whole wardrobe when we all flew over, and then stupidly brought everything back with me to the UK when my mum and I flew back – meaning my suitcase weighed a ton second time around and I left so much in the UK that it is now in a box at my Nan’s house. Only pack the clothes you need and leave all your winter clothes for when your container arrives.
  • 10,000 miles is a long distance for anyone of any age, but I can assure you the internet is your best friend for staying in touch with your friends and family. My parents organise a Skype chat with both sets of my grandparents on Sundays for about 7/8pm AEST and 10/11am GMT, and so far its worked out really well.
    As well as keeping in touch with family, its been tricky for me to organise calls with my best friends in the UK because of the time difference but also because they all have jobs and attend extracurricular groups outside of college and their jobs, and it is a tricky thing but I can still manage to talk to them.
  • Your container arriving from the UK is a flipping busy day. Depending on when they arrive, (lots of containers arrive in the mornings) your day will probably be fueled by coffee. It is also a mix of nostalgia, happiness and stress, but it’s such an exciting day.
  • I told my parents this as well as my siblings when we moved here. To start with, a house with a pool is not a necessity. Of course, it would have been lovely but from what we found when we were searching for a house, they were tricky to find with a pool for a reasonable price. What I’ve also found as well as my parents are that there are actually lots of houses without pools, which you don’t really expect in Australia!

There are so many more different things to think about, but these are just some of the points I’ve thought of.


3. Making New Friends & Meeting People
This was possibly the scariest thing for me moving to a new country. Don’t get me wrong it is such a scary thing when you have to meet and associate yourself with new people in a completely different country, but thankfully my family and I have had such a breeze.

Before we moved here, my parents found a couple of Facebook groups – including Move to Australia and Poms in Oz. Through both groups, we’ve made quite a few friends, and I’ve met my best friend and her family through Poms in Oz. I’m so thankful that we’ve got friends here because I honestly feel that we possibly couldn’t have managed living here.

With the friends I’ve already met, I’ve immediately asked for their social media profiles and numbers so we can start becoming friends. I’ve now known my friend Nona for 4 months, and it feels like a lifetime. It’s crazy how fast time flies by.

Making friends may I add, is not an immediate thing and will definitely take time, I highly encourage joining these different groups to make friends and meet families in a similar situation to you. In the Move to Australia group, Karen organises meetups for people and families who have moved from the UK to the Brisbane area. Its a great group for meeting new people and families.


4. Questions
Naturally, I’ve had some questions about moving to Australia, and I’ve picked a few to answer.

What was it like arranging for everything to be moved to Australia?
In the moving process, there was a lot of decluttering to do. Everything from old toys and baby toys in the attic were ditched, clothes we probably didn’t need and just random clutter pretty much all went to charity shops. For me, there was a lot of questions as to whether I would actually need the bits and pieces I was debating over (I’m a very sentimental person) but I decided to give certain items to charity shops, friends, or just generally chucking them in the bin.

Why Australia? 
After our visit in 2015, my parents saw it as paradise, which I completely agree with. Living here has been an absolute dream and just completely unbelievable. Where I’m from in North Wales, you don’t really expect people to end up living in Australia, so its pretty awesome we now call Australia home. As well as it being like paradise, we saw it as a better life experience for us all. I didn’t want to carry on living in the little town I grew up in forever. I wanted to see the world, and here we are.

Were you nervous about starting somewhere new? 
Absolutely! There’s no doubt about it. When it was first mentioned in 2015, I was terrified. I had no idea what was going to be in store for me or my family. 10,000 miles seemed such a scary thing, and pretty much 24 hours for someone who has anxiety freaked pretty much everything out of me. Everything seemed much easier when we finally got here. Because it was such a big thing for so long it was like I already lived in Australia because of how much my parents spoke about it o all our friends and family. You might end up feeling the same.

What do I do about my child demanding they don’t want to move to Australia? “I’ll never make friends or have a life again!”
My sister and I were like that, believe me! For this section of the post, I’ve asked my dad to help me out. This is how he dealt with me and my sister refusing to make the move:

As parents of 2 teenaged daughters and a young son, the biggest dilemma facing us was separating them all from their friends.  They all had very strong bonds with their friends who they had known since a very young age, and pulling them away from this felt almost cruel.  Abi also had a group of college friends with whom she had bonded with over the previous 12 months making it twice as hard for her.  Of course, another challenge involved moving everyone away from our family, most of whom lived close by and we saw regularly.  There were tears but this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.  A 10,000 mile move to the unknown was frightening for us all.
Our hopes were that all 3 of our children would make friends very quickly when they each started Australian schools or college.  Fortunately, we were correct and although keeping in regular contact with their friends in the UK through social media, they are all settled with a group of new friends and happy to be experiencing the adventure.

How do I get around? 
If you’re after public transport in Queensland, a GoCard is your best friend. In New South Wales, this is called an Opal card. I’m not too sure on areas like Perth and other areas, but I’m sure there will be an equivalent card. The GoCard facilitates your transport for busses and trains in and around Queensland, and its so handy for trips into the likes of Brisbane or other areas you wish to visit with your family. There are different prices for the GoCard and its a top up system.

5. Education 
I’ve had a few questions about the education here. For me, I was too late in the year to go back into school, so my immediate option was either work or college. For my siblings however, they went straight back into primary and high school.
Finding a job as a now 18 year old has been so difficult and I unfortunately still haven’t come across anything. In October 2017, I signed up to study a Certificate IV (4) in Photography and Photo Imaging with Open Colleges. So far, the ride on the course has been bumpy and difficult, but it gives me the opportunity to study at my own pace without feeling too pressured into finishing assessments.

My sister, however, struggled at first to settle into her new school, and get to grips with a completely different education system. Its safe to say we’ve all had a rocky start in new schools and me studying online, but we’ve all pulled through and there are hardly any problems at all.


6. Settling Down 
At first, being away from friends and family was the strangest thing ever. Only being able to see them through a screen was difficult to deal with, especially for my mum and dad only being able to see their parents through a screen and them not being 5 minutes down the road.
At the end of August in 2017, my mum and I flew back to the UK to pack up our house and make the move to Australia official. We spent a month away from my dad, brother and sister to prepare everything, and this was possibly the hardest month we had been through. Adam had to have his appendix removed whilst my mum and I were still in the UK. It was definitely a rocky moment for us all being so far away from one another, but thankfully he recovered really quickly and my mum and I landed back in Brisbane on October 5th.

After seeing so many houses all over the Redcliffe Peninsula we had finally found a house and my dad, brother and sister moved in 4 days after my mum and I had left. Buying new furniture, appliances and just generic essentials, our house finally began to feel like home. I can absolutely guarantee you will spend most of your time in furniture stores or Ikea for your first few months. We were hardly out of there!

Another big aspect of settling down is, of course, making new friends, and as I mentioned earlier it definitely takes time. I am so thankful for the friends we have found and the life and relationships we’ve established with them.  Its crazy to think we’ve now been here 10 months and by my 5th month, we’d already found friends for life.

I have to emphasise to you that everything in your move here takes time, no matter where you may end up living in this beautiful country.


If you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at and I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions.

I hope this post has been helpful to someone or a family. Thank you for reading!

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Twitter: @abisaysblog

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